Thursday, 10 June 2021

Waiting For The Miracle by Anna McPartlin BLOG TOUR @annamcpartlin #WaitingForTheMiracle @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #BookReview



Caroline has hit rock bottom. After years of trying, it's clear she can't have children, and the pain has driven her and her husband apart. She isn't pregnant, her husband is gone and her beloved dog is dead.

The other women at her infertility support group have their own problems, too. Natalie's girlfriend is much less excited about having children than her. Janet's husband might be having an affair. And then there's Ronnie, intriguing, mysterious Ronnie, who won't tell anyone her story.


Catherine is sixteen and pregnant. Her boyfriend wants nothing to do with her, and her parents are ashamed. When she's sent away to a convent for pregnant girls, she is desperate not to be separated from her child. But she knows she might risk losing the baby forever.

Waiting For The Miracle by Anna McPartlin is published in hardback on 10 June 2021 by Zaffre. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review for this Blog Tour organised by Tracy at Compulsive Readers. 

I've just looked back and I've been reading Anna McPartlin's books since way back in 2006, that's sixteen years of heartbreak and laughter. I love her writing, there is no other author who can reduce me to tears and then have me howling with laughter within one chapter. 

I think it took around 35 pages of Wating For The Miracle before I had cried, both sad tears, and tears of laughter. Her writing is incredible, she takes the most serious of situations, she makes her characters go through so so much, yet she also makes me a laugh. This is a gift and I really admire her for it. 

Waiting For The Miracle is set over two time periods. Catherine's story begins in 1976, and Caroline begins her tale in 2010. Dual time stories are my favourite, I think it's a clever way to allow readers lots more insight into the creation of character and situation, it works so well in this novel. 

In 1976, sixteen year old Catherine is pregnant. This may be the 70s, where here in the UK, things were changing for the better for women, but Catherine is Irish and lives in deepest rural Ireland. Daughter of a pig farmer, in love with a boy from a well-to-do family, and desperate. Her family are shamed and before she knows it, she has been whisked away, out of sight from prying eyes and loose tongues. 

In 2010 Caroline is desperate to become a mother. She knows that this journey has ended for her. So many failed pregnancies, so many desperate attempts at IVF. Her body is knackered and her marriage is hanging by a thread. Caroline is part of a support group for other women in the same situation and the story is told through the different experiences of the members of the group. 

This story really broke me at times. I have a very very personal reason for that. I was born to an unmarried Irish Catholic woman in 1966. Ten whole years before Catherine's story, and every single day, I give thanks to the strength that my mother showed at that time. I give thanks that she managed to keep me, and rear me and find me a wonderful Daddy, and I cry on behalf of the women who were not able to do what she did. 

Mc Partlin captures the anguish of these women so very well, she also explores the beauty of their friendship and their support system. When one of them becomes pregnant, her delight is overshadowed by her guilt at the thought of the continued suffering of her peers. This humanity is beautifully portrayed; the absolute strength of their commitment to each other is stunning and a testament to the amazing thing that is the friendship between women. 

Back to Catherine. Oh, I adored her, and whilst I was totally taken by the modern day story, it was Catherine's tale that really did capture my heart. The inhumane conditions that she suffered, the indignities, the cruelties endured and her passion jumps from the page. Catherine is not only concerned about herself and her own unborn child, she feels so strongly about the other girls that she is locked away with; trying her best to be a supportive friend, which was almost impossible given the constraints put upon them by the Nuns who watched over them. I really do think that these women, who claim to have given their life to God, yet seem to relish the cruelty that they dish out were evil. I truly hope that not one of them can rest easily in their grave.

Despite the total devastation of the situations that the women in both parts of this story find themselves, there is a wonderful sense of wit and laughter running through the novel. McPartlin excels in the one-liner, and finding something to laugh about in the darkest of times. 

The reader may wonder how the two threads tie together, and this becomes clear towards the end. The ending is bittersweet and once again, I cried. 

I do not hesitate to recommend this magnificent book to everyone. Sure to be in my top books of this year. 

Anna McPartlin is a novelist and scriptwriter from Dublin, who has written for TV serial dramas featured on BBC UK, RTE Ireland and A&E America. 

She has been writing adult fiction forover ten years, and also writes for children under the name Bannie McPartlin. 

She lives with her husband Donal and their four dogs.

To learn more about Waiting for the Miracle follow Anna 

Twitter at: @annamcpartlin 

Instagram: @mcpartlin.anna

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