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Lindsey's Literary Leanings

Book Reviews - Contemporary Fiction / Biographies / Autobiographies

  • Lindsey Skelton-Smith

The Waiting Room (Author: JS Peck)

The Waiting Room (Book Cover)

Genre: Mystery Murder/Period/Contemporary Fiction

The Waiting Room By JS Peck

Alison sat in her doctor's waiting room, thumbing through a magazine whilst she awaited the results of her mammogram. Alongside her, sit two other women, doing the same &, she assumes awaiting the same. Every now & then they give each other a cursory glance & a small smile. After a while, Allison feels the silence becoming awkward, rests her magazine on the table in front of her & introduces herself to the two women.

By the time the physician comes out of his office to relieve them of their anxious wait, they feel like firm friends who have known each other longer than 30 minutes. Allison, Belle & Marianne decide to go for a drink just a few doors away, where they continue the discovery of their new friendship. In the weeks that follow, the women continue to meet several times in the same bar, sitting at the same table & become familiar customers. They even go to a music concert together. Then, one evening as they are sitting at their usual corner table, drinking their Cosmos & putting their worlds to rights, Allison's room mate Susan enters the pub & invites herself to join them, making all three ladies feel unsettled.

Being a model, Susan had always been used to attracting male attention & this occasion is no different. A man from the bar decides to join them with his sights clearly set on Susan. Knowing that she can afford to be picky when it comes to the opposite sex, Susan says she has to be elsewhere & saunters out of the establishment, leaving her male admirer red faced & very disgruntled indeed at this blunt rejection, & he promptly follows her. The ladies carry on their evening, but when Susan hasn't come home the next day - not that that was unusual - Allison starts to worry.....especially when she responds to a knock at her front door to be confronted with two police officers.

This e-book was sent to me as a courtesy copy directly from the author via Voracious Readers Only. I'd had this e-book in my in-box for about a month & had been looking forward to reading it. As ever, I hadn't read the synopsis so as not to influence my review, but had been drawn to the front cover: three women, a blonde brunette & a redhead sitting on clouds. The book had a fairly promising start & I actually quite enjoyed the first 20 chapters (in all there were 49. I believe the reason for this is because it is extremely wordy & could have been condensed into less).

The narrative, originally set in 1983, gives an insight into how racial equality was a major issue in America at this time. Bella, being black seems to be consumed with worry about this & how being friends with white women will be seen. A colleague had once told her in regards to consorting with white people to ''Steer clear!' Indeed the attention to racial issues felt like a running them for the entirety of the novel. I knew nothing of the racial divides in America at this time, so as eye opening & shocking as it was, I felt it dominated. Likewise with Marianne coming from the South & her suitors Aunt warding her off her association with a coloured woman was unfathomable to me. The moralistic, political overtones were a theme throught from the racial situation to Trump to the '#metoo' movement.

The story is set across 1983, 1986 & then jumps to 2017. Personally I felt that the author used her novel as a vehicle to highlight particular political issues of the time & whilst they absolutely have their place, I felt it detracted from the story it was actually meant to be, a heartwarming story of three friends who support each other through some very challenging times over a period of 40 years.

I liked the characters but failed to get invested in them with so much going on. I felt it would have been a lot more enjoyable & relaxing a read, had it been simpler & not quite so heavy/dense. Having said that though if you read the write about S.J Peck, at the end, her reason for choice of content becomes more evident. Sadly though, this wasn't for me.

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