4* Review: Those Who Wait + Forever and A Day – Haley Cass

I decided to read Those Who Wait and Forever and A Day one after the other, before putting together a review for either. You’ll find individual reviews below for each book, but I’d encourage you to read these two books back to back for the full experience.

Those Who Wait

The premise of Those Who Wait is essentially a friends to lovers/opposites attract romance with these tropes exploring a variety of topics, from the perils of dating apps and a friends with benefits arrangement, to the heartache of (mistaken) unrequited love. The story focuses on Charlotte, a driven, highly ambitious women with far reaching political aspirations. And Sutton, a literature student and TA, who having recently accepted her bisexuality has yet to have a sexual encounter with a women. Whilst Charlotte has no inclination (or time) for love, Sutton is a bashful, hopeless romantic whose awkwardness wins over Charlotte’s soft side, paving the way for Charlotte to become some of what a mentor to Sutton’s foray into online dating and women loving women relationships.

Fast forward a few chapters and Charlotte and Sutton find themselves in the murky waters of ‘friends with benefits’, trying and sometimes failing to navigate growing feelings amongst a progressively media intrusive political campaign, as Charlotte runs for office whilst remaining publicly closeted. As a reader, for me this is where the book truly thrives, Cass keeps the developing romance and thrilling sex at a high-octane level, whilst simultaneously creating conflict between the two main characters. These areas of conflict feel genuine, instead of the sometimes farcical ‘conflicts’ which arise due to miscommunication between two main characters, which seldom reflect the reality that two individuals involved in a relationship would likely communicate more adequately than allowed by the need to use miscommunication as a source of conflict. Needless to say, the author does a great job of avoiding this pitfall!

I enjoyed this book for its natural progression through a budding friendship (eventually with benefits), to the development of unintended feelings with very real consequences both personally and professionally. Cass provides a stellar support cast – i particularly enjoyed Sutton’s mum, who just seemed to ooze a mother’s love right off the page at times and just so happened to portray an author to boot! This contrasts well with Charlotte’s friends and family whom distinctly contribute more of the political leanings to this story, allowing for a realistic and easy to follow insight into the real world political campaign machine.

This story is a lot longer than the average Lesfic book and whilst i knew this going into it, my one and only negative is that unlike other lengthy stories i have read, Those Who Wait didn’t need to be so long. Whilst i appreciate the author was taking the reader on a journey from dating app, to friends, friends with benefits and finally a HEA and that this can’t be done over night, there were parts of the book particularly in the beginning, which felt off in their pacing and a little drawn out, which was a shame given my overall enjoyment of these characters and their story.

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Forever and A Day

I truly loved the style of this short story, which essentially serves as a longer epilogue to the events in Those Who Wait. It’s a tad difficult to review without giving away too much, but this book is split into seven parts, with each part marking a life and/or political milestone in Charlotte and Sutton’s relationship. Each of the seven parts starts with something akin to a news article, tv segment, twitter feed etc., which was an interesting and novel choice of opening for each section. Ultimately, if you’re a reader who loves an epilogue, then Forever and A Day is the equivalent of an epilogue on steroids. There’s nothing not to like, you get to whizz through all of Charlotte and Sutton’s future in surprising detail given the short length of this story, and it honestly felt like the perfect follow up and final ending to its predecessor Those Who Wait.

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