In this sharply observed novel set in and around London, three college friends, now in their thirties, must come to terms with the gap between the lives they imagined for themselves and reality in the face of marriage, fertility struggles, and loss.
In her first year of motherhood after an unplanned pregnancy, Cate is constantly exhausted, spiraling into self-doubt and postpartum anxiety. Her husband Sam seems oblivious, but maybe she’d prefer he remain in the dark. How can she admit the unthinkable—that she misses her freedom?
In contrast, Hannah continues to endure round after round of unsuccessful IVF treatments. The process is taking its toll on her physically and emotionally—and, she worries, creating distance between her and her husband Nathan. She is godmother to Cate’s son, but every time they get together, it’s a trigger.
Beautiful and unattached, Lissa is re-evaluating what it means to be an actress in her thirties. While she fiercely resists convention, she’s also lonely. A chance encounter in the British Library with Nathan has her wondering if she missed her best chance at love when she introduced him to Hannah.
As each woman longs for what the others seemingly possess, will their bonds of friendship sustain them in this liminal phase of their lives—or will their envy and desire tear them apart?
About the Author
Anna Hope studied English at Oxford, attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and then received an MA in creative writing at Birkbeck, University of London. Her first novel, Wake, was a finalist for the National Book Awards (UK) and the Historical Writers’ Association’s Debut Crown Award. She lives in London, UK.
“Expectation by Anna Hope brings to vivid life that particular tension one feels just before middle age, when it begins to become clear that life won’t end up looking exactly the way we thought it would. The female friendships here are ones we’ll all recognize, and in seeing myself in each of these women – their good moments and their bad - I felt implicated in their stories, and in this book. It’s an outstanding novel.” — Mary Beth Keane, New York Times bestselling author of Ask Again, Yes
“Tender and smart, beautiful and melancholy, Expectation examines the entwined lives of three women who “are no longer young but . . . do not feel old.” These friends admire, envy, and betray each other, and experience joy and loss together. I ached for them in the best way.” — Polly Rosenwaike, author of Look How Happy I’m Making You
"Hope breaks the narrative into succinct, startlingly focused chapters that cut between the characters’ experiences in their youth with tensions in adulthood, tracing a jagged triangle around their lives as they face adultery, fierce competition, and lingering guilt over not being there for each other in the past. The book’s best moments emerge in the women’s frank discussions about their sex lives and sexuality, and their anxious grappling with the future. Hope has a bead on what her readers want—and she delivers." — Publishers Weekly
“Devastatingly perceptive and emotionally wise.” — The Guardian
“A Sally Rooney-esque, evocative examination of the nature of female friendship” — i Magazine
“A generation-defining book, honest and relatable on motherhood, ambition and sex. Like Normal People with female friendship under the microscope.” — Erin Kelly, Sunday Times Bestselling novelist
“Hope’s writing is sublime and her characters so well fleshed out they will feel like friends at the end.” — Good Housekeeping, UK
“Perceptive, fresh and full of heart, this is the novel about female friendship that absolutely encapsulates what it is to be a young woman today.” — Grazia Magazine
“‘Expectation has defied all my expectations and completely redefined the friendship novel.” — Red online