Monday 23 November 2020

The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside by Jessica Ryn

 Now it isn't very often (well never actually) that I get to say that I in fact know the author of the book I'm reviewing. But I'm so pleased to be a part of this blog tour because this lady is someone I know because our daughter's are at school together and funnily enough I didn't actually know she'd written the book before I read it.

The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside is the stunning debut by author Jessica Ryn. For her first novel I have to give the biggest praise, I was highly impressed. If I'd not known it was  Jessica's first book, I would have said that she'd really perfected her craft.

Dawn Elisabeth Brightside has been running from her past for twenty-two years and two months, precisely.

So when she is offered a bed in St Jude’s Hostel for the Homeless, it means so much more than just a roof over her head.

But with St Jude’s threatened with closure, Dawn worries that everything is about to crumble around her all over again.

Perhaps, with a little help from her new friends, she can find a way to save this light in the darkness?

And maybe, just maybe, Dawn will finally have a place to call home…. 

The cover of this novel is immediately inviting, bright yellow it exudes warmth and happiness.

Centred around the subject of homelessness, this is a story that despite having its sadder moments, really uplifts you as the reader.

Set in my home town of Dover, I instantly felt a connection to the story....

Dawn is homeless herself and as we get to know her we discover that she is running away from a mystery man, all we really know is that he has red hair. As a character Dawn is nervous, on edge. At face value you'd say that she is suffering from some sort of mental health issues. However this woman although not at her best is also beautifully kind hearted.

Near the beginning she befriends a younger man possibly teen, who is also sleeping out in the park. They both apply for a bed at St Jude's (like sheltered housing) she gets it, and she feels horribly guilty as he doesn't.

She’s always looking on the bright side...

The story isn't just told from Dawn's point of view. There is also Grace, a social worker who is running St Jude's, shares the other side of this tale. Because you see it isn't just Dawn who is in need of support, the hostel itself is on the brink of being shut down due to budget cuts which could spell disaster for so many who use its facilities. 

All quite apt for the world we live in right now!

As the story progresses we learn more, both about Dawn herself and behind the scenes of what it's really like to lose your home, to have to rely on others.

What really got me was just how Dawn still managed to smile and provide others with such necessary guidance and comfort,  all the while rebuilding her life one slow step at a time. 

Her optimism was truly infectious.

Most of us are only three steps away from homelessness.

I'll be honest, if you are looking for a fast-paced, action filled book then this is not for you.

Slow to start, The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside is a novel that is poignant. The words filled with warmth and hope, just as the title of the book suggests.

I'd describe this is a novel as one that makes you stop and think about others around you. To consider the struggles which others may be facing and the idea that the problems they face might not be of their making.

Emotional and meaningful, you will finish this story with a tear in your eye but a feeling of comfort in your heart.

If you'd like to hear more about this charming book then please do follow the rest of the blog tour outlined below:

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