Review: 'Waking' by Debut Author Helen Richardson - 'clever, mind-spinning and intruiging'

Curve-ball after curve-ball, Helen Richardson's debut novel 'Waking' is a clever, mind-spinning and deeply intriguing story. From the witty observations, to the amusing dialogue throughout, this book seriously surpassed all expectations.

The story is centred around a girl named Anna Caldwell who has just moved down to London, as she has landed a job as a assistant curator at the Whitechapel Gallery. There is a lot to Anna's character, more than she realises herself. She is clever, witty, beautiful; it's just a shame she is haunted by her own nightmares.

For almost 15 years, Anna has been afraid to go to sleep at night. She has been plagued with the same disturbing and mysterious visions of death, and overwhelming grief. Even when she tries to desperately break the cycle, the darkness of her mind grips that little bit tighter. 

Then she meets Jack. She knows him, but she can’t quite figure out from where. There is an instant connection, and at first they both put this down to intimacy, but they were mistaken. They both share the same dark past, but they don’t know it yet.

The relationship between Anna and Jack is enviable. Imagine that one relationship in your life where you were completely and totally in sync with your partner. That is Anna and Jack, seemingly perfect, but the cracks of a tragic past seep through as the story unfolds.

One thing I love about this book is that Richardson has managed to make it so believable, in such an unbelievable and surreal situation. When reading I felt like a lot of Richardson’s own experiences went into the story, especially when reading the humorous and intelligent exchanges between Anna and her flat mates. 

I would have loved the ending to be more finalised, but it still worked brilliantly as it did, it was left to the reader’s imagination. I was just disappointed that I couldn’t stay with the characters for longer! Considering this was Richardson’s debut novel, her character devolopment is superb. 

So, if you are looking for a book that will keep you on your toes and leave you wanting more, Waking is for you. Every time I thought I knew where the plot was heading, Richardson pulled me back and put me in my place! 

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