Tuesday 8 March 2016

Reviewed: Waiting For You by Catherine Miller

Waiting For You will be published by Carina UK on March 10, 2016.

Thanks to the author and publisher for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Waiting for You is Catherine Miller’s heartfelt debut novel – a story of love, friendship and family and the secrets that weave their way in amongst them.

Fliss, Ben and Hollie appear to be the perfect little family. A happily married couple with a lovely inquisitive young daughter. But from the outside, nobody knows the pain Fliss is going through, the heartache and desperation at not being able to conceive their second child. Fliss emotionally questions why she is still not pregnant again – is it because of the pressure, barely ever seeing her busy working husband and then feeling the need for them to try for a baby at every opportunity; or is there more to it than that? When an online friend in a similar position introduces Fliss to a new programme that is being filmed on secondary infertility, it’s seen as an opportunity to really get to the bottom of their problems and a little reluctantly, Fliss agrees.

The author’s style of writing hooked me into the story straight away and it was always engaging, keeping me up throughout the night so I could finish it. At one point in the book, it is suggested that some people might find it selfish that Fliss is so wrapped up in wanting a second child when other couples can’t even have one. It was a thought-provoking notion but all I can say it that whilst reading the book, all I did was empathise with Fliss at her sadness and disappointment of not being pregnant for the second time. As the story develops, we see there is a lot more to her character than obsessing over becoming pregnant. She has her own interests, interior design being one of them, she has a beautiful bond and relationship with her daughter Hollie and in contrast, a really strained one with her husband Ben. There’s so much more to this book than one couple’s want for another baby.

This is a difficult book to review when trying to avoid giving too much away. In truth, a few chapters into Waiting for You and I thought it appeared quite predictable in the way things were going to unfold. However, there were a few surprises along the way which altered the course of the narrative and it turned out things weren’t as black and white as they’d seemed in the first place.

I thought the author created some interesting characters and showed real depth to their personalities. Fliss I liked throughout and really wanted things to work out well for her. Her husband Ben was a whole other story and definitely part of the reason I rooted for Fliss so much because he appeared so careless and ignorant, not showing any desire to spend less time at work and more time with his family. In his absence, his wife feels a little connection with the director of the secondary infertility show and I could see the appeal in Leon, especially as we were invited to learn more about his life and his own personal story.

Waiting for You possessed a real natural progression of its plot and through the characters and the development of the themes written about, nothing felt rushed or unrealistic. Both the dialogue between the characters and the emotions they felt were believable and I think that helped me identify with their story more despite not relating to their circumstances.

There were aspects to the book I thought more could have been made of. One was the secondary infertility programme. Once introduced, I thought this sounded like such an original idea for a book but I felt like it could have been brought into the story more to really make it stand out from other contemporary romance novels. I also thought there could have been a bit more depth to Fliss’ use of forums to vent about her woes as she befriends people who are initially strangers – again something that isn’t explored too much in this genre but is an interesting topic. I would also have liked to have seen a bit more of Fliss’ family outside her husband and daughter as they seemed to disappear a little bit further on in the narrative but really these are all small things to add to an already engaging and moving novel.

What I loved most about Waiting for You was its honesty and its emotion, not to mention the couple of surprising elements to the story that had me questioning all I’d read before. The author’s storytelling draws the reader deeply into the story and we’re allowed real insight into Fliss’ life – the feeling of being a mother and how it can appear that for her, one child is not enough. We follow Fliss closely through the course of the book and that emotional investment in her character was more than enough to have me fascinated and eager to see how things would work out come the very satisfying end.

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