Review: The Sudden Appearance of Hope

The Sudden Appearance of Hope
The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love the things Claire North comes up with. Time travel via being re-born again and again, a person who can shift from person to person by skin contact like a soul hermit crab, a person with an instantly forgettable face.
For me, she’s one of those authors who I hunt for new books when I browse a book shop (on the off-chance a newly published Claire North book was published and not announced anywhere on the internet).
I enjoyed this one, but not nearly as much as Harry August or Touch, and I think it’s because Ms. North did almost too good a job with her character. Hope is almost instantly forgotten by the people she meets, once she passes outside their conscious perception. As a result, you have a character who has an incredibly difficult time making meaningful personal connections, but is excellent at first impressions, because she gets so many attempts at them. Because of this trait, throughout much of the book, you, too, dredge up the same old introductions, that sense of disconnection each time you meet someone. The story is told at arm’s length because this is how the world holds Hope. I think it’s brilliantly executed, from a technical point of view, but, as a result, I felt less invested in the story and even a little frustrated with it, at times, unlike her other novels, which engaged and immersed you in her characters lives. But you can’t be disappointed, in a way, because this is exactly how Hope Arden must feel, being so forgettable.
So while I was impressed with the technical devotion to the concept of the novel, it didn’t quite click for me the way Ms. North’s stories usually do. But I’m still on the lookout for her next one (“The End of the Day”, out now) when I go browsing bookshops.

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