The Hope and Anchor by Julia Kite #BookReview #BlogTour

 When a vulnerable young woman goes missing, her girlfriend discovers how little she knows of life, love, and London.
Two crucial parts of Neely Sharpe’s life are missing: Her once-great potential and her girlfriend, Angela. A failed academic turned frustrated office drone who had assumed that once she made it to London, she would be somebody, Neely finds herself tasked with a job finally suiting her intellect – piecing together the hidden life of the working-class, epileptic, and quietly devoted woman she loves. As the crucial days of Angela’s disappearance pass, Neely excavates Angela’s secrets, uncovering a sister who pushed her family away, a father obsessed with immortalising it, and a smattering of locals who don’t let their own problems get in the way of poking around in those of others. In search of answers as to what happened to her girlfriend - and why - Neely scours the city, from parks to pubs to the sewers in a snowstorm as the two women’s networks of friends, family, and old adversaries intertwine. In order to find any answers, Neely risks losing all the illusions she so carefully cultivated about what her life should be – but for the generation that was promised so much, one thing is certain: there is nothing worse than being a nobody. The Hope and Anchor captures the dreams London embodies for its natives and newcomers alike, and what happens when the dreamers finally have to wake up.

It's my pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for The Hope and Anchor by Julia Kite today. Many thanks to the author and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel.
The Hope and Anchor could have been another thriller where the protagonist faces a race against time to save the victim or to unmask the killer. This is not that book, instead it's a character study that focuses on ordinary people living messy lives. They are not always particularly likeable people, we meet Neely for example just after she's cheated on her lover, Angela with their mutual friend, Sam. She moved to London from Stevenage full of dreams but is having failed to reach her academic potential she feels trapped and unfulfilled. She makes stupid decisions, can be immensely frustrating and irritatingly self-centred. She's also scared, lonely and devoted to her missing girlfriend, Angela.
As she slowly discovers the truths about Angela's past we learn more about both women. Angela is a product of West London, the Grand Union canal is her lifeblood. Her history lies in the very fabric of the streets, in the grass and mud. When she is reported as a missing person, Neely is under no illusions about how much attention her girlfriend's disappearance will be given. She might be a Missing White Woman but she's not really the right kind of white woman, when Neely and Sam try to hand out missing posters nobody is bothered. At least she's attractive, as Neely points out, "If you're going to disappear, you have to be pretty, She won the lottery on that one."
If The Hope and Anchor is a character-driven novel then this part of West London is one of the main players; Harrow Road, the Grand Union, Wormwood Scrubs park, the fried chicken shops, newsagents, grimy pubs and rented flats. This isn't the London of Hollywood films, it's the dirty, complex, alcohol-soaked, pill popping city where violence is commonplace, rape is 'The Inevitable' and dreamers are destined to be disappointed. It's also the London of love, friendships, shared histories, getting by and surviving. Although The Hope and Anchor is a often bleak look at life, there's still warmth and poignancy here. This is a love story between two flawed people, it's not the ending that matters really, it's about the directions their lives took that led them to that place and how they cope - or not - when things go wrong. I said before that the characters aren't always that likeable, nevertheless I grew to care about these vulnerable individuals and the story of their lives.
The Hope and Anchor is a very real, honest contemporary novel; brave, uncompromising and touching. Julia Kite's debut is a beautifully written and I very much look forward to reading her future books. In the meantime I highly recommend this one.

The Hope and Anchor is published by Unbound and can be purchased here. Don't miss the other stops on the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author

Julia Kite lives in Manhattan, and calls New York City and London home. She is a graduate of Columbia University and the London School of Economics. Obsessed with cities and the people in them, she started her career researching housing and urban regeneration, and she now directs policy and research for a transportation improvement organisation. Before she began working to make New York City’s streets better for cyclists, she was taking long rides along the Grand Union Canal in West London. She is a member of the Columbia Fiction Foundry, an alumna of quiz shows The Chase and Jeopardy, an urban wildlife rehabilitator, a keen amateur baker, and the owner of an opinionated parrot. The Hope and Anchor is her first novel, a work of fiction about a very real place she holds dear.



  1. Thanks for the fabulous Blog Tour support Karen x


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