Tuesday 8 June 2021

Book Review: Waiting to Begin by Amanda Prowse

Waiting to Begin by Amanda Prowse book cover

AD* | 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?

Is what you have ever really enough? Waiting to Begin is an emotional look back on what could have been for one woman.

This is a dual timeline novel that alternates between 1984 and 2021. At both points in time, Bess, the main character, is at a crossroads in her life. In 1984, she makes a decision that will haunt her for the rest of her life. In 2021, she is confronted with the past once again. Bess must be courageous if she wants to finally let go of the burden she has carried for decades. 

Moving and reflective, Waiting to Begin takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. It hooks you in from the start and before you realise it, you will be turning the last page! It's an immersive yet easy read - ideal if you want a book to read in a single sitting.

This is undoubtedly a character-driven story, and the writing is excellent. Each of the characters is well-thought-out and all-too-relatable. It's easy to imagine yourself as a fly on the wall amongst the family! From Bessie and Michelle's close bond to Bess' parents' unquestioning love for their daughter, so many different emotions and relationships are explored in the pages of this book.

Sadly, I felt that Bess herself was the least likeable character in the story. Bessie is naive; Bess is self-centred and more than a little selfish. It can be hard to relate to her and I struggled to find a rhythm with her character.

Despite this, Waiting to Begin is a great read - emotional and heart-warming in equal measure!

Rating: 3 stars

Waiting to Begin is available to buy now. 

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below! 

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