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4.7 out of 5 stars29
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 13 October 2014
This is a very amusing journey to self-worth. Reaching the destination of being a woman in control of her own future, and confident in her own appearance and capabilities, is a huge revelation to the sometimes hapless heroine, Sam Sweet. Sarah England’s blend of humour and witty writing makes for a great read. Trapped into a future she doesn’t really want, with marriage to Simon and babies on order, makes Sam just a little bit panicky. I’m not surprised since Simon isn’t the most likeable character- though he’s extremely well-depicted by the author. Manic days at work, where everything that can go wrong for Sam seem to do just that keep the pace of the story romping on, compelling the reader to turn the pages to see what Sam will get up to next. I enjoyed how the author allows the reader to understand how Sam perceives herself at the beginning, which contrasts with her much more positive self-perspective at the end- issues not always easy to portray. Sam emerges as a self-assured woman who knows she is a person of note and worthy of great love from the correct man.
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on 23 September 2013
I LOVED this book. A well-written, funny tale about former-nurse Sam, who's found herself in an unsatisfying relationship while dealing with all the other issues life throws at us. Struggling with a career-change, and work/life balance Sam is a flesh-and-blood flawed heroine you just can't forget. She's not a one dimensional `Little Miss Perfect' which for me made her so much more real and had me rooting for her throughout. Sarah England's writing style is brilliant - chatty and casual yet it draws you in so easily - it's like a friend is telling you what happened next. Not only is it very funny, the novel also examines other life issues, making you question relationships and people's behaviour along the way. All in all a fantastic read, just turn off your phone and be prepared to lose yourself for a while in Sam's crazy life.
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on 14 September 2013
'My name is Sam Sweet,and I'm in total control...Of course I am.' Sam Sweet spends her working life filling in women's faces with a rather dubious Botox-based product. She spends the rest of it trying to avoid the unwelcome amorous advances of her boyfriend cum fiance Simon, a surgical registrar with the sort of personal habits that makes one wonder why she moved in with him in the first place. Part of the explanation lies in Sam's lack of self-esteem and desire to please her dragonette of a mother; her inability to stand up for herself is leading her inexorably towards a marriage she does not want with a man she does not love just to produce children she is terrified of having. And then the new managing director arrives - dishy Joel from Tennessee and suddenly, Sam Sweet's life takes a dramatically different turn..

'Expected' covers the same territory as many other books in the genre...ditzy girl in disastrous life, shacked up with Mr Oh-So Wrong, desperately awaiting the arrival of Mr Please Rescue Me. What lifts this book head and shoulders above others I have read is the lively, engaging style in which it is written. Yes, the outcome is predictable, but the journey towards it is hugely funny. Sarah England has a wry, witty turn of phrase that maintains the pace of the story. At no point was I bored, even though I knew where we were headed. The first person narrative brings hapless Sam to life..the reader feels they are right there, sharing Sam's innermost thoughts, and cheering her on when self-belief finally replaces self-doubt and she makes that longed-for bid for freedom.
I enjoyed 'Expected'. It was funny and touching by turns. A good read.
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on 11 July 2013
If you love Bridget Jones (Bridget Jones' Diary, Helen Fielding) or can relate to the problems of Becky Bloomwood (Shopaholic series, Sophie Kinsella) then you'll love Samantha Sweet, the main character in Sarah England's debut novel, Expected. In the book Sam describes herself as "a plump, debt-ridden spinster, shackled to a peevish psychopath, and about to lose [her] job." Essentially a modern-day love story, England's characters take us on a journey of discovery: one of friendships, family ties, job satisfaction and ultimately love.

If I'm completely honest, I couldn't totally empathise with Samantha Sweet. I don't find her a strong 21st century female character and am not sure she's setting a good example for young women of today. She seemed utterly clueless as to how to run her life (without the help of one man or another). The mildly amusing situations she often found herself in sometimes bordered on the ridiculous.

