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Anna Hope Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Wake (2014)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Ballroom (2016)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Expectation (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Anna Hope is an English actress and author of historical fiction works from Manchester in the United Kingdom. While she has become an author in her own right, before that she was best known as Novice Hame when she appeared in “Doctor Who.” She was brought up in a small town in Lancashire and went to Turton High school before she moved to Manchester as a teen to attend the William Hulme Grammar School. She then went to Wadham College in Oxford to study English, graduated with a Masters in Creative Writing from the Birkbeck College in London, and then proceeded to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Upon graduating, Hope started acting as a ten-year-old at the Bolton based “Octagon Youth Theatre” before she worked her way up and got a role in “Doctor Who.” She has also appeared in “Coronation Street,” “Waking the Dead,” and “Crime and Punishment.” Anna was lucky to have her first novel be the subject of a seven-way auction before it was finally published by Transworld Publishers. The novel has now been sold in more than seventeen countries. Her second novel “The Ballroom” came out in 2016 while her third novel “Expectation” is a contemporary novel that was published to rave reviews and was optioned to be made into a feature-length drama by Haut et Court, a French film company.

Hope’s debut novel “Wake” came from her interest in the First World War. She had read a lot of women’s social history that dated to the late years of the 19th century and was fascinated at how tenacious the women fought for suffrage and the vote. Ann knew that women in Britain had been granted the right to vote in 1918 but was more interested in knowing what had changed during this time. The more she researched the era the more she got interested in the British society of the era. The Empire that had once boasted of the sun never setting on her majesty’s possessions had been humbled and brought low. Servicemen were begging on the streets after losing their homes and hardly anyone was without grief from losing a loved one in the war. Cracks were beginning to appearing in a once patriarchal society with women binding their breasts, bobbing their hair, and voting. To add to the pain was the decision by the government to bury the fallen men of war in the countries where they fell. As such, many of the flower of British youth were buried in Northern France, Belgium, and beyond. Hope was fascinated by the lack of closure and absence that characterized the families who had sent a son, father, or brother to fight the war.

While Ann Hope primarily writes historical fiction and contemporary novels, she has said that she has been influenced by authors from all manner of genres. However, her favorite authors are Virginia Woolf, Colum McCann, Ernest Hemingway, Sebastien Barry, and TS Eliot. She loved the way the authors portrayed how a society with its certainties was frayed in the aftermath of the First World War. She imitated some of them starting with a short story that she based on “Street Haunting” by Virginia Woolf. She would later read the short story about a young man on a drug come down when she was invited to a Virginia Woolf conference in New York City. Bizarrely enough, the story was made one of the required readings in the Danish national exam syllabus. Later on, she would forge her distinct voice though she spent several years anxious about how she should frame her voice even though she had studied English at Oxford. It was only when she broke free from her heroes that she realized she could be brilliant rather than have to imitate the best authors in the genre.

Anna Hope’s debut novel “Wake” is a brilliant novel that tells the story of Hettie. She is a Palais dance instructor who still lives at home alongside her mother and brother who came back from the war lost and mute. One night while working, she meets an educated and wealthy man that she thinks is just taken with her as she is taken with him. Still, she feels that he is holding back something and she cannot get him to open up. On the other hand, is Evelyn who is an employee of the Pensions Exchange that disburses benefits to thousands of men debilitated by the war. She has been left bitter after her beloved brother came back from the war no longer the carefree and joyful person he once was. She is increasingly estranged from her wealthy parents as she feels they do not understand her. And then there is Ada a woman whose son died in the war but she sees him on every street and is now convinced that he still lives. Her husband to whom she had been married for more than twenty-five years no longer speaks to her. She is jolted to the core when she talks to a peddler who is a war veteran who shows signs of mental illness. Ada immediately recognizes signs of psychological issues but is startled when he utters the name of the son she had lost. The lives of the three women combine and as the story gathers momentum what binds them together comes increasingly clear.

“Expectation” the second novel by Anna Hope is an enthralling story of a young woman named Ella that has had to work for most of her young adult life. When she breaks a window at the plant where she is employed, she promises to make everything right though it is unclear how she will do so given that she is institutionalized. Then there is Clem who refuses to eat preferring to read. Her family had her institutionalized and she has been in and out of the hospital for years. Then there is John who is also institutionalized and melancholic after he was overwhelmed with the grief over the death of his daughter. As part of his therapy, he gets to dance with other inmates at weekly dances organized by Dr. Fuller, who combines his medical practice with his love for music. Nobody expects romance to come out of an asylum where women and men are kept apart. The women are always ashen from working indoors while men are allowed to work out in the sun. But in the seemingly useless weekly music sessions madness grows and love blooms.

“The Ballroom” by Anna Hope is the fascinating story of three women whose lives are steeped in political and personal anxieties. Hannah and Lisa are live in London and have been best friends since college, while Cate used to bunk with them and was the best friend to Hannah when they were in high school. She has since gotten married settled down and now lives in Canterbury, where he is constantly complaining about how remote her new home is, even as she deals with her postpartum depression. In the meantime, Hannah adopted bizarre routines to try to get pregnant using IVF. Lisa is fantasizing about becoming an actress on Broadway even as she experiences crippling loneliness regret at a career that had petered out and a tension-filled relationship with her mother. Hope traces a jagged triangle around the three women’s lives as they deal with lingering guilt, fierce competition, and adultery. The best moments of the book are when they discuss their sexuality, their sex lives, and their anxiety concerning the future.

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