In 732 A.D., the Frankish and Burgundian forces led by Charles Martel defeated an army of the Umayyad Caliphate led by Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi and halted the Muslim advance into Christian Europe. At least, that’s what happened in the world as you know it.
Step into the world of The Other Side of Hope, where the world as you know it is turned on its head. In this world, Martel was defeated and the Caliphate continued to spread across Europe until the entire continent was under its control. Christianity was eventually forced to flee west to a distant and dangerous new land. Without the support of European powers, these settlers found only conflict, poverty, and hardship.
In the modern day, this world remains divided. The wealthy Muslim East and the poverty-stricken Christian West are constantly at odds. A single spark is all it takes to ignite fresh conflict and the cycle seems never-ending.
Ethan Lewis is a proud young Christian living in Tioga, the poorest district of the developing nation Lachlond. All he wants is to marry his fiancée and provide for his mother and younger siblings. The only problem is that his mother insists he can’t do both. Not until his sister is married off and out of the house.
Hamid Damir is an ambitious Muslim businessman from Istanbul, the financial center of the world. He’s trying to build a prosperous and happy future for his family. But, after five years of marriage, his wife is beginning to realize that she has different ideas about what that future should look like.
Everything changes for both young men when the Brotherhood of the Sword, a Christian terrorist organization, launches a devastating attack on Istanbul. As the wrath of Turkey descends on Lachlond, Hamid and Ethan are pulled into a war that sets them on a collision course with the other side and may cost them everything. Will they find hope for a brighter future or be lost in the despair of intractable conflict?
Review from Josh Davis, freelance ghostwriter, editor, and novelist.
4.9 stars (out of 5) – This is an amazing score for a first-time novelist, even one who has been a professional ghostwriter for several years. Dunham did not fall into any traps that often befall us writers, and told a phenomenal story to boot. No novel is perfect, but The Other Side of Hope is as close as I have seen from a debut novel.
Review from TheGirlWithAllTheBooks
8 stars (out of 10) – I have just finished this book and have got the post book blues. Despite reading it throughout the exam season I often found myself thinking of the characters and their stories just wishing I could return to the book… Such a beautiful vivid story and definitely worth persevering through the start. The last 150 pages just flew by and led to a chat with my flatmate about the ending (not to spoil anything but wow). Definitely worth every page.
Review from The Expendable Muge
3.5 stars (out of 5) – As an alternative history lover, I was very excited when I was offered this title for review. A Muslim-dominated world and European Christians forced to flee ever westward? Yes, please! … What saved this read for me was the ending. Considering how often I whinge about endings that fail or disappoint, that’s pretty astounding. A very common first-novelist flub is to tie up the end of the story with a pretty little bow on its bottom, however incongruous that might be given what’s come before. Dunham avoids this trap handily. There are consequences, dark and painful ones, for the actions the characters take. There are no winners, and all the way around, the book ends on a hopeful note that manages not to feel forced or fake or tacked on.