Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 15 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

This was just okay. It reminds me a lot of Sally Rooney's 'Normal People' and I really didn't get the hype with that one.

Lissa, Hannah and Cate have been friends for years and are now in their mid-thirties. Each chapter is told from the point of view of one of the three women with a few flashback chapters in between.

Lissa is an actress, still trying to make it and catch her big break. Hannah is in a long-term relationship with Nathan and they are struggling to conceive and Cate got married to Sam quite quickly and she has a baby; Tom. Each of them aren't without their problems and it honestly just felt a bit boring for me. It's as though the book trundles along and there's no real excitement. I don't think it helps that I didn't really warm to any of the characters.
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I received a copy of this book via net galley. It describes the highs and lows of female friendship through the eyes of Cate, Lissa and Hannah. I found that i couldn't really like any of the characters, they felt shallow, vapid and ultimately self-centred. That isn't to say that i hated it, it was an easy read, there were some parts that really drew me in bur for the most part it was a superficial narrative.
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Anna Hope’s novel ‘Expectation’ is about the lives of three close friends, Cate, Hannah and Lissa. The book moves back and forward through the years of their friendship from university days, through their twenties and thirties to now.  This is well-written and I found myself really invested in the story.  A great read.
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Expectation follows three women as they navigate adulthood, friendship, relationships, feminism, activism, academia, careers (or the lack of them), babies (or the lack of them) and a general sense that life has not necessarily turned out as they expected in their hopeful youth. 

Cate is dealing with new motherhood, the upending of her familiar world and a niggling suspicion that she’s married the wrong man. Hannah is the most professionally successful, the one who apparently has her life most together, but is unable to conceive a child with husband Nathan. And Lissa’s acting career hasn’t exactly set the world alight.

We meet the women at different stages in their lives and I found the darting about in time a little confusing, at least initially as I got used to the characters, but this did settle down after a while. 

I found all three women relatable in different ways, and also enjoyed the subsidiary characters. Lissa’s mother, Sarah, was someone I would have liked to spend more time with. Dea and Zoe, also.

Expectation is sharply observed and insightful. If there’s a criticism to be made, it’s that some of the endings - Cate’s and Hannah’s - feel a bit too neat. But overall I enjoyed it very much.

On another note, this is almost certainly the first novel I’ve ever read which makes reference to feminist philosopher and semiotician Julia Kristeva, so kudos for that, and indeed to anyone who can make head or tail of Kristeva’s work, because I certainly never could.
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I saw Expectation cropping up in bookish chat online so I was glad to get my hands on an ebook of the book from Netgalley. Anna Hope tells the lives of three women (Hannah, Cate and Lissa), through two timelines, one when they are in their twenties living together in a house, in London while the second timeline looks at them further in their lives where they are battling to get pregnant, having career woes, hating being trapped in a house, in the middle of a new town with a baby. Life hasn't turned out the way they were hoping and their friendship is stranded and disappointment. I really enjoyed this book but I didn't love it as I found the characters didn't appreciate what they had in their lives. Fans of Sally Rooney will love this book.
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Readable, but in all honesty, I found this book a little dull. It does reflect the atmosphere and setting of the era, but for me was lacking in something.
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Three women. Three lives...or more? Or fewer? They overlap, cross over and part again, in their complicated, interesting lives. 
Flawed, human, normal, this is a complicated, detailed story of the changes in women’s lives and relationships. 
I liked it, and I liked the way the ending was realistic and believable too - a good book!
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This book was so beautiful but so poignant and sad. It showed how messy and complicated life can be, and yet how joy and happiness can be found in the darkest times. It was unsettling because it was a perfect reflection of life.
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I didn't finish this book. I found it very slow-moving and the characters didn't grab hold of me. I'm sure it will work for other people but it just wasn't my thing I'm afraid.

The targeted market is obviously female and I am male but I was expecting this to rise above "chick-lit". Unfortunately, for me, it didn't.
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I love a book that deals with young women growing up and moving on and this is a prime example.

The only reason I haven’t scored it higher is that I just didn’t particularly like any of them! The only sympathetic character seems to be punished for being both attractive and childless, a strange dichotomy.
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This story of three friends living their lives from childhood through to middle age is a lovely read that offers perspective through time of the choices and consequences of women’s lives today. 
There are some beautifully written passages about female friendship and some moving ideas and themes that come across well. 

The themes explored are ambitious and touch many aspects of women’s lives, although they do focus on middle-class white women who maybe should count their blessings more than they seem able to. 

