I was very happy to review the latest novel by Terry Tyler as part of the team at WHISPERINGSTORIES.
Author – Terry Tyler
Pages – 516
Released – 3rd May 2019
Format – ebook
Reviewer – Julie
Rating – 5 Stars
I received a free copy of this book.
‘We haven’t elected a Prime Minister, we’ve elected a lifestyle’.
As the fourth decade of the 21st century looms, new PM Guy Morrissey and his fitness guru wife Mona (hashtag MoMo) are hailed as the motivational couple to get the UK #FitForWork, with Mona promising to ‘change the BMI of the nation’.
Lita Stone is an influential blogger and social media addict, who watches as Guy and Mona’s policies become increasingly ruthless. Unemployment and homelessness are out of control. The solution? Vast new compounds all over the country, to house those who can no longer afford to keep a roof over their heads.
These are the Hope Villages, financed by US corporation Nutricorp.
Lita and her friends Nick and Kendall feel safe in their cosy flat, their lives lived mostly online. Unaware of how swiftly bad luck can snowball, they suspect little of the danger that awaits the unfortunate, behind the carefully constructed mirage of Hope.
Terry Tyler’s nineteenth published book is a dystopian tale that examines, amongst other subjects, the darker side of social media, as the gap between the haves and the have-nots grows ever wider. Whether or not it will mirror the future that awaits us, we will have to wait and see.
‘Hope’ is the latest novel from the pen of multi-genre author, Terry Tyler. This time, she gives us an Orwellian futuristic Britain, where life is lived mainly through the media and society is drowning in hashtags and sound bites. Many jobs have disappeared through mechanisation and automation, making career choices few.
Bubbling beneath the surface of this brave new world, there are sinister undertones. Little by little, commerce and politics converge as manipulation and control are disguised as altruism and benevolence. The ability to stay in employment depends on lifestyle and the penalty for not conforming to ‘the system’, is severe. From the start we have glimpses of the lives of the unemployed, most of whom are rounded up and forced to live in modern day workhouses, or ‘Hope Villages’.
The tale unfolds in the presence tense, through the eyes of our main character, Lita Stone. Lita is a social media influencer who works part-time in a café. We meet her at a happy time in her life, when she shares a top floor flat with people she considers to be family and sees her boyfriend, Brody, intermittently. Inevitably perhaps, Lita and her foils fall foul of the Establishment and things begin to unravel.
Lita et al, start to feel extremely uneasy about the ever-increasing intrusion of the State into every aspect of their lives. Prime Minister, Guy Morrissey and his go-getting, fitness guru wife, Mona, are a sinister combination, working hand-in-glove with Mona’s powerful father who owns a multi-national organisation. Now in power, the greed and cynical manipulation of this triumvirate, knows no bounds. It seems there are no depths to which they will not sink, in their attempt to silence any dissenting voices. Moral conscience is a thing of the past in Britain in 2029 and we have uncomfortable parallels with Nazism.
Among other devices, Terry Tyler develops her story through tension, imagery, pathos, irony, foreshadowing and sharp wit as the true extent of the Government’s plans for the future are revealed. Her characters experience a wide range of emotions but she gives Lita the resilience and strength to make a stand.
From the synopsis, I was worried the story was a little too close to Tyler’s recent successful trilogy to have sufficient impact. I’m not sure the plot gripped me quite as intensely as the first book in the ‘Project Renova’ series but looking at ‘Hope’ objectively, the cast are three-dimensional, the descriptive passages vivid and the pace well-managed. I particularly liked Lita and Mona’s backstories which give retrospective insight into their formative years.
I think new readers will be totally captivated by this story so on that basis, ‘Hope’ is worth a full five stars.
About the Author
Terry Tyler is a writer living in the north of England. She has just published her nineteenth book on Amazon, and also writes a popular blog on which she features advice for new writers, reviews of books, TV and films, and general random stuff about anything that inspires her to put fingers to keys. She reviews books for Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team, and has a particular love for history and the post apocalyptic genre.