I LOVE Jessica Thompson so when I was invited to be part of the blog tour for her latest novel I jumped at the chance. Jessica is an author who I think deserves to be topping the bestseller charts and in all honesty, she is one of the BEST voices out there in contemporary fiction. Every single one of her books has made me laugh, cry and walk away feeling like I’ve learnt something vitally important.
The Waiting Game was no exception. And, may we all just appreciate the beauty of this cover please!!
As part of the blog tour I have an extract from the novel for you and a few quick words from me about how much I loved the book!
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?
Nessa made her way over to the sink so she could get a glass of water. She sat down at the breakfast bar for a moment or two to catch her breath, while the mundane conversation around her flowed as easily as the wine. Will had left a small TV on. It was screwed flush against the wall. The sound was off and it was showing Sky News. Nessa was barely paying any attention to the scrolling words that ran across the bottom of the screen, struggling to concentrate amid all the different voices. I should turn the TV off, she thought, looking around for the control. No one’s watching it. But as she went to switch it off, Nessa saw the words scrolling across the screen on the news ticker, in thick, white lettering.
4 British soldiers killed in Afghanistan
Nessa felt the booze drain from her blood. She was thrown back into reality, far from the fuzzy joy she’d felt in the previous hours of the evening . . . Nessa turned on the sound and upped the volume. So much so that the people around her stopped what they were doing and stared, disbelief on their faces. A couple of them said things like ‘excuse me?’ and ‘do you mind?’, but Nessa ignored them. They sounded terribly far away. She concentrated on the screen. A woman in a navy blue suit with a brown glossy bob spoke solemnly to the camera.
‘Erm, there’s a TV in the sitting room,’ one of the women said impatiently, walking away from her group of friends now and tapping Nessa urgently on the shoulder, as if trying to wake her from a trance.
‘Please, just be quiet, please,’ Nessa said, irritably brushing the woman’s hand away, desperately trying to listen.
She set her glass down on the table; it clattered against the surface because her hands were shaking uncontrollably.
‘And news just in. Four British soldiers have been killed and three seriously injured in Afghanistan in the early hours of this evening. The first reports are saying that the men were hit by a bomb blast in Helmand Province. More as we get it . . .’ the anchorwoman said darkly, before shuffling some papers before her.
Helmand Province. That was where Jake was. He was leading patrols . . .
Nessa’s stomach flipped. She felt sick. She sat there quietly for a few moments, trying to digest the news. There was a relatively high chance it didn’t involve him. But, at the same time, it could. It might . . . He was so close to coming home. Nessa felt irrationally, overwhelmingly anxious. She’d had to deal with this before, many times, but at this moment in time she felt completely out of control.
‘Are you OK?’ the woman asked, walking closer to her. She smelt of an overpowering perfume, the scent bitter and almost offensive. Nessa turned around to look at the lady. Her eyes landed on a string of pearls around her neck and a pink pair of spectacles. The lady looked baffled and almost slightly frightened of her.
I adored this book. Thompson’s ability to create such tangible stories and characters is impressive. She deals with a whole host of sensitive issues in The Waiting Game with real heart and care and manages to make me laugh and cry at the same time. Thompson has this rare skill whereby it feels like the story she’s telling is one that comes right from her heart, that each character is a part of herself and their stories are ones Jessica was made to tell. I cannot recommend this book enough! You must must must add it to your TBR pile immediately.