What happened to the women we were supposed to become?
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?
Expectation is a beautifully written, poignant story about three women growing up together. We see them at various stages in their very different (in some ways) lives and revisit them later on, as they reach their mid-thirties to see how their lives have changed.
There’s Lissa, an actress struggling to find work still as she gets older, having missed what she feels was a key opportunity when she was younger.
There’s Hannah, living with her long-term partner Nathan, desperate to have a baby and struggling with IVF to try to conceive.
And then there’s Cate, married to Sam with a young baby, and struggling with exhaustion and post-natal depression.
The way the three friends interact is incredibly interesting to read about. We see them at different ages and so we get to follow their relationships with one another, and with other people, as they get older. They all feel like convincing characters and, most importantly, they all have flaws which make them feel human. Each made mistakes (in my opinion), failing to be ‘perfect’ humans, and for me that made the book much more interesting and powerful.
The pacing of this book is fairly slow, reflecting real life, but there’s plenty here to be intrigued by. The topics addressed in the book certainly aren’t unique, and I’ve read many books dealing with the same issues, but ultimately these are issues that many people deal with and often reading about normal lives makes for some of the most addictive stories.
Anna Hope writes brilliantly – very matter of fact but also using language perfectly to get the reader completely invested in these women’s lives. She makes reading about these characters a very seamless experience, and I really enjoyed Expectation – though there were some very sad moments in there, so prepare yourselves!