The Waiting Game by Jessica Thompson
Publishing Date: 13th August 2015
Source: Received from publisher, thank you!
Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult)
‚The moon was speckled like a bird’s egg. It hung reliably in the blackness above Will Turnbull and Nessa Grier who sat side by side on a bench as the leaves fell around them, landing softly on the thick, wet grass. Their knees were just touching, hearts pounding hard.’
Nessa Bruce waits for her husband to come through the double doors. She’d waited for him to return home from Afghanistan for what felt like forever, and now the moment was finally here. But Jake isn’t… Jake Bruce hasn’t come home, and it looks like he never will.
Nessa’s life – and that of her daughter Poppy – is turned upside down in an instant. What has happened to the elusive man at the centre of their world? They hold onto the hope that he is still out there somewhere, alive… but as time passes by, Nessa is forced to look at her life, at the decisions she has made and the secrets she has kept. For maybe somewhere within it all lies the answer to the question she’s desperate to answer – where is the man she loves?
The Waiting Game is perfect for reading groups with lots of twists and turns, and big topics such as mental ilness, discussed in a fresh and sensitive way.
After reading Jessica Thompson’s debut novel „This is a Love Story” I know immediately that she’s going to be my auto – buy author, and it turned out to be truth. I am always impatiently waiting for her every new release, as I simply fell in love with her beautiful writing, very captivating story – telling, and the exceptional plots of her books. What I also can always be sure to get from Ms Thompson’s books, is the incredible gentleness in tackling all the issues she writes about in her novels – they are full of understanding and empathy – and it was the case with „The waiting Game” as well. I can’t praise this book enough, everything there was beautiful, and let’s not forget this gorgeous, sentimental and atmospheric cover!
Mostly Jessica Thompson’s stories are sad, really sad – about people loosing their closest ones, about dramas happening in their lives, and „The Waiting Games” is also sad, but please do not feel deceived – it is not a comedy of errors of course, not a rom – com, yet the book leaves you full of hope.
I personally am not too happy with the ending to this story – I just couldn’t believe it! You know, when reading Jessica’s stories, there is always this tension, this tickling sensation somewhere in your mind telling you that something is going to happen, but still you read and hope for a happy end. And also, being Will I think I’d not go for it („it” – not going to tell what „it” is, as don’t want to spoil you the reading!), I’d feel like the second best, but it’s only me, and it is my only one reservation – other than that, it was a perfect read for me. The plot was intense and the pace was right, and the author was not afraid to put her characters into difficult situations, to put them in front of controversial choices and to cope with life that is not a bed of roses, but full of problems and difficulties. The characters were relatable, they were not flawless, but this is how I like my characters to be. They were struggling, trying to find the best solutions, and their decisions were not always the best ones, but they were trying and hoping. Also, all the relationship are described just as they usually are, they are not too rosy, too optimistic, no, they are just as we know them – this between Nessa and her growing daughter, with her parents in law, with friends, it all sounds so realistic. Nessa is so strong, and I really kept my fingers crossed for her, and it hurt so much to see how she’s coping with her life, with all the problems, and having such a rebellious teenage daughter with this very sharp tongue, who was judging her mother so harsh, didn’t help. Poppy was too well – developed for her own good, and this bad language coming instantly from her didn’t suit such a young girl so much, but if it was the way she was coping and reacting, then let it be. All Nessa and Poppy’s emotions and frustrations were brilliantly captured, and you yourself either get angry together with them, or feel helpless, just like those two, and you can’t help but keep your fingers crossed for them. There was something special in Nessa, as she went through so much in her life, and still she didn’t lose her hope and I truly admired her.
Also the other characters are so down – to – earth and realistic. Nessa’s best friend, Will, was lovely, and the friendship between those two is through thick and thin. As for Jake, we don’t get to know him personally (or rather, almost don’t get to know him personally), and we hear about him from other characters, and of course there emerges a picture of a hero, of a brilliant father, husband and friend, but is it truly like this? And this sub – plot, it is in fact amazing how the author wrote it, it kept me on my toes and I couldn’t wait to see how it’s going to end.
Jessica Thompson has truly created characters that I rooted for and cared about, and kept my fingers crossed for them.
„The Waiting Game” was so a typical Jessica Thompson’s book, full of feelings and emotions, a rollercoaster ride filled with love, hope and friendship, with a cast of believable characters and situations. The author writes about some important issues, such as mental health, Alzheimer disease, growing up, PTSD, and it is amazing with how much care and understanding each of this is described, how much warm and sensitiveness there is in the writing. Jessica Thompson did it again, she has delivered beautiful, poignant and making you think story – she has just swept me away with her stunning novel. Highly recommended!
Nessa started searching the crowd for a sign of Jake. All she needed was a flash of his hair, that gorgeous sandy brown colour, those big brown eyes, strong, distinguished stature, those tanned muscular arms, and his hands – his beautiful strong hands. Lots of soldiers were filing into the hangar now; more women and their children running towards them. Little boys in t-shirts and shorts were lifted up in the air by the strong arms of their fathers and uncles. People wept, and laughed, and choked up with tears. A tsunami of emotion swept through the room.
Nessa and Poppy were standing up now, raised up on to their tiptoes every now and then, trying to see Jake. Only about half of the soldiers had come in, and the army officials were trying to usher reunited families to another area so there would be plenty of room in the hangar.
‘Ergh, like where the fuck is he? It’s so hot in here and there are loads of annoying kids around,’ Poppy said irritably.
‘I don’t know honey, I’m sure he will come round that corner any second now. We just have to be patient,’ Nessa said, putting her arm on Poppy’s shoulder to soothe her, trying to forget about the things she’d said in the car earlier.
Poppy wriggled away from her touch self-consciously. More men filed in. Some of them looked exhausted, but they were finally home. But where was Jake?
Nessa started to feel a little panicked. There were only a couple of soldiers walking in now . . . The majority of families and couples had now shuffled along to the next hangar. Things were suddenly quietening down.
After five minutes or so, there were only four families left in the tent.
An eerie calm had arrived. They could only hear two or three conversations in the hanger about fish and chips for tea, and what films were on later, who had won the X-Factor final, and the distant buzzing from the space next door. An older lady, who had clearly come to meet her son, looked over to them with concern and smiled a kind of sympathetic half-smirk before walking away, with her head turned in the other direction, like people do when there’s a car crash and they can’t bear to look anymore. Nessa felt her chest tighten. Panic started to grip at her throat.
Now come on . . . There has to be a simple explanation for this, she thought to herself. There was no way that Jake wasn’t close by. Someone would have come to see them by now if there had been any kind of problem. In fact they would have heard well before now. He would only be a moment or two . . . Just a moment or two . . .
The moments slipped by until there were no more families in the hangar. Everyone had left, floating away in their own swirls of love.
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