A Hidden Hope is the first of a series of adult novellas that promises unignorable attraction, writing panels at SFF conventions, and girl-on-girl action.
This is a short, spicy, sweet novella about two authors who meet at a convention three years post-breakup. The story opens with a contrast – an alien darkness in England versus an obnoxious light in America. The two writers who take turns with the narrative are also somewhat opposites – there’s tall, suave, purple-prose-admiring El, and then there’s nerdy, anxious, sci-fi-loving Natalie. El wants to make amends after years of bitter silence; Natalie wants to forget. The narrative brings these opposites together and explores what they might have in common.
This is a story about the magic and hardships of what brings books to life and authors together. The characters’ feelings and experiences about their writing, and each other, feel realistic and it’s comfortable to be in their points of view. It’s very much a story driven by both the joy of writing and the characters’ emotions. The steamy moments are written quite gently – they’re sweet and flirty, which makes them feel very real. There is a moment during the con that’s definitely pretty saucy but I won’t spoil it for you!
The writing sometimes feels a little rushed and I occasionally tripped over typos, but something this narrative teaches us is that things don’t have to be perfect to be lovely, and I’m looking forward to the sequel.
Ambrose writes in a fresh voice that is sometimes disarming but always comforting. It’s a cosy kind of book that keeps you turning the pages through its warmth. It’s the perfect quick read when you want to hide under your duvet with a cup of tea, and it might even inspire you to write something if your own.
Thanks to Laura Ambrose for the review copy! If you’d like to send me a book for review, I’m always happy to have something to read (especially if there are SFF themes and queer people kissing).