The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside by Jessica Ryn

Official blurb from Amazon

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….


I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

For a debut novel, this is an absolute must read!

The setting of St. Jude’s hostel is equal parts a perfect home and stark halfway house.  The onsite café provides opportunities for the residents to gain work experience whilst providing a centre for workshops and classes.

Grace works tirelessly for the hostel and lives a solitary life in her bedsit.  Peter is a former hostel resident who is now giving back by working alongside Grace as a worker for the centre.

Spaces are limited and life changes when they offer a room to the sweet but strange Dawn Brightside.  Little do they know the power that their kindness brings, and the effects are far reaching.

This is without a doubt, a study in mental health and an education in homelessness.  Led by Dawn, this is an ensemble story that is filled with tragedy and hope.

Dawn has something of a ‘Walter Mitty’ perspective on life, she creates an alternative reality which is filled with the possibility of happy endings.  If she can just get her life back together, she can save up and visit her daughter in America.  The only problem is the spectre of the red-haired man.  He’s filled with sinister intent and now he may have tracked her down to St. Judes.

I read this book with a tear in my eye and a warm feeling in my heart.  It’s difficult to convey how this story affected me, but it will stay with me for a long time.  I like to find the silver lining in every cloud, but I am no competition for Dawn’s resilience and kindness.

There are laugh out-loud moments too, watch out for the liberation of the stolen bicycle!

I love a book that wraps up all the loose threads and this story ties them in a bow.  It’s not a spoiler to say that Dawn’s outlook is infectious, and the ending is just perfect.

This book deserves all five stars! Learn more about Jessica Ryn here.   Follow Jessica on Twitter

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