The Hopefuls By Jennifer Close

When Art Imitates YOUR Life

During the summer of 2014 my family went on a trip to Washington DC. My husband had some work to do at the Smithsonian (which I didn’t realize, I’ll admit, is a collection of many incredible museums and not just one!) while our sons and I enjoyed the sites and some swimming. We stayed at the Hilton at Dupont Circle. It was a wonderful hotel with a gorgeous pool and more than enough food to keep us happy. We travelled in August and the weather was stifling so besides some walking trips to the museums (and one morning out when we got very lost very far from home) we stayed close to the hotel.

This week I began reading The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close. I wanted something a little lighter that the Elena Ferranti books  I’d been reading this year (my favourite of 2016!) but still something smart. This novel fits the bill. It is about a young couple who move to Washington DC (didn’t see that coming, did you?) to work on the Obama campaign. It’s a great story but what drew me in right away was that the couple buy a house across from the Hilton Hotel and Dupont Circle, and often go swimming in our pool! Maybe this is just me but it doesn’t take much to make me happy and so this was quite exciting.

The best part was when the narrator refers to the hotel as the place where the attempted assassination of President Reagan took place in 1981. I was there and I didn’t know because perhaps running around after two boys under ten kept me from reading something I should have prior to the trip. I was to busy packing swim trunks and sun screen and Wimpy Kid books. I’ll admit that at times I was also busy pretending to be Leslie Knoppe from Parks and Recreation, but again, that’s just me.

I’m not quite finished the novel but it has kept me reading and wanting to get back to it when I’m away. Jennifer Close is great at building tension slowly. Things aren’t going well for our young couple in DC, they are perhaps not as happy as the Obama’s were at the time. But who knows what will happen, how the next fifty pages will end. The Obama’s never would have predicted their ending in the White House as the way it’s about to happen, that’s for sure.

– Sarah C.