4.5* – Okay, this story gave me all the feels. I think it’s a debut novel, which makes it even more impressive.
Sutton is coming to terms with the idea that she’s not only attracted to men. To help her take the first step into dating women, her best friend Regan creates a profile for her on a lesbian dating app then sends a very non-subtle message to a woman whose picture has caught Sutton’s eye. To Sutton’s surprise, the woman, Charlotte, answers, prompting Sutton to immediately apologise for the first message and deny she’s into hooking up. Amused, Charlotte starts giving advice to Sutton on how to navigate dating apps, and dating in general. Then, as Fate would have it, the two women meet in completely unexpected circumstances, making their personal and professional worlds (in particular, Charlotte’s political ambitions) collide. And it’s only the beginning of blurring lines.
Those Who Wait is one of these stories where trying to summarise even just the first few pages gets spoilery very quickly. The storyline is pretty traditional but it’s told in a way that feels surprisingly fresh and new. As readers, we know where this relationship is going (it’s a romance, innit?), but the way the author paints it, the way she makes it grow from a carefree friendship to this inescapable need that both feeds and tears the heart is excellent.
This would have been a 5* book if not for a few editing glitches – repeated words here and there, several rather long-winded sentences…– and one not-so-small detail: I don’t understand why Charlotte doesn’t speak about the closet with her brother and his politician boyfriend. Two of the people closest to her know almost exactly what she’s going through (with the added bonus of her being a woman in a man’s world) and she doesn’t take advantage of their experience? Why? Anyway, there were enough small flaws for me to notice, but not enough to dampen my enjoyment. Furthermore, the pace is quick and coherent and the narrative flows organically.
I loved both main characters, Sutton is lovely and earnest but in an enchanting way, not in a boring way at all. Charlotte is driven but unknowingly sweet. I felt her pain deep and had to stop at times to remember to breathe. If I had to let go of the person I love more than life itself, I would probably become so hard I’d be no use to anyone. I’m so glad Charlotte wised up before it came to that. And I loved how Sutton – once she got over some miscommunication at the start of their relationship – understands Charlotte in a way no one else does.
The secondary characters are also fantastic and everyone deserves a brother like Caleb, friends like Dean, Regan and Emma (I enjoyed the interaction between those two a lot!), parents like Kate and Jack and a former President as a grandmother. Or maybe not. But she’s a terrific mentor nonetheless.
Have I said how much I loved this book? No pressure, Haley Cass, but I’m definitely looking forward to your next novel, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.