A Place Called New Hope by Catherine McGreevy – Review

Posted April 5, 2018 by Phyllis Helton in Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Giveaways /

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A Place Called New Hope by Catherine McGreevy – Review

A Place Called New Hope

by Catherine McGreevy

Published by Sweetwater Books
Publication Date March 13, 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: England Victorian Era – UK – 1837 – 1901
Main Character Ages: 18-24
Written for: Adults
Pages: 272


Letty Leighton wishes to use her wealth to found a utopian society, New Hope. All she needs to access her fortune is a husband. Luckily, Patrick Marlowe, a penniless explorer, has agreed to marry her just before leaving on a long African expedition. At first, New Hope seems to be a success, but despite Letty's best intentions, not everything in her utopia--or in her marriage--turns out as she planned.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

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Utopian communities were not something I was familiar with until I read this novel. Apparently, there were more than a few attempted in the middle of the 19th century, both in England and the United States.

The historical aspects of the story are interesting. The idea of establishing a community with the goal of helping the poor is admirable, but the execution of this story is a little lacking and got boring through the establishment of the community.

I didn’t connect well with Letty. She was okay, but I didn’t care for her as much as I could – possibly because of the callous way she married to get access to her money and her dream. She was certainly eccentric and passionate about her dreams. Patrick was better, but I didn’t like how indifferently he behaved towards Letty through most of the book.

10 Behind the Scenes Facts about the Book

  1. Letty is my younger, more idealistic self, when I too thought something should be “done” to cure the ills of the world, and naively believed that the darker side of human nature could be easily curtailed by good intentions.
  2. The setting, Victorian England, was inspired by my love of gothic novels growing up. I devoured them like popcorn. Most of those stories were set in England, with a lovely young heroine living in a moldering old manor house, threatened by some male villain. I always wanted to write one of those books myself.
  3. Researching Utopian communities for this story showed me that the roots of this movement were much more widespread than I’d expected. The Victorian era was much less stodgy and restrictive than it has been unfairly reported to be. Many currents of imaginative and idealistic thinking flourished during this time although utopians, such as Letty, certainly experienced push-back and persecution.
  4. What I saw and learned during several visits to England over the years appears in this novel. For example, the gaol in which young Simon finds himself is modeled after an old prison in York, and I strolled through plenty of beautiful old manor houses like Blackgrave Manor.
  5. When I began my writing career, everyone said that “series” were popular with readers, but I had always envisioned each of my stories as stand-alone tales. It occurred to me that using the same setting and families for each novel would make them a sort of series. If you pay close attention, you’ll notice that Blackgrave Manor and members of the Marlowe family show up in several of my historical novels.
  6. Related to #5: If you’ve read “A Gardener’s Tale,” you may guess correctly that Patrick Marlowe is the grandson of Jonathan Marlowe, and Henry is the son of Lemley, the old gardener.
  7. Unlike many writers in this genre, I prefer my main characters to be commoners. This is probably because my ancestors, many of whom came from Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales, and Cornwall) were all ordinary, hard-working people. As a patriotic American, raised by a diplomat who endorsed the ideals that make the United States unique, I embrace the notion that all men are created equal. This idea, juxtaposed against the strict class system of Victorian England, lends itself to interesting conflicts.
  8. The exploration of Africa during this period was just beginning. People in Europe had never seen animals such as gorillas before, and at first refused to believe they existed. Researching this part of the story was fascinating!
  9. Patrick Marlowe is partly modeled on Sir. Richard Francis Burton, an amazingly accomplished man who was one of the first explorers of Africa.
  10. Originally, this story had an important subplot involving the discovery of a diamond mine in Africa. I took it out to focus more on Letty’s struggles to make New Hope succeed.


    Tour Wide Giveaway


    Enter the giveaway HERE.

    Blog Stop Giveaway

    Comment on this blog for a chance to win an e-copy (International) of the book. Plus, if 10+ unique commenters post on this blog, one commenter will be selected to receive a print copy of the book in addition to the e-copy book winner.

    Respond to the following question: Which of Letty and Patrick’s dreams about improving society have come true since the time in which they lived?

    Tour Schedule

    April 5-Among the Reads
    April 6-Bookworm Nation
    April 7-Soulfully Romantic
    April 10-Remembrancy
    April 12-Paulette’s Papers
    April 13-Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic
    April 17-Singing Librarian Books
    April 18-Mel’s Shelves
    April 20-Faery Tales Are Real
    April 23-Heidi Reads…
    April 25-Locks, Hooks and Books
    April 26-Wishful Endings
    April 27-Ponderings of a Poet & Procrastinator
    April 30-Henry Happens


About Catherine McGreevy

The daughter of a foreign-service officer, Catherine McGreevy attended international schools in France, Spain, and Morocco. During her time abroad she learned to appreciate other cultures as well as the ideals that make America special. A true book-worm, she dreamed seeing her own novels on a shelf next to those of her favorite writers, including Mary Stewart and Elizabeth Peters.

After majoring in Communications (Journalism) with a minor in English at Brigham Young University, she later earned her Secondary Education Teaching Credential at Cal State Fullerton, and taught high-school and middle-school English before moving to Northern California.

A history buff, Catherine lives in Northern California’s gold country, where she has been known to don a bonnet and petticoats to re-enact the past with the Sierra Nevada Mormon Pioneers, appearing in parades and at Sutter’s Fort and the Gold Discovery site in Coloma.

Her first historical novel, Chance’s Bluff, was released by Cedar Fort Publishing in January, 2018. A Place Called New Hope follows in March.

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One response to “A Place Called New Hope by Catherine McGreevy – Review

  1. Kay Garrett

    Thank you for your honest review and information on “A Place Called New Hope” by Catherine McGreevy as well as being part of the book tour.

    I’d love the opportunity to read this book.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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