Publisher: Orenda Books
Published: November 28th, 2019 on Kindle. January 22nd, 2020 in Paperback
Genre: Mystery, thriller, suspense, coming of age fiction.
Welcome to my first blog tour of 2020. I am thrilled to be taking part in the tour for this wonderful book. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and to Karen at Orenda Books for the gifted copy of this novel.
When the body of pregnant fifteen-year-old Hope Lacey is discovered in a churchyard on Christmas morning, the community is shocked, but unsurprised. For Hope lived in The Home, the residence of three young girls, who’s violent and disturbing pasts have seen them cloistered away…
As a police investigation gets underway, the lives of Hope, Lara and Annie are examined, and staff who work at the home are interviewed, leading to shocking and distressing revelations…and clear evidence that someone is seeking revenge.
A gritty, dark and devastating psychological thriller, The Home is also an emotive drama and piercing look at the underbelly of society, where children learn what they live…if they are allowed to live at all.
“Because we were young, it was true. We were fragile too. But we weren’t fragile like flowers. We were fragile like bombs.”
A mesmerising, soulful and haunting novel, The Home is a sorrowful love story, a tragedy and a tale of redemption. I was instantly captivated as the story opened with a young girl’s murder, talk of betrayal and the promise of revenge….
This beautifully written novel tells the story of three young girls – Annie, Hope and Lara – who have been forgotten, abused and neglected. They live together at an underfunded children’s home that is dreary and unwelcoming. Lara is so scarred by her past she doesn’t speak, but Annie and Hope bond over their shared hardships in life, and soon embark on a passionate but forbidden love affair that turns into obsession. But something goes wrong and on Christmas morning, one of them is found dead. The police suspect the other girl killed her but the staff don’t believe she is capable of it. Instead, they suspect that someone from the dead girl’s past has come for payback. The subsequent investigators leads to shocking and heartbreaking revelations.
Firstly, I will admit that I was initially drawn to this book because it is published by Orenda. I’ve become a big fan of the dark, bold, original and compelling books they publish. When I saw the haunting cover and read the synopsis I knew I had to read this book. The Home is all the things I’ve come to expect from Orenda and more. It is a bleak, fierce, powerful and intriguing story that reached into my soul.
“The thing about us was we weren’t afraid of the darkness. It was part of who we were. It was normal.”
The girls were fractured, broken characters who came to the home because they had seen and experienced things no one should have to. They had been forced to become hardened survivors and learned to trust only themselves. Their pasts are a mystery and the details of the abuse and neglect they’ve suffered is slowly unveiled over the course of the book. As we get to know them we find that inside that hardened shell they’re just kids who want to be safe and loved. They’re suffocating, drowning, and looking for a life raft to hold on to, only to have one they thought they’d found snatched away from them. I couldn’t help but feel a sense of maternal instinct towards each of them, wishing they could have had a family that treated them better and a life free from the trauma they have witnessed. I wondered how much they could possibly take, if they can overcome this latest tragedy or it will be the incident that leads to them spiraling out of reach forever.
This was the first time I had read a book by this author and I can’t wait to read more. Her subdued style was beautiful and haunting. She moved smoothly between the narrators and timelines, keeping the reader guessing about the truth of Hope’s death right until the final pages. I know I vacillated between a couple theories over the course of the book. I was under Ms Stovell’s spell from the opening lines until the final sentence and can’t wait to read more so she can do it again.
The Home is an eerie, heart-rending and alluring novel. I went through all the colours of my emotions as I read this fateful tale. As I approached the finale, it felt like I was on a train hurtling towards tragedy at breakneck speed and I was powerless to stop it. I couldn’t stop reading, finally feeling sure of my suspicions and with just one niggling unanswered question. But I was blindsided as the jaw-dropping truth was revealed, leaving me wrecked. A phenomenal novel that I can’t recommend highly enough.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sarah Stovell was born in 1977 and spent most of her life in the Home Counties before a season working in a remote North Yorkshire youth hostel made her realise she was a northerner at heart. She now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. Her debut psychological thriller, Exquisite, was called ‘the book of the summer ’ by Sunday Times.