I received a free copy of A Hidden Hope by Laura Ambrose directly from the author in return for review consideration; receipt of a free copy has not affected my opinion or the contents of this review. A Hidden Hope is a queer romance novella, self-published by the author in October 2018.
Below is the Goodreads synopsis of the book:
Natalie and El used to be writing critique partners, sharing their work chapter by chapter. Falling in love off-page was like the next part of the story. But after a huge falling out, three years have passed in bitter silence.
When they both appear at a science fiction convention in London, Natalie, a struggling writer, wants nothing to do with El, the hot debut novelist who sold her book at auction under a male pseudonym. But over the weekend, ignoring each other–and their attraction–proves impossible, not least because they have several panels together. Can El hope to atone for the mistakes of their past, and is Natalie willing to let hope fly?
Firstly, if you’re interested in this book, I would highly recommend checking out A Frozen Night as well; A Frozen Night is a prequel to A Hidden Hope, exploring the first time that Natalie and El meet IRL after becoming critique partners online. All the backstory you need for A Hidden Hope is within the novella itself, but it’s a great story in and of itself, and lovely to see how the characters have changed from the first to the second story.
Although it’s short, A Hidden Hope really packs a punch in the feelings department. Moving back and forth between Natalie and El’s perspectives, we learn about their lives now, the argument that brought their relationship to its current status, and follow them as they explore the possibility of a second chance. I felt truly engaged with both characters, and particularly Natalie in her aggrieved, somewhat bitter state at the start of the book. There’s a good balance of tension and relief, and the conflicts within the story feel realistic and organic. There’s great chemistry between the two characters, and it sizzles throughout the story, whether they’re angry at one another, or something else entirely.
As someone who’s attended a few conventions in her time, I absolutely loved the setting, at a London-based SFF convention. It’s a great backdrop to a story such as this, with all the gossip and the interconnected webs of people, and the spectre of people watching Natalie and El all the time. It’s also great to have a story following people who are so passionate about what they do, and who are surrounded by people who share those passions.
The other important storyline within A Hidden Hope is that of writing, and what it means to be a writer in a contemporary setting. We see the struggles of the mid-list author worried about getting her next book published, and the author whose debut has snagged them a huge advance, but that comes with its own problems too. For anyone hoping to get published, this book has great lessons about the industry, and about what it means to be a writer, in whatever form that takes for you.
If you’re looking for a quick read that’s full of romance, fun, and geekery, A Hidden Hope is definitely worth picking up, and I would also recommend checking out the prequel as well. I for one hope to read more of Natalie and El’s adventures in the future!
If you enjoyed this post and want to be notified of future posts, please follow my blog here at WordPress, or at Bloglovin’.