I had long ago realised that the hero, in many of Ryn's books, Emily, had been modeled around her own history and I wondered, just how much of Ryn was in Emily and vice-versa.
Clearly, Ryn had a difficult childhood and although this book covers just one year in that childhood, it was obviously a seminal year, in the life of the future artist, author and good, keen, Australian woman.
Despite coming from a moderately well-to-do family, it was clearly a very dysfunctional family and Ryn was a malnourished, underloved, and sickly child. It was the Government of Victoria and the authorities that were responsible for ensuring Ryn got to attend the Outdoor School for a year, that would prove to be the making of her. She credits this year with turning her difficult childhood around.
The story is told in typical, no-nonsense style by the author and as, a reader, I was left to marvel at how some people are just able to raise themselves above adversity and succeed despite their early background. As someone who clearly had a privileged upbringing, in comparison to the author, I couldn't help but think, "there, but for the grace of God, go all of us."
Hope is just a short story, but it is one that does indeed fill the reader with hope. As a bonus Ryn has included an excerpt at the end of the book that details the story from her novellas, that leads up to the birth of Emily. This was a real bonus for me as it was the only book in the series I had yet to read.
What shines through in this story is the author's "just get it done" attitude that she has clearly carried through into her adult life. I really enjoyed this little dalliance and would highly recommend it to anyone. Good one!