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Hope Against Hope

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4.47  ·  Rating details ·  17 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Ireland is at war, communities torn apart by bitter hatred – and now a hard border. But brave young women stand up for hope.
The year is 1921. Ireland has been at war for two years. Communities are torn apart by bitter hatred - and now a hard border splits the island. In Belfast, Helen's Hope hostel is a progessive space where young women live and work together - a haven of
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Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 5th 2020 by Little Island
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Average rating 4.47  · 
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Aisling Kennedy
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-reads
Hope against hope encapsulates the hardship and struggle faced by many people in Ireland over the years. A brilliant read
Mary Judy
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
With beautiful expressive writing, Hope Against Hope perfectly captures the atmosphere of Irelands' partition and the people caught within a time of great transition and conflict. Told through the eyes of 14-year-old Polly, the reader has an insightful view into this moment as momentous social changes are mirrored by Pollys' own personal ones. As Polly (and her friends) attempt to come into their own; decide who they will be and how they will fit in life, deft characterisation and a genuine voic ...more
Emma Campbell
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Set almost a century ago, ‘Hope against Hope’ could not be more relevant to today. This is a novel about friendship, division, and women’s place in society – set at a time when tensions are running high around the border splitting Ireland, and society is reeling from the impact of a flu pandemic (how did she know?!) Sheena Wilkinson has the knack of bringing history alive through engaging characters and skilful storytelling. Her latest novel paints a vivid picture of what life was like in Northe ...more
Insert Name Here
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Polly follows her cousin Catherine to Belfast, to a very special women's hostel called Helen's Hope. But Belfast is splitting apart and even in their haven, the war finds a way in...

I grew up in Ireland, I've lived here for all my life. When I was young the news always had reports of violence Up North, but I'm ashamed to say I never thought about it much...it was just part of the background of life in Ireland, and I was still too young when the Good Friday agreement came into play to really thin
...more
Nicola Pierce
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this book packs a punch. Beautifully written with intelligence, warmth, verve and humour, I greedily inhaled every single page until finishing it - not five minutes ago. Set in 1921, in Belfast, this story works on many levels, effortless weaving in the bigger picture of the turbulent city with its smouldering streets amidst divisions and misplaced loyalties. Fourteen year old Polly wilfully exchanges a life of domestic duty and her troubled family for a more pertinent situation in a Belfas ...more
Ann Murtagh
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Set in 1921 Belfast, the ‘border’ is a central theme and I was fascinated by how the various characters viewed partition in the story. Those perceptions were echoed repeatedly within the community in Helen’s Hope when it came to the fault line of religion and Sheena captures this fractious divide full on. I think this book would be an ideal novel to explore identity and symbolism with second-level students.
Shona
May 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant read, and a great follow up to Hope against Hope.
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Born in 1968, Sheena Wilkinson studied English, French and Italian at University College, Durham, before beginning the PhD work that would result in her book, Friends in the Fourth. She currently teaches English at a large grammar school in Northern Ireland.

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