Nina Scaife, TV producer and workaholic extraordinaire, is making her first journey to Hope Island, Maine. It’s where her partner grew up, and where he takes their daughter on their annual visit to her grandparents, but this year it’s been left to Nina. She is hoping that the trip will help her mend her relationship with their teenaged daughter, as well as allowing her to have a much-needed discussion with all three family members. Needless to say, not all is as it seems, and things go awry relatively quickly.
Spoilers below. You’ve been warned.
Hope Island is a rather pedestrian tale of an outsider visiting an island community and finding the residents to be peculiar and hostile, with an added dash of kitchen sink drama and a smidgen of the supernatural. Unfortunately, Nina is a cold and unsympathetic protagonist, with a chip on her shoulder a mile wide and an attitude that leaves little question as to how she’s found herself in her current situation. It didn’t take too long before I decided that I couldn’t care less what happened to her, and the novel became something to be endured rather than enjoyed.
When I chose this novel to read and review, I did so mainly on it being described as akin to John Wyndham’s, The Midwich Cuckoos. Wyndham is one of my favourite authors, so I probably should have known better, but I just want to confirm that this is nothing like any of his stories. Admittedly, both Midwich and this novel contain groups of disturbing children, but that’s where the similarity ends, and there’s no comparison on the creepy scale between the two sets of kids.
The pace of Hope Island is virtually glacial, the characters are two-dimensional, and the conclusion involves such a paradigm shift that it becomes utterly ludicrous. For a book that’s supposed to be a “gripping supernatural mystery”, there’s none of the first, and precious little of the last two.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.