In the small city of Wharton, Connecticut, lives are beginning to unravel. A woman loses the love of her life. A son struggles with addiction. A widow misses her late spouse. A husband betrays his wife. At the heart of these interlinking stories is one couple: Freddie and Greg Tyler. Greg has just been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a brutal form of cancer. He has never been dependent or weak, and wants to overcome this the way he has succeeded at everything else: through grit and determination.
Joella's poetic side shines in his moving but never maudlin novel. He captures loneliness, sadness, happiness and anger in all their fleeting hues. He has created a truly intertwined world around the Tylers, portraying their neighbors truthfully yet kindly. From beginning to end, A Little Hope finds the grace of the everyday and homes in on the surprises (both heavy and light) that each day can hold. Life is both painful and hopeful, but in Joella's world, it is blessedly more of the latter.
... poignant and quietly powerful ... With so many characters populating the pages, you’d expect to encounter the occasional skimpily drawn one. But Joella impressively balances a cast of thoroughly realized personalities grappling with momentous events ... These characters transform over time, make amends and see one another more honestly and fully. Their evolution is inspiring — and more than a tad hopeful.
In his debut novel, Joella has an eye and ear for suburban pathos, highlighting tragedy and growth in equal parts. Exploring new love, the twists and turns of grief, and the steadfast loyalty of soulmates, A Little Hope is narrated by a diverse ensemble of Wharton residents. Joella pays particular attention to the aftershocks of loss in the residents’ lives, ranging from heartbreak and addiction to cancer, but he doesn’t dwell on the maudlin ... [An] immersive, illuminating novel.