I am so excited to be taking part in this blog tour for what is just the best book I’ve read this year.
I read it way back in early March before we realised the kind of year that was in store for us. I’ve waited and waited ever since to share this fantastic book and my review, and so finally – here it is. With thanks to HQ for the tour invite and for putting this book up on Netgalley all that time ago, I wish the author Jessica Ryn all the success this wonderful book deserves.
About the Book
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….
What I thought
You’re going to need a whole box of tissues for this one. I’ve not cried so much at a book in a long time . It’s not all sadness though, there is much to smile about too.
I don’t want to say too much about the story as I would hate to give anything away, it’s one you need to read yourself and let the story unfold in front of you as you read.
Basically the plot centres around St Jude’s Hostel for the Homeless in Dover. A refuge where the homeless can turn, not just for a roof over their head and a bed for the night but where the staff offer a listening ear, a helping hand and do their best to support those whose life hasn’t gone well thus far and get them back on their feet.
So many current issues are covered in this book; how cuts to services, including homeless hostels affect already vulnerable people, mental health, addiction, and family break ups. It’s far from doom and gloom though, and is told mostly in a lighthearted way, with lots of humour throughout. But there are also deeper tragedies that unfold further along which are truly heartbreaking.
All the characters are so well drawn. Whilst Dawn Brightside is the central character, everyone at St Jude’s has their own story to tell. Yet despite their circumstances, there is so much warmth surrounding the narrative. They’re all ready to help each other out in any way they can, supporting and looking out for each other.
As I said at the beginning there are some very poignant parts in the book and it does get very emotional. All the situations that both those living at the hostel and working there too are very real life situations that anyone could find themselves in and it is this that makes for a teary read. You just know there are real people out there that have lived this.
The underlying theme is an important one. It is said we’re all only a couple of pay cheques away from falling on hard times. Many that find themselves homeless, especially under our current political climate are in that situation for a myriad of reasons. So the message is don’t judge, show a little kindness. A kind word, a listening ear, even a smile in the direction of someone down on their luck can make all the difference to their day, if not their life.
Once I reached the end I genuinely missed reading it, there was such a positive vibe about it, where no problem couldn’t be overcome one way or another that it just lifted my days while reading. A lovely warm hug of a book that everyone should read including the folk at the DWP.
♥ Happy Reading ♥
Don’t forget to check out other reviews on the tour and if you’d like to read it – which I’m sure you would – it’s available right now in e-book and hardback on Amazon, Waterstones and any lovely book shop near you.