I picked up Hope Island after seeing quite a lot of people talk about it on Instagram. The bright, Lichtenstein-esque, cover caught my eye and the description sounded very intriguing and unlike a novel that I have read for a while.
The novel centres around Nina Scaife, a workaholic TV producer, and her relationship with her daughter Laurie. After Nina’s partner, Rob, leaves her for another woman she takes Laurie to the remote Hope Island to visit Rob’s parents. However, when a dead body is found on the beach, Nina soon begins to realise that not all is what it seems on the island.
It took me a little while to warm up to Nina, but I did find that it was refreshing to have a protagonist so suspicious of the goings on of the odd behaviour on the island. To have her question everything instead of brushing it off, or just going along with it, was a nice touch. Where the novel was told from Nina’s perspective, an outsider on the island, I found that I didn’t really get attached to any of the other characters; which meant that some events didn’t have quite as much as an impact towards the end. I also found the very brief romantic prospect for Nina was a bit unnecessary.
I liked the way Nina and Laurie’s relationship was written and explored. Their strained relationship due to Nina’s work was further highlighted when Nina saw how Laurie acted on the island, it made her realise that perhaps she didn’t know her daughter as well as she thought she did and that she was losing to her ex, Rob. The way Nina was fiercely protective of Laurie also enhanced Nina’s suspicions of something being not quite right on the island which, coupled with her news background, made her questioning very believable.
The way Major creates suspense and builds tension is brilliantly done. I found it gripping and I needed to know what was going to happen, and to uncover the secrets of the island. I really liked the descriptions of the island too, you could really see it. Towards the end of the novel the structure of the sentences began to change, as well as the chapters, which was really effective. However, at the same time I did find the chaos a little too confusing but I was still able to piece together what was going on.
I enjoyed the novel and did feel on edge reading it, however as I was unable to bond with the characters I wasn’t able to fully immerse myself in the world despite Major’s well written tension.