Hope is a theme in my next Second World War women’s fiction novel, The Secrets of Grey Oaks Hall. In both the historical and contemporary timelines, female protagonists hold to hope and the promise of better times ahead when life—and living it—are dark.

Hope is also the word I’ve chosen to live by in 2023.

If you’re new to my blog, instead of making new year’s resolutions I choose a word of the year. For twelve months, that word guides me as a compass and focus for reflection.

In the last part of 2022, I didn’t feel especially hopeful. Combined with ongoing world events, there was illness, my own and close family members. It also seemed that everywhere I turned things in both my personal and professional lives didn’t go as planned.

Although I’ve tried to see such situations as learning opportunities, when 31 December rolled around, I was relieved to see the end of 2022.

Yet, in the last two months of what was for me a hard year, I kept seeing references to hope and they spoke to me in life and writing.

At my local library, front and centre on the “new” non-fiction shelf was Still Hopeful: Lessons from a Lifetime of Activism by Canadian author Maude Barlow.

In a box stored in our basement since our move from England to Canada in 2015, I found a ‘Hope’ ornament that hung in my home office in our English house. I bought it when I was trying to secure a literary agent and traditional publishing deal and was writing on hope.

References to hope also popped up in several books I was reading, and I found myself using it with family and friends.

Clearly, these things were signs!

Choosing hope as my word for 2023 has given me a needed emotional boost.

It’s a small word, only four letters, but hope is a powerful impetus for self-belief, motivation and taking action to make changes large and small.

In looking to 2023 with hope, I’m looking forward with the lightness and positivity a hopeful perspective brings.

Wishing you good things in 2023 and your own sense of “hope” in the months ahead.

To end with writing news, while I don’t yet have a publication date for The Secrets of Grey Oaks Hall, I chatted about my previous wartime book, The Sweetheart Locket, where hope also features, with Maggie Smith from the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) for their Hear Us Roar podcast series.

Thanks for hosting me, Maggie. We also chatted about more personal things too, including why I collect angel ornaments.

Listen to that podcast episode (for free) here.


  1. Elizabeth Waldman

    I too was relieved to see the end of 2022 and thanks for passing on the word hope which I too plan to implement in my stressful and emotional life. I also have a hope stone which I plan to give a little rub each morning and pray for better days. Hope is the word for me also this year and thank you for reminding me.

    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you for reading and commenting on my blog, Elizabeth. How special that we’ve chosen the same word for 2023. I love the thought of your “hope stone” and am now looking for one myself. Wishing you “hopeful” and better times in the months ahead.

  2. Angela Joynes

    Thank you, Jen.

    I think I needed to read about hope today.

    With all my ongoing health issues and my probably crazy notion of becoming traditionally published this late in life, I need a jolt of inspiration or hope to keep me going each morning!

    Thank you for sharing your life and your beautiful words with the world. Happy and Hopeful New Year!

    • Jen Gilroy

      You’re welcome, Angela. I’m glad I was able to bring some “hope” into your life and I appreciate your kind words about my writing. It’s not a “crazy notion” at all to want to become traditionally published. Many authors had their first book published at an older age so if it’s important to you don’t give up on your dream. Happy 2023!

  3. Deb

    Jen – a great word for sure. 2022 was rough. Here’s to a great 2023. I love the notion of rubbing your HOPE stone every morning – a talisman, of sorts. I chose MODERATION as my 2023 word, as I accomplished a lot last year, but burned out. So, moderation is needed in 2023. Now to find a symbol (like your hope rock) for that word. Here’s to moving forward in HOPE in 2023!

    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you, Deb. I appreciate your thoughts about “hope.” I’m sorry to hear that 2022 was a rough year for you as well. Burn out is hard and requires recovery time. Wishing you a good year of “moderation” in 2023.


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