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The Waiting Game By Jessica Thompson – Review And Book Review

The Waiting Game’The Waiting Game’ is the latest book by Jessica Thompson.

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?

Jessica has firmly become one of my favourite authors. I immediately fell in love with her writing when she released her debut ‘This Is A Love Story’ a frank and honest account of a relationship between a boy and a girl and how blurred the lines are between friendship and love. Her books are from the heart tales about current affairs, that strike a chord and usually leave the reader with a lump in their throat and ’The Waiting Game’ is no different.

In this story, we meet Nessa Bruce, a quiet and sweet young woman who has committed her life to her husband and teenage daughter. Given up on her dream of becoming a midwife, she has let Jake, her husband follow his dreams of becoming a solider and waits for his term to complete from Afghanistan so he can return and make their small family complete. Whilst she waits for him, she has to put with her moody and ungrateful daughter Poppy, who openly looks down on her mother and worry about finances, as she struggles with her librarian job, she tries to provide for her high maintenance daughter, but it’s never good enough for the stroppy teenager. But one day, she Nessa hears the news that she has always feared, that Jake has been involved in an explosion fortunately he has survived the blast but is finding it hard to cope. When he returns home, Nessa is fully committed to looking after him but she never gets the chance because Jake disappears and Nessa has to prepare herself for the eventuality that he may never return.

I loved Nessa, she was a sweet and strong woman who had an accepting and kind nature, always putting others first and herself last. She had a difficult childhood as she and her younger sister were sent to numerous foster homes and she never fully recovered from a particular incident. Her daughter, Poppy was very volatile towards her mother and this sometimes made for unsettling reading as she didn’t seem to realise just how much Nessa did for her. Another interesting addition to the story was Will, who was Nessa’s childhood best friend and has always been there for her. At some point in both of lives they were in love with each other, but time was never on their side and he provides Nessa with not emotional but financial support during this difficult time, with his hipster way of life, he injects some lightheartedness into this poignant tale.

The story is written solely through the narrative of Nessa and flashes back and forth to various key moments in her life, from a teenage girl falling in love to marrying the love of her life. The story is a heartbreaking tale from the beginning and we see both Nessa and Poppy experience many moments of vulnerability and sadness as they deal with the fact that Jake has left them. There are many tender and bittersweet scenes that make for sad reading as they deal with their grief. Written from the heart, ‘The Waiting Game’ is a touching and sensitively written story that focuses on many issues such a dementia, grief and domestic abuse and shows how profoundly and differently it can effect people and how they deal with the uncertainty in life.

Now after reading my review of ‘The Waiting Game’ sit back and enjoy a letter that Nessa had written for her first love Will, but never had the courage to send.

Letter from Nessa to Will (never sent)


Dear Will,

I know we’ve been friends for a long time, ever since we were sat together in science class, tasked with making a basic circuit in Year 7.

I watched you as you fiddled around nervously with the tiny light bulb and the wires, barely able to speak to me. Your fingers trembled, your nails had been ferociously chewed. You were scared of girls in a primal way, like a mouse faced with a cat and no way of escaping.

I thought you were a bit funny back then, if I’m honest.

You smelt like mothballs, and you were horribly uncool. Your choice of words was pretentious, and you babbled on about things the rest of us didn’t understand. You were so vulnerable really, and so I just wanted to look after you. I guess I took you on as a project.

But then you changed so much Will, and so suddenly too.

Within just a few years you went from this spindly, knock-kneed Year 7 with a mouth full of brace, who would regularly fall over his own satchel while running for the bus, to this incredibly handsome lad in Year 10, with big broad shoulders and a smile to match. I mean look at you, Will… Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror, and realise it, realise how gorgeous you are?

I noticed the change. Not just in you either, but in the way the others at school responded to you. Boys started high fiving you, and picking you for their teams in P.E. Girls gazed in your direction across the classroom, unable to concentrate on Mr Smith’s never-ending lectures on string theory and neutrinos.

You didn’t notice, because you’re so lovely and humble. You don’t have an arrogant bone in your body, Will.

Instead of throwing things at your head and creating cruel rhymes about you, the girls now flutter their eyelashes, pathetically. They speak to you coyly behind locker doors, giggling at everything you say, even if it’s not that funny.

Sometimes I feel like I don’t matter anymore, like you hardly notice me and I’ve melted into the background. Why would I stand out? I’m not like them.

You get invited to all the cool stuff now, and you bring me most of the time, which is nice. But sometimes I wonder if you don’t see me as a bit of a little sister type, hanging around and tagging along? Perhaps you feel like you should, because I was your only friend back then.

I can’t believe how lovely you are Will, and you just keep getting better.

At 15, I’ve never loved someone before, but I’m sure I’m falling in love with you… When you call out my name my heart flutters, whenever you’re near me I feel like I could fly… I think of you all the time, hoping that one day you might pay me some real attention, like you do those pretty girls at school.