Having said this, the book was well-written and compelling. I found the relationship between her and her mother to be touching in places, as she struggled with her mother's declining health. I read the book from cover to cover in only a couple of days as I did want to find out what happened and whether Samantha would pull herself together enough to steer her life in the right direction. I would recommend this to anyone who wants a light & easy read (but make sure you take your feminist hat off before you start it!).
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on 9 August 2013
Sarah England's new novel `Expected' is very hard to put down. She writes in such a compelling, confidential style, you feel you are with her in a cosy corner enjoying a glass of wine and a slice of chocolate cake.

Sam Sweet, the heroine, has a hilarious sense of humour and a zest for life which makes you care about her from the start. The situations she finds herself in are awful yet hilarious, and as she struggles to make sense of a life spinning out of control, I found myself rooting for her every step of the way. Refreshingly different, thought-provoking and laugh-out-loud funny.
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on 8 October 2013
I've just finished reading Expected and to be fair it wasn't what I expected at all! What I thought I was getting was a humorous romantic romp, what I got was something a lot more thought provoking than that. There are some serious issues in this book: emotional abuse for one, how easy it is to find yourself trapped in life, the illusion often attached to freedom of choice. All heavy issues but wrapped up in a wonderful sense of humour that prevents it from becoming depressing - an admiral achievement. All the way through I was rooting for our beleaguered heroine, Sam Sweet, to see the light concerning the dastardly Simon. Sam's mother too was another tragi-comic character that Sam needed to stand up to. The ending was good but I'd quite liked to have seen Sam stride into the sunset in need of no one but herself - the fact that I wanted that shows how much the character had come to mean to me. Highly recommended.
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on 26 September 2013
On the surface Sam, the main character and narrator, is a hopeless airhead bumbling her way through life trying to live up to everyone's expectations from her mad mother to her repulsive psychotic boyfriend, with a horrible boss thrown in. Yet somehow, I liked her and found the book compulsive reading. A sure sign of good writing. The satisfying ending left me with a smile on my face.
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on 18 August 2013
A story of Sam Sweet and a section of her life. The part where she is living with Simon and comes to the realization that she doesn't really like him, let alone love him. Her mom however has the full wedding and grand kids planned out as far as booking the venue and buying the dress.
Sarah writes with a lot of wit and keeps the reader entertained on this journey of Sam's, from filling in the faces of the wrinkly women to the shopping sprees she does daily. The story certainly gives the reader a lot to think about where their relationships are concerned and invites us to examine if we to put up with too much. However I have to say i found Sam irritating at times and wanted to jump in the book and slap her, or at the least shake her and get her to wake up to reality. Readers of Sophie Kinsella's 'Shopaholic' books would love this book and should get stuck into it very soon.
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on 1 September 2013
"The child was so full of milk, if they shook her up for long enough, she'd crap butter."

This is by far the funniest line I have heard in a while, and I see from the other reviews that I am not the only one. Sam Sweet is sarky, funny, and trapped. She says and thinks what we all (or maybe just me) are thinking. I think that we have all been swept away into a relationship with a man who does not light our fire, or is quite frankly, a bit of a git and this book explores this with hilarious results. I was rooting for her by the end of the book, and it was a fab read - I really enjoyed her adventures. I have heard talk of a sequel, which would be great, so watch this space!

The editing and formatting are top notch and I adore the cover, bright, engaging and fun - just like the writing.

Rachel Dove
The Kindle Book Review
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on 24 July 2013
"The child was so full of milk, if they shook her up for long enough, she'd crap butter."

EXPECTED follows the life of Samantha Sweet, a former nurse who has opted for a career change. We meet her when she's at a point in her life where she's stopped to take a good look around. She is NOT happy with what she sees.

This story, while tackling some serious issues on the under-current, made me laugh out so many times I lost count. Sam is usually not the kind of protagonist I go for and so the fact that I couldn't put this book down is a testament to the author's fresh and witty writing style.

I can't compare the book to any others because I've not read anything quite like it and that was refreshing. Sarah England has given us a real gem in EXPECTED. Looking forward to more from this author.
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