Review: The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside by Jessica Ryn


Title: The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside

Author: Jessica Ryn

Published: May 28th 2020, HQ Fiction

Status: Read June 2020, courtesy Harlequin Australia


My Thoughts:

The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside is a moving and uplifting contemporary novel from debut novelist, Jessica Ryn.

Dawn Elisabeth Brightside has been running from her past for more than two decades. Offered a place at St Jude’s Hostel for the Homeless in Dover she finally thinks she may have found somewhere to she can stay.

Focusing on the issues of homelessness and mental health, The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside is set in Dover, England. St Jude’s is a refuge that provides accomodation and social support to homeless people staffed by a dedicated and idealistic social worker, Grace and a former client, Peter. Dawn quickly settles into the hostel, fighting the familiar impulse to flee, and befriending several of the residents.

Though I thought the story felt a little slow to begin with, the pace improved as it unfolded.

The narrative alternates between the perspectives of Dawn and Grace, and Ryn portrays both women with compassion and nuance. Dawn tends to be sidetracked by florid daydreams, and sometimes fails to distinguish reality from fantasy. Many of her delusions centre around Rosie, Dawn’s daughter, though whether she actually exists or not, is unclear for much of the novel. Despite her mental health issues, Dawn is a largely an optimist and always eager to help others, and when she learns that St Jude’s is in danger of closing she is determined to save it.

As is Grace who feels deeply for her clients, and is worried that she isn’t good enough to do right by them.

A story of heart, humour and humanity, The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside is an engaging read.


Available from Harlequin/ HarperCollins Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out

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