Babies in waiting by Rosie Fiore
When I was pregnant I read loads of non-fiction books on all the ins and outs of pregnancy but I also wanted to settle down with a cup of tea and read something fictional yet still centred around big pregnant bellies. When I took to scouring Amazon it didn't take me long to stumble across Babies in waiting by Rosie Fiore and after reading some very positive reviews I decided to give it a go, and I was pleasantly surprised as it turned out to be a book that I just couldn't put down.
--- Book synopsis ---
Meet Louise, 38, Toni, 26 and Gemma, 18. They are all expecting babies in September. One of them conceived in a hurry because she was running out of time. One of them fell pregnant to keep a man and one got knocked up by mistake after a one-night-stand. But none of them realized what they would come up against as they face nine long months of pregnancy, and the reactions of friends, family and colleagues. Meeting through an online forum, they form an unlikely but powerful bond. When it seems that all they have is each other, their lives will be thrown into turmoil, as a blast from the past threatens to destroy everything.
--- Review ---
On starting the book I found that Babies in waiting wasn't a story that instantly had me hooked, it took me a little while to warm up the very different characters, and differing point of views. All the chapters are divided up to focus on the different characters view points and each section of the book deals with a separate stage of pregnancy and then beyond. Each of the three main characters - Louise, Toni and Gemma are initially very different, but it doesn't take long for all of their lives to intermingle and for them to form some very strong bonds.
Personally, I very much enjoyed the writing and layout of the story, even despite not always being a fan of different points of view, usually I tend to like a character and want to stick with them, but in this case I loved them all. Rosie Fiore did a really good job at balancing out all three of the stories being told, as well as progressing the characters along a nine month journey. From reading the story the emotions, the feelings, and the overwhelming life changes that some of the characters where experience rang true and even after having finished the book for a while now I still remember the characters.
Throughout the book there was a lot of small sub plots that I really liked, such as Toni's battle with postnatal depression and having a lack of confidence in her body after pregnancy. Personally, I loved my big pregnant belly but my body image feelings after birth took me a little by surprise and it was nice reading something that reflected what a lot of women like myself feel. I found that pregnancy and birth are amazing but overwhelming and a situation where you have very little to no control over anything, which Rosie Fiore managed to write about and portray in her character's lives very well. A new baby can change your world, your relationships, your career paths and Babies in waiting didn't shy away from showing just how big an impact a newborn, hormones, family and all the stress that goes along with everything can have on your life.
I think what I enjoyed most about Babies in Waiting was the amount of sub plots, complicated relationships and growing friendships - whether they grew closer or apart. Rosie Fiore managed to cram a whole range of emotions and nuances about three lives forever changed by the people they met along the way of an amazing, life changing nine month adventure. I would love to have a proper discussion about everything that went on in the book but I just don't want to ruin it for anyone, suffice it to say I never found a dull moment.
Babies in waiting by Rosie Fiore definitely gets the full five out of five stars from me, I absolutely loved it. It is one of those rare books that manages to be both a light hearted read but also deal with some serious issues, but mean while never forgetting that it is meant to be an entertaining story. Rosie Fiore will be an author I look for in the future and I believe her second book has not long been released - Wonder Women and I for one will definitely be adding it to my to-be-read pile.
To sum, Babies in waiting is a debut novel that I would happily recommend to anyone who likes an entertaining story about pregnancy, birth, friends and the importance of having a strong support structure in place. Although I might have felt more connected to the characters because they were all at a similar stage in their life to me I still believe that Babies in waiting would be a great read to anyone pregnant, or finding their feet as a first time mum or not.
Genre - Chick lit, contemporary (and all about pregnancy, babies and relationships)
Published by Quercus (March 2012)
Paperback - 456 pages (£6.99)
Three women, three different situations, ages spanning three decades. Gemma, Toni and Louise don't have masses in common, but come into each other's lives when they all fall pregnant around the same time. With partners, parents, siblings and other friends not quite getting all that's going on in their heads...and in their tummies...the women quickly form a tight support network in which all their differences cease to matter.
Told with each chapter alternating a point of view, this is an easy to read, entertaining book that makes good use of the women's individual stories to keep you interested. Posh girl Gemma is to be a teen mum, much to her parents' horror, while a few years older, Toni seems happily settled with hubby James but is still scared she's rushed into the baby making game. And then there's Louise, a single career woman who made a bad decision on a work do and now seems to be paying for it. So yes three completely different characters but, thanks to some well thought out weaving, three separate and yet related heroines. It's a risky strategy but it definitely pays off here and you get three for the price of one when it comes to juicy stories.
This is chick lit as its best, slickly written and well edited. The characters may have their own traits and may sometimes clash with each other, but as a reader I never found any of them either irritating or two dimensional. There's no getting away from the fact that this is a book all about bumps and babies and breast feeding (and break ups) but it's done in a very un-cliquey way so that even if you're not a breeder you can relate (and keep up with the jargon). Though the overriding theme of the book is pregnancy, essentially it's a story about relationships - with friends and family.
I very much enjoyed the story, both the enticing language and the way the individual tales developed. It was easy to keep the women separate which isn't always the case, but I didn't end up with a favourite out of the three of them as each had their appealing traits. It's not a graphic book for the most part - some of the birth scenes paint, well, a messy picture but they're brief and in keeping with the story. Ditto the conceptions, featuring the sort of level of detail you might discuss with your friends, but nothing x-rated. It didn't make me broody...but it did make me laugh. I found it refreshingly realistic, from the way Adam popped in only briefly - no matter how much you were rooting for him to stay - to the way Brian and Simon approached the same situation with differing levels of enthusiasm.