The three main characters are well-drawn but hard to sympathise with, they are concerned with their own issues and very self-obsessed, I had little patience with some of their dilemmas, though I understand they would be real enough as you lived through it. 

The character who most intrigued me and who I would have loved to hear more about was Lissa’s mother Sarah, who seemed to have much larger aspirations and concerns. Some of the later scenes with her and Lissa were the most moving in the book. The main characters in contrast seemed much shallower in their preoccupations. 

The book is a well-crafted look at modern womanhood and its challenges and pressures. The scale is at once large and also micro-focused, and the risk with this is that it looks patterned and too neat with its conclusions. But it’s a risk worth taking for the thoughts it provokes and the issues it puts on the table for discussion - well-worth reading. 

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I can’t recommend this highly enough. It was fantastically written and in parts a really raw look at close female friendship and love. Very original, I loved all the twists and turns. Several places left me completely shocked (in the best way possible) and desperate to find out what would happen next. 
Thanks NetGalley!
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Immersive read about three women living in London whose lives don't live up to expectations. What then? The characters jump off the page. I'd recommend to readers who might enjoy a grown-up version of Normal People.
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Wow! Beautifully written. It's like the author followed me and my friends in London. I can relate to the borth London brunches, the markets, the highs and lows of friendship, everything. 
An remarkable portrayal of girls becoming women and the intricacies of female friendships.

I've updated this review as the book keeps coming back to me. A brilliant read.


Thank you so much the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary electronic copy in return for an honest review.
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Hannah, Cate and Lissa come together at school and college, and share a house on the edge of a Hackney park.  Their futures seem limitless and exciting: the world is their oyster.

As time passes, their golden futures have tarnished as none has managed to have it all.  A career, a relationship, a family, a home, a better life seem elusive.  We follow their paths and their relationships, get to know them better and discover what transpires.

They are three different women with three different lives that are interwoven.  I was sad to leave them at the end and would love to return to them in the future.

Expectation is an intelligent and well written book, with plenty to think about.
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This is such a true to life story in so many ways, you can 100% empathise with the characters and where things went wrong. Really enjoyable book to read
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It was very readable, very moreish - I read it in just a day or two. But the female friendships did not seem all that deep and believable to me. It felt too slight, too superficial, somewhat underwhelming.
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The complicated relationships of three females is a realistic and engaging read. As they shift loyalties and grow into their new lives and relationships, you feel like you know these realistic characters.
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Triangles, trios, triangulation... Being at the 'top' or being part of the steady base... In terms of relationships, I find trios fascinating, which is why I couldn't go past Anna Hope's story about three friends - Hannah, Cate and Lissa.

Hannah and Cate met at high school. Hannah and Lissa met at university. Hannah has something Lissa wants (a husband). Cate has something Hannah wants (a baby).  Alliances shift between the three and loyalties are tested - who said that triangles are the 'most stable' of shapes?

The story moves between the 1990s when the women are living together on the edge of a common in East London, and ten years later when they are struggling with unfulfilled dreams and plans.

There are some terrific scenes when the women are younger - their lethargy regarding study; lazy Sundays and killer hangovers in their share house; impulsive love affairs. As the pressures of adulthood take over - mortgages, jobs and bills to pay, there's an appropriate shift in tone.

Their laissez-faire attitude toward feminism was particularly interesting and very much resonated -

The seminar is called Feminisms. It is not full. There is a general feeling, in the popular culture, that feminism has done its work. It is the era of the Spice Girls. Of the ladette. Lissa, the daughter of a feminist, has taken it for granted that she is a feminist too. A wholly unexamined position.

Hope explores the 'fumbling of the feminist baton' through the women's flailing careers, faltering relationships and attitudes toward motherhood. But while all the ingredients are there, the story falls short. Hope avoids picking apart the uglier emotions - envy, shame, guilt - the stuff that drives friendship stories, and instead, delivers safe plot turns.

The key message is about the importance of long friendships - 'You must keep hold of your friendships... The women. They're the only thing that will save you in the end'. Unfortunately, it's diluted as the story winds to a safe conclusion. Although, I was left wondering if there is such a thing as a 'conclusion' when a friendship has been badly damaged.

2.5/5 I think I was expecting something more ambitious.

I received my copy of Expectation from the publisher, Random House UK, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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I'm already a huge fan of Anna Hope, and this book did not disappoint. It is gripping, and follows the lives of three women: Hannah, Cate and Lissa.  A touching and sensitive novel, about female friendship, ambition and motherhood. I read it at one sitting and think it would make the perfect holiday read.
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