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Sunday, 13 September 2015

Book Review: "The Waiting Game" by Jessica Thompson

Nessa Bruce and her teenage daughter Poppy aren't getting on too well. With her husband away in the armed forces, Nessa feels unable to connect with her daughter. Having made up her mind to ask Jake to quit the army when he's next home on leave, their lives are turned upside down by a tragic turn of events in Afghanistan. While Jake is physically ok, the responsibility he carries for the deaths of his friends is too much to face up to, and Nessa and Poppy are left needing to find a way to survive without him.

I enjoyed reading this novel, partly because the majority of events are set in Beckenham, where I now live. There is definitely a unique pleasure to be gained from knowing the actual routes the characters are walking along. There is depth and nuance to Nessa's own story; growing up in care, the secrets she's kept from her sister, and the deep love she feels for Jake. Thompson shows an ability to create a fully formed character that the reader can empathise with. 

The author approaches difficult themes of PTSD, grief and trauma with sensitivity, but I couldn't help but feel these serious themes were somewhat undermined by the contrived romance of the story. In fact, it felt a little like the book was attempting to fit a market (chick lit), when in fact, it would have been better if the weighty issues addressed were allowed to stand alone. Overall, this is a book which didn't quite live up to its blurb. 

Buy the book: The Waiting Game

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