Expectation by Anna Hope


I last featured Anna Hope when The Ballroom was one of my books of the year in 2016. You can find out more about that here. I also have my review of The Ballroom here.

Consequently, I couldn’t resist breaking my self-imposed Netgalley ban to request Expectation and I was thrilled when my request was granted. I’d like to thank the publishers for allowing me to read it.

Published by Penguin imprint Doubleday on 11th July 2019, Expectation is available for purchase through these links.



Hannah, Cate and Lissa are young, vibrant and inseparable. Living on the edge of a common in East London, their shared world is ablaze with art and activism, romance and revelry – and the promise of everything to come. They are electric. They are the best of friends.

Ten years on, they are not where they hoped to be. Amidst flailing careers and faltering marriages, each hungers for what the others have. And each wrestles with the same question: what does it take to lead a meaningful life?

The most razor-sharp and heartbreaking novel of the year, Expectation is a novel about finding your way: as a mother, a daughter, a wife, a rebel. 

My Review of Expectation

Three women, Hannah, Cate and Lissa, discover life doesn’t always provide what you expect.

Having adored The Ballroom by Anna Hope I was expecting fabulous writing and an emotional read, but this time the author has exceeded everything I wanted to produce a soaring, searing, portrait of love, loss, betrayal and friendship in Expectation. Reading Expectation has felt like a physical process. My heart feels bruised and my chest tight because every word and every moment in this superb book is imbued with depth and intensity. It is, quite simply, wonderful. The way Anna Hope writes, with such exquisite attention to detail, is an absolute joy to read. So often I was reminded of Thomas Hardy’s ability to create nature in her descriptions.

It’s going to be almost impossible to convey the way I feel about Expectation. I thought the plot was fabulous. I loved the peeling back of layers of time and personality so that I felt I was part of the narrative, coming to an understanding about life at much the same time as the characters. That said, the more I reflect on the book after finishing it, the more it seems to offer. I will be thinking about Expectation for a very long time.

I loved and hated each of the three women in turn, vascillating between the two, much as they do themselves. Hannah, Cate and Lissa are vibrant, alive and flawed. Their relationships with one another, their parents and their lovers are beautifully presented by Anna Hope, but more important is the way in which she explores their relationships with themselves. Expectation is a superb observation of how we often know ourselves even less than we know others so that it gave me so much more than perfect entertainment as I read. Expectation made me examine who I am, what I want and how others might be affected by me. It sounds like hyperbole, but I truly think reading Expectation is a life altering experience. Somehow I feel fractured by reading Expectation, but then repaired to be greater than I was before. It has been an almost physical experience because of the profound emotions so skilfully conveyed. The potency of Anna Hope’s portrayal of humanity is astounding.

In case you hadn’t realised, I absolutely adored Expectation. It is, without doubt, one of my books of the year. Anna Hope has an outstanding talent to carry the reader along with her narrative and characters until they are completely entranced. I was mesmerised.

About Anna Hope


Anna Hope studied at Oxford University and RADA. She is the acclaimed author of Wake and The Ballroom. Her contemporary fiction debut, Expectation, explores themes of love, lust, motherhood, and feminism, while asking the greater question of what defines a generation. She lives in Sussex with her husband and young daughter.

You can follow Anna Hope on Twitter @Anna_Hope and visit her website for more information.

13 thoughts on “Expectation by Anna Hope

  1. Wow, that’s high praise indeed, I really enjoyed The Ballroom too, in particular because of her own family connection to it and the research behind it, so I have been wondering about whether to read this and waiting for the reviews to see how it’s being received. Another book of the year for you Linda!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve read some cracking books this year. I score out of 100 and anything getting 95% or more I’m calling a book of the year! This is very different to The Ballroom but equally captivating and beautifully written. I think you’d appreciate it Claire.

    Liked by 1 person

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