I don’t know how to tell you, or even when to tell you. I don’t know if I will ever pluck up the courage to give you this letter… Do you know that I’m falling for you Will? Is it obvious on my face, and the way I speak to you?

Are you surprised, and will you laugh at me, or do you feel the same?


You can buy The Waiting Game from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

If you enjoyed today’s stop on the tour, then check out the poster below and follow the tour.

The Waiting Game Book Tour

Jessica Thompson Reveals New Book – The Waiting Game

The Waiting GameJessica Thompson is back with her fourth book this summer called ‘The Waiting Game’

The story of ‘The Waiting Game’ is –

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?

You can pre-order The Waiting Game from Amazon and will be available to buy from good book shops from 13th August 2015.

Paper Swans By Jessica Thompson

'Paper Swans‘Paper Swans’ is Jessica Thompson’s latest book.

Ben Lawrence seems to have it all – the hot job, the flashy car, the luxurious apartment. But one tragic day in his past mars his future. Since the events of that day he hasn’t truly got close to anyone. He made a promise that love was the price he would pay for his mistakes. When Effy Jones – a bright, ambitious charity founder – walks into the PR firm where Ben works, neither realise that their lives are about to be turned upside down.

‘Paper Swans’ see the return of Jessica Thompson with her signature style of writing, a story told by both the female and male leads, this time it was case of Ben and Effy, an unlikely pair who have a strong attraction towards each other but just like Jessica’s previous books, they both have issues that makes this new relationship unable to properly work.

Ben, is a hard working PR guru, one of the best in the business, his grumpy boss thinks he’s great and his colleagues admire him. Rich, handsome and with no shortage of female companions, he lives the life of a jack the lad, never committing and always shying away from relationships. To the outside world, it looks like he has no desire to settle down but behind closed doors, he harbours a deep secret which makes him stay away from love. Trying to fight against the memories of his past, he attends a therapist but nothing seems to help until he meets Effy and suddenly love seems like an option.

Effy is completely different to Ben, having successfully set up her own charity called Dafina Kampala, for poverty stricken children in Uganda, she is a selfless person with a huge heart. She makes Ben feel like a better person, as he is given the chance to work alongside with her charity and she makes him appreciate the smaller things in life. Although, Ben feels close to Effy, he can’t tell her about his past and lives in fear that she will find out the truth about him. Loved up and happy, the couple enjoy a new relationship until Effy goes out to Uganda to work on her charity but not before she finds that Ben is working with a company that caused a major oil disaster. Disappointed and hurt that he kept such big news from her, she leaves Uganda heartbroken and ignoring all contact with him.

Like her other books, ‘Paper Swans’ has a sweetly illustrated cover of paper swans in yellow and silver foil. Another addition to the story is that each chapter’s title is a line within a chapter, I thought this was particularly quirky and made me look out for the lines.

I’ve read all of Jessica’s books and have enjoyed them immensely, they are always poignant stories of love and heartbreak, told in dual narratives with compelling characters and ‘Paper Swans’ was just that.

Both Ben and Effy are interesting characters with Effy being a more stronger person of the two. After witnessing poverty and sickness in the world, she wants to make a change whereas Ben is a whiz kid in public relations but this is probably what makes the two of them such an interesting couple with opposites attract. Effy is quite forward and is quick to tell what she thinks, which often catches Ben off guard.

We know Ben has suffered some great tragedy in his life and there are mentions of this from the very start but once again in Jessica’s signature style of writing, there are little mentions of memories but nothing is revealed until the end.

This book is another wonderful story from one of my favourite authors, it’s a sweetly written tale about love but also focuses on the subjects of mental health and poverty and handles both topics beautifully. A highly recommended and heartwarming book.

You can buy Paper Swans from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Three Little Words by Jessica Thompson

Three Little Words book cover‘Three Little Words’ is Jessica Thompson’s second book.

Bryony, Rachel and Sara are three women unknown to each other, but one evening’s dramatic turn of events will change all of their lives forever.

Rachel is a ballerina on the verge of stardom, Bryony is suffering a heartbreaking loss and Sara makes an unhappy discovery that makes her question everything she once knew.

When your world shatters at your feet, could three little words be enough to put it all back together.

After the success of her debut book, ‘This Is A Love Story’, Jessica Thompson has returned with her follow up book ‘Three Little Words’ and if you are expecting another story of love and romance then you are in for a surprise, as she taken a different path with her writing. ‘Three Little Words’ is much darker and focuses around the subject of murder, love and betrayal.

The story is based around one day, where three women’s lives will drastically change. It tells the story of Bryony, Sara and Rachel and the circumstances that follow on after that fateful day.

Set against the background of bustling London and beautifully written, ‘Three Little Words’ reflects on forgiveness and no matter how hard you try, it can be sometimes be difficult to forget and forgive.