I find it hard to fault this book as I found it well paced, a good length, and engaging throughout. To pick one slight thing, I'd say the blurb was misleading. The online forum element seemed to be overplayed, and the line One of the women is keeping a secret that will test their friendship proved rather anti-climactic when you realise that for you, the reader, it's never been a secret or even that important or relevant.
That aside, I'd highly recommend this one for fans of the Sophie Kinsella school of chick-lit. It's not fine literature but it's not drivel either, and it's a perfect holiday book whether you plan to read it all in one go or dip in and out in-between dips in the pool. Or if you've left things to the last minute, you could always order the Kindle version as a Mother's Day gift.
A brilliant book with wide appeal, regardless of whether, in their situation, you'd want the stick to show one or two lines when you peed on it.
This review first appeared on www.thebookbag.co.uk
March 2012 sees it on Amazon for under a fiver, either paperback or Kindle
Meet Louise, 38, Toni, 26 and Gemma, 18. They are all expecting babies in September. One of them conceived in a hurry because she was running out of time. One of them fell pregnant to keep a man and one got knocked up by mistake after a one-night-stand. But none of them realized what they would come up against as they face nine long months of pregnancy, and the reactions of friends, family and colleagues. Meeting through an online forum, they form an unlikely but powerful bond. When it seems that all they have is each other, their lives will be thrown into turmoil, as a blast from the past threatens to destroy everything. Babies in Waiting is a heart-warming novel about motherhood, friendship and finding love at the most surprising time in your life. It is also very funny, sexy and utterly compelling.
I love books about motherhood and babies. I have done even before I had a child myself, but now I'm a mum, I love to read these books to see how well researched and written they are, but also to relate to the stories that the writers tell about these women too. This isn't Rosie Fiore's debut novel but I haven't read her previous novel so I was new to her writing. I loved the idea of this book from the minute I spotted it on Amazon, so was really pleased to receive a review copy from the publishers, and got stuck in. I can't say I am hugely keen on the cover, it's a little bland but I suppose it relates quite well what is in the book, and has a fairly serious look to it as well. It was so good that I read it in just over a day because I didn't want to put it down and was totally absorbed by this novel, and here's why!
The book tells the tale of 3 pregnant women. Firstly, there is Louise, the oldest of the women who ends up getting pregnant after a one night stand with someone at work. She decides to keep the baby, and move to London to live near her brother and sister. Only Lou's pregnancy proves to be a sore point for Lou's sister Rachel who can't seem to have children herself, and opens up a rift between the pair. Then there's Toni, who is told by her doctors she'd better hurry up and have a baby with hubby James after finding out she has fertility problems, and suddenly finds out after a short while of trying that they're pregnant. The sudden pregnancy proves difficult for the couple, can they make it through? Finally, there's teenager Gemma, who wants to get pregnant for all the wrong reasons with boyfriend Ben. But with parents who don't really give a damn, an interfering mother-in-law and dad-to-be who doesn't want to know, will Gemma manage alone?
The three mums-to-be all seem very different, but that's the great thing about being a mum. You end up talking to people you'd never have spoken to before, because you have these little people in common, and you form friendships quickly. I like that Fiore chose to bring in the multitude of parenting websites and forms out there that mums-to-be use for a lot of different reasons, and how Lou and Toni turn to these for support. Having been on one myself, they can be both a gift and a curse, but years later I'm still in touch with mums I met on them, and I like the positive tale that Toni and Lou have from these sites. Gemma is brought into the friendship through a real life friendship and realises she has more in common with the older women that she originally thinks. I thought each of the women were fantastic, and totally realistic and relatable for mums.
None of them are perfect, by any means. Lou gets pregnant after a one night stand, but I like how she decided to face up to her responsibilities after an initial wobble, and how well she copes on her own, especially when a face from her past comes back on the scene. I felt sorry for her halfway through the book when her friends aren't so happy with her, but she was a great character. Toni's story made for interesting reading because although she was desperate to get pregnant after medical issues, the suddenness of her pregnancy causes problems with her and her husband. I felt that this was especially well done, because you can never prepare yourself for how much of a shock a baby coming in to your life is going to be, even when you're just pregnant and they aren't here yet! James' reactions were so well written, a lot of men will certainly relate to him and I felt Fiore did this story so well. Finally, there's Gemma, who gets pregnant for all the wrong reasons but ends up making the best decisions for her and her baby. The young relationship between her and boyfriend Ben is touching, and while you can see what Gemma can't i.e. what will happen to their relationship and how he'll react to being a dad, it's interesting to read it unfold.
Everything about this book was a joy to read. It was easy to differentiate between the three women's stories, with Fiore using first person narrative for Toni and third person for Gemma and Louise, and I felt this worked really well for the book, and kept it fresh as I was reading. Fiore isn't afraid to shy away from the real feelings a woman (and the men!) go through from the minute they find out that they're pregnant, and the fears, worry and joy you experience through to the births, which aren't overly graphic but are fitting for the tone of the rest of the novel - do expect a bit of realism when you're reading though. I loved this book, and though Fiore has covered the issue of pregnancy, birth and early motherhood so well that this book will resonate with women up and down the country. I felt the extension of Toni's story for the latter part of the book is hugely important too, and I applaud Fiore for covering this issue in the book. If you want a funny, realistic and touching tale of babies, please pick up a copy of Babies in Waiting because you really won't be disappointed, it's fantastic.
ISBN: 978-0857389589. Published by Quercus on March 1st 2012. Pages: 432. RRP: £6.99. Also available as an eBook.
Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitchloe.blogspot.com
Thank you for reading.