Monday 23 December 2019

Expectation by Anna Hope @Anna_Hope @DoubledayUK #ExpectationBook @TransworldBooks #BookReview

Hannah, Cate and Lissa are young, vibrant and inseparable. Living on the edge of a common in East London, their shared world is ablaze with art and activism, romance and revelry – and the promise of everything to come. They are electric. They are the best of friends.

Ten years on, they are not where they hoped to be. Amidst flailing careers and faltering marriages, each hungers for what the others have. And each wrestles with the same question: what does it take to lead a meaningful life?

The most razor-sharp and heartbreaking novel of the year, EXPECTATION 
is a novel about finding your way: as a mother, a daughter, a wife, a rebel.

Expectation by Anna Hope was published on 11 July 2019 by Doubleday/Transworld. The paperback will be released in April 2020. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I absolutely adored both of Anna Hope's previous novels; Wake (2015) and The Ballroom (2016). Both of those are historical fiction and I was intrigued to find out how she would deal with a more contemporary setting in Expectation.

She deals with it very well. Expectation is the proof that Hope is one of our finest and most adaptable novelists at the moment. Her ability to create characters who worm their way into the reader's brain and are difficult to shake off is incredible.

 “Good God, we got out there and we changed the world for you. For our daughters. And what have you done with it?”

These words were spoken to Lissa, one of the novel's main characters, by her mother, and it's a theme and question that runs right through this story.
The title 'Expectation' is perfect for the story of three friends; Lissa, Hannah and Cate and the reader accompanies them through the thirty or so years of that friendship. Beginning as they prepare to graduate from University, as they lead a carefree life, living together in a London house and continuing throughout their lives; incorporating careers, relationships, children and always expectation.

Anna Hope pinpoints the exact things that concern women in the twenty-first century. Her characters are flawed and often make disappointing decisions, but they are so recognisable. Their hopes, their dreams, and their expectations never quite leave them, despite the disappointments and trauma that each of them have to bear throughout the story.

The author deals with the expectation of becoming a mother, and deals with it with honesty and in vivid detail. The reader sees how this expectation and the results of that can shape lives, and alter friendships. As Cate struggles with sleep deprivation and an interfering mother-in-law and the changing relationship between her and partner, she also knows that by becoming a new mother, her friendship with Hannah has altered. Hannah, despite her successful career and beautiful home wants nothing more than to be a mother. Endless rounds of IVF and the constant despair of this have fractured her relationship with Cate and seems to be destroying her own marriage too. Those expectations again, and the hopeless reality that blur them are intelligently described.

Finally, we learn of Lissa's expectations and how they've shaped what she's become, and how the expectation of her own mother, as in the line at the top of this review has left a searing scar upon her.

Most women will see something of themselves, their friends and possibly their mothers in these characters. It is an exploration of hope, a tender but often brutal depiction of friendship and most of all, a beautifully written novel.

There can be nothing more devastating than the failure of a friendship, but there is also nothing quite like that feeling of having your 'tribe'; those friends who become our therapists, who share our secrets and our joys, and most of all, help us to manage our own expectations.

This is a stunning novel, written with empathy and honesty. I adore it.

Anna’s powerful first novel, Wake, sold to Transworld Publishers in a seven-way auction. 
Set over the course of five days in 1920, Wake weaves the stories of three women around the journey of the Unknown Soldier, from its excavation in Northern France to Armistice Day at Westminster Abbey. 
US rights were pre-empted by Random House. 
The book was published in Doubleday hardback on 16th January 2014. 
Wake has now been sold in 17 foreign territories. 
Anna’s second novel, The Ballroom, was published in January 2016 and was selected for Richard and Judy’s Autumn promotion. 
Her third novel Expectation, also with Doubleday, was published in July 2019.

Twitter @Anna_Hope

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