All three women were inspirational characters, all strong minded and wilful, but it has to be said that Bryony was my favourite of the cast. She was sweet and even in her vulnerable state still came across as strong woman, as she struggled to deal with the cruel hand that she had been dealt. Caught between trying to forgive and not letting go of the past, her story was a beautiful and bittersweet tale as she found strength with time being a healer and she began to blossom as a person.

Heartbreaking from the start, ‘Three Little Words’ is an emotional book about forgiveness and discovering your way in life. A captivating read and a bold move from the young author, who writes dark tales wonderfully. ‘Three Little Words’ is definately a worthy read!

You can buy Three Little Words on Amazon and will be available in paperback from 15th August 2013.

Jessica Thompson

Jessica ThompsonJessica Thompson is a multimedia journalist and author living in West London. Born in Yorkshire in the late eighties, she then lived in France and Kent, before moving to the big city she loves so much. She wrote her first novel in her early teens and stored it on a floppy disc. Her passion for writing continued and she eventually trained to become a reporter with the National Council for the Training of Journalists. “This is a Love Story” is her debut novel and its cover is the prettiest cover of 2012 (well, that’s my opinion).

  1. Your first book “This is a Love Story” tells the story of Nick and Sienna who fall in love with each other but instead of starting a relationship they become best friends. What inspired you to write this type of story?
    I think this kind of situation happens quite regularly and it’s something a lot of people can relate to. From my own observations I have been fascinated by situations like this, and I think there is something really bittersweet about it which lends itself beautifully to romantic fiction. They say the best relationships can come from friendship, but when do you reach the point where you have been friends for too long and fear spoiling that? It’s a very fine balance and the whole story called out to me.
  2. To the readers of the website, that may not be familiar with you or your writing. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing
    I am 24, and live in London. I lived in Kent during my teens. I have always been a bit obsessed with writing, probably without even knowing it. When I was very young my mum always took me to the library and I took part in summer reading schemes. My dad was great because he really encouraged me to write and study various subjects and ideas outside school. At the time I thought it was a bit of a drag, but I appreciate it so much now! I knew I wanted to write for my career from a very young age, and decided to train as a journalist while writing creatively in my own spare time. I went travelling in my late teens and felt so inspired to write. I have reams of things I put together during this time.
  3. What was the first book you ever read?
    That’s a tricky question actually! I am struggling to remember, but I was in love with Beatrix Potter books. That’s one of my earliest reading memories as a child. I also adored “The Chronicles of Narnia”.
  4. If “This is a Love Story” was to be adapted for screen, who do you imagine would play the roles of Nick and Sienna?
    I would be over the moon if that happened! I guess in a dream world I would go for someone like Emily Blunt or Zooey Deschanel for Sienna. When I imagine Nick, I see a Jake Gyllenhaal type in my mind.
  5. Out of the many books that you have read over the years, which one would you have liked to have said “I wrote that”?
    It was a pretty recent read. Caitlin Moran’s “How to be a Woman” is painfully funny. I absolutely adore it and I love how truthful and honest it is. Also, “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes, that is an incredibly moving story.
  6. What authors do you admire?
    I love Jojo Moyes, her writing is incredible and I cannot put her books down. I think Lionel Shriver’s writing in “We Need to Talk About Kevin” was stunning. That book shocked me to the core, and it wasn’t necessarily a pleasant feeling, but the point was that her writing got to me. Some of the descriptions were so simple, but deeply effective. Of course I am a huge fan of David Nicholls, particularly “One Day”, which was a massive inspiration for me. I love Stieg Larsson too.
  7. Did you read any writers guidebooks during your career? Are there any that you would recommend?
    (I didn’t. Sorry I can’t help with this one)
  8. Was there ever a book that you read, that didn’t live up to the hype that surrounded it and left you disappointed?
    There is nothing that really sticks out in my mind as being disappointing… I guess I have probably struggled to get into a couple of books because they didn’t quite reach me. That can happen with anyone’s work though, it is such a subjective thing in the way that one person will love a song, and another will hate it.
  9. If you were ever stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    I have a few books that I am desperate to read, but time is a major issue at the moment. I want to finish the “Millennium Trilogy” by Larsson. “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett is sitting on my Kindle calling out to me, and I am really keen to read some more Lionel Shriver.
  10. Here on the Handwritten Girl website, I would like to be able to offer potential writers like myself advice. Are there any areas you would suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Read as much as you can, and make sure you develop your own writing voice in the midst of it all.
    I have been so inspired by other books, and I look back on my years of reading as a child and I’m just so glad my parents encouraged me in that way.
    Be true to your own writing style, you can’t be someone else.
    I love writing poems and short stories too, variety and challenges allow you to get to know more about your own writing. Writing clubs and groups are great. I’ve never been a member myself, but I know people who have and they have got so much encouragement and inspiration from the experience.
  11. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
  12. And finally Jessica, do you have any new projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the blog?
    I do! I have finished my second book and I am currently in the editing process. I am really enjoying it, and cannot wait to share it with everyone.

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