Winner of the Howard Engel Award for Best Crime Novel Set in Canada

A CBC Book of the Year

Winnipeg Free Press Fiction of 2023

An absorbing contemporary novel about art, food, love, and the ferocious hold of the past, from the Governor General’s Award-winning author of Five Wives.

When Isla and Jake meet, their attraction to each other is irresistible. Isla loves that Jake is an artist. She’s drawn to his talent and his ideas, his unsparing self-awareness. The timing is bad, though: Isla is a chef who’s bought into an organic restaurant in farm country, and she’s just about to move. Then Jake decides to move with her. He’s eager to escape the city and the art world and his family’s long shadow, and he wants to live closer to nature. Mainly, he wants Isla, who in his mind represents all that healthy, natural, and joyful.

But Jake’s efforts to distance himself from his old life only seem to pull him forcefully back—starting from the day his former friend Reg Bevaqua rolls up to Isla’s restaurant in a preposterous supercar. When they were kids, Reg was something of a charitable project for Jake’s family. Now he’s scrambling fast into the world of the one-percenters. When Jake vanishes, Isla realizes that she should have paid closer attention to all that went down between Jake and Reg.

Wild Hope is a page-turner deepened by nuanced characters, by the pleasurable language of literary fiction, and by its keen attention to the current moment. It is interested in where greed comes from, in the scorched-earth mentality of contemporary capitalism, and in why society tolerates ludicrous inequalities. Can we change to meet the challenges of the present, Wild Hope asks, or will old patterns and values prevail?

Wild Hope is published by Harper Perennial. In stores September 19, 2023.

Wild Hope is a captivating contemporary crime novel . . . Joan Thomas skillfully weaves a tale of love, betrayal, and redemption. . . through richly drawn characters and evocative prose.  . . . The brilliance of the narrative means that  . . . the reader maintains a ‘wild hope’ that all will be well.”  — Jury Citation, Howard Engel Award.

“Brilliant, absorbing, and finely crafted, Wild Hope is a novel about love, loss, art, food, and the perpetual urge to claim the last remaining scraps of a world teetering on the verge of environmental collapse. I ripped through these haunting and perfectly woven pages until the very end!” — Cedar Bowers, author of Astra

“Wild Hope is both riveting and deeply moral, a page-turner that rises to the level of metaphor and asks the existential questions of our time. Thankfully, Thomas is also our guide, leading us to the wild places where we might, indeed, find hope, and perhaps even justice.” — Caroline Adderson, author of A Russian Sister

“In Wild Hope, Joan Thomas delivers not just a mystery, but also a rich and timely meditation on art, climate, and control. This is a deft and layered novel with so much to say about the world we live in now.” — Alix Ohlin, author of Duel Citizens

“A brilliant, beautiful novel as well as a gripping page-turner. With Wild Hope, Thomas holds a mirror up to our current moment and dares us to consider the big questions in the face of a changing climate and a future increasingly determined by a privileged few. A timely, vivid, and moving read.” — Saleema Nawaz, author of Songs for the End of the World