2 June 2014

Book Review: A Place to Call Home by Carole Matthews

"In the dead of night, Ayesha takes her daughter, Sabina, and slips quietly from her home, leaving behind a life full of pain. Boarding a coach to London, all Ayesha wants is a fresh start.

Hayden, a former popstar, has kept himself hidden away for years. He's only opened up his home to two people - Crystal, a professional dancer with a heart of gold, and Joy, an ill-tempered retiree with a soft spot for waifs and strays.

When Crystal asks Hayden if Ayesha and Sabina can stay with them, he reluctantly agrees and, as different as they may be, they quickly form an unlikely bond. So when enemies threaten their peaceful home, they will do all they can to save it and each other."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy A Place to Call Home as a paperback or an eBook now.

Throughout the past few years, I have become a huge fan of Carole Matthews' books and her writing. Whether its her festive offerings which are always a real treat, or her summer novels, I always feel excited when a new book of hers arrives on my doorstep and I can get stuck in - I know I'm guaranteed a great read from Carole! I have to be honest, the premise of her latest book A Place to Call Home sounded a little bit different from her other books, but it made me look forward to see how Carole would handle something a bit different and darker... and of course, she didn't disappoint!

Ayesha knows that she is making a life-changing decision when she slips away with her young daughter Sabina in the middle of the night, leaving her husband alone and with no clue of their whereabouts. She doesn't even know where she is running to - only that she has to get away from her husband and disappear without a trace. She ends up at the home of Hayden, a reclusive pop star who opens his home to those in dire need to sanctuary. Ayesha is nervous and unsure in her new home, but is welcomed in by fellow residents Crystal, a dancer and Joy, a widow with no family around to care for her. Ayesha begins to slowly muddle along in her new home, with an eye always looking out behind her for her husband Suresh, sure she isn't going to be allowed her happy-ever-after with Sabina...

As you can see, this book tackles a dark issue within, one that I wasn't quite prepared for when I began the book, but it's so well handled in the book, it is simply a must-read. The issue within is domestic abuse, and yes, it isn't easy reading in parts but it's necessary to have these darker moments to show how Ayesha's life moves on and how she can find happiness despite the darkness she's had previously. Suresh is an absuive husband, utterly abhorrent to his wife and his own parents, and as such his daughter Sabina is now a selective mute - she chooses not to speak because of the horrors she has seen at home. I think it is this part of the book which touched me and moved me the most - it's a powerful realisation of how our actions as adults can deeply affect our children.

The characters within the book were so well written, I loved each of them. Ayesha is a strong woman although she doesn't think it - the fact she was able to walk away from an abusive marriage for the sake of her and her daughter proves that, and you can't help but will for her to make a success of herself. Her friendship with Crystal, another resident at Hayden's was so real and touching, you could tell the women genuinely cared for each other and wanted the best for each other too. Hayden was a recluse, and you know there's something sad in his past which has deeply affected him, and we're left wondering what it is. When it is revealed, you can't help but feel so sorry for Hayden, he's been dealt a tough hand and struggles to deal with his own pain afterwards.

All of the characters in the book have been through difficult parts in their lives, and the book really is a journey of them all coming to terms with what's happened, and trying to move on with their lives. The new friendships they have each forged stands them in good stead to help each other, and I loved seeing each of the characters grow as the book went on. This is such a positive and uplifting book despite the initial premise, and I can honestly say I loved every single page of it. Matthews handles such a sensitive issue perfectly, and I think for me this is one of my favourite of her books.The book has you laughing, crying, and emotionally hooks you in from the start - there was one moment at the end that had tears running down my face, so strong was the emotion. This book is simply a must-read, an absolute gem of a book.

No comments:

Post a Comment