Today I am back with another Mark Towse book review. Earlier this month, I was given the opportunity to read his most popular work: Nana. Next week, I will share an interview with the talented author himself, so stay tuned for that. Hope Wharf was published in August 2021 and is currently making the rounds on Bookstagram. A big thank you to Mark for sending me a copy. I love working with him and at this point, I’ll check out anything he publishes. Without further ado, lets get into it!
Hope Wharf is an idyllic town, surrounded by crystal blue waters and home to approximately two hundred residents, including best friends Ryan and Zac. There’s only one road in and one road out, and the locals like it that way, happy to cater to the tourists during the holiday season and keen to get their idyllic town back in the off-season. It sounds perfect, but there’s a catch. The last time a local allegedly tried to leave town, they were found on the side of the road with mist coming out of every orifice. Tourists can come and go as they please, but it’s forbidden for locals to leave, and from an early age, children are told about what happens if they try. Ryan and Zac are keen to uncover the town’s secrets and arrange a midnight stroll down Mulville Road to test the rumours out for themselves.
Zac and Ryan are the protagonists of the story. They are two best friends, eager to learn the truth about their strange town and its rumours. Zac is more spirited and impulsive. Ryan is more cautious and calculated. They compliment one another perfectly. I’ve mentioned this before, but I feel like Mark Towse is especially gifted at switching from a child’s perspective to an adults. He captured an innocent friendship between two boys that brought back a lot of nostalgia. It reminded me of a time when the summers felt endless and nothing else mattered, except the memories being made. We also get some insight into the late Tommy Nicholls, who disappeared from Hope Wharf years ago in the prologue. As this is a spoiler-free review, I won’t divulge what happens, but needless to say, there was an interesting plot twist!
THE WRITING STYLE
I would definitely classify this story as a horror. It felt like Midnight Mass and The Mist came together, had a baby and this was the result. I’m a huge fan of the strange town trope. It’s a setting I cannot get enough of. It kept me on the edge of my seat. I appreciate when an author shows, rather than tells us what is going on. We weren’t spoon-fed the information, but slowly given seeds of thought to make up our own minds. My only criticism is that I would have loved more. Maybe Mark can revisit this world someday and expand on some of the different characters and their backstories. I am such a fan of Mark’s writing style. His dialogue is witty, his descriptions on point and his story-telling is excellent.
I gave this 4/5 stars. It was really enjoyable and the best kind of creepy.
Once again, a huge thank you to Mark for giving me such a great opportunity. I hope you liked my review. If you’re interested in ordering a copy, please click here. Don’t forget to leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads!
Thank you for reading
Peace & Love xoxo