TITLE : Waiting To Begin
AUTHOR : Amanda Prowse
GENRE : Women’s Fiction, Chick Lit
FR RATING : ⭐⭐⭐⭐(4 Stars)
DATE OF PUBLISHING : June 8th 2021
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Waiting To Begin by Amanda prose is a women’s fiction. It tells the story of Bessie and her journey in dual timelines. One timeline is set in the present, and the other is set in 1984 featuring a young sixteen-year-old Bessie. At sixteen Bessie is full of life, excited for her future, and full of plans. But life had other plans and takes her down with events that derail her whole life. Her dreams are shattered, and she finds herself retreating because of the shame, and hopelessness the events brought forward. During the present, Bessie at 53 is struggling to find contentment or happiness in life. She feels run over and the hopelessness and despair lead her to make decisions that hurt her family. When clarity comes crashing and old secrets threaten to come out, Bessie has to face the inevitable and make a choice that will alter the course of her life. Will Bessie be able to find happiness? Or is she doomed for failure regardless of her efforts?
This is my first Amanda Prowse novel. I have only read her non-fiction, which she co-authored with her son. I enjoyed her writing style and how intuitive and empathetic she was towards trauma, depression, and mental health matters. So when I saw this title on Netgalley, I knew I couldn’t pass up the chance to read her fiction books. I have seen glowing praises for her as an author and her works, so I did go into it this story with high expectations. I am happy to say that this story didn’t disappoint and brings forward a young girl’s journey and her fight to survive in a cruel world and also how long-suppressed trauma and depression can come out in unhealthy and often detrimental ways.
Bessie as a character was fascinating. She is naive, hopeful, and with big dreams, just like so many young girls are. But she falters when faced with harsh realities and cruelties of bullying and teenage boys. Despite having a strong support system, she finds herself struggling to open up and share her horrible experiences. She is young and her hopefulness regarding love, relationships, and her future all shows us how focused she was on these. For her idea of it was so much more alluring than the things themselves and we get to see her losing her footing on her life and the struggle to succeed. Her confidence and her pride take a huge hit from which she never recovers and keeps to herself vital information and some life events that create more problems. As an adult, Bessie is regretful and resents the fact that she was unable to go after her dreams, and her refusal to acknowledge her creates a chasm between her and her family. In the hope to regain her confidence and reclaim her life, she makes mistakes that threaten her marriage and her relationship with her family.
I quite liked and appreciated the raw and up-close look at Bessie’s life. She is not a perfect character and often her negative self-talk, her judgemental behavior, and is negative towards not only her. She becomes the hollow shell of a woman as years pass on and with each passing year, the chasm between her and her husband widens. Miscommunication and the feeling of failure overshadow her greatest achievements and chip away at her peace. The impact of her long-suppressed suffering and trauma was not dealt with appropriately and rears its ugly head at the most inopportune time forcing her hand to finally confront it once and for all.
There are at times Bessie feels a little lost and her intentions and her dreams are not as clear. But with the progression of the story, we get to see that it becomes more apparent what she values most. It doesn’t happen early on and the realization occurs during the last half of the story and this might make people, not like her because she comes off as a shallow person. The transition could have been executed better, but it wasn’t something that took me away from the story.
The pacing is good and carries the story perfectly. I enjoyed Amanda’s writing and I hope I can get to her other books soon. The plot is pretty straightforward and it works perfectly for this story.
While the story and Bessie’s journey were captivating, I wish the situation of her relationship was resolved in a better way. There could have been a less rushed, full-on intimate conversation in a private setting to help solve the problems.
Overall, I enjoyed the story and if you love character-driven stories, you will enjoy it. People who enjoy women’s fiction, chick-lit, and family stories should check it out. I gave the book 4 stars and highly recommend checking out this book.
From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes a story that asks: what would you risk for a shot at happiness?
1984. Bessie is a confident sixteen-year-old girl with the world at her feet, dreaming of what life will bring and what she’ll bring to this life. Then everything comes crashing down. Her bright and trusting smile is lost, banished by shame—and a secret she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life.
2021. The last thirty-seven years have not been easy for Bess. At fifty-three she is visibly weary, and her marriage to Mario is in tatters. Watching her son in newlywed bliss—the hope, the trust, the joy—Bess knows it is time to face her own demons, and try to save her relationship. But she’ll have to throw off the burden of shame if she is to honour that sixteen-year-old girl whose dreams lie frozen in time.
Can Bess face her past, finally come clean to Mario, and claim the love she has longed to fully experience all these years?
Synopsis Source : Goodreads