Originally published: 4 March 2021
Author: Catherine Alliott
Published by: Michael Joseph
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Length: 416 pages
Listening Dates: 28 February-5 March 2021
From the outside, anyone would think that Lucy Palmer has it all: loving children, a dashing husband and a gorgeous home.
But when her marriage to Michael comes to an abrupt and unexpected end, her life is turned upside down in a flash.
As the truth of her marriage threatens to surface, Lucy seizes the opportunity to swap her house in London – and the stories it hides – for a rural escape to her parents’ farmhouse in the Chilterns.
But Lucy gets more than she bargained for when she moves back to her childhood home. With her parents growing older disgracefully, she can hardly keep up with their social life – especially when it throws her into the path of an old flame.
Coming face-to-face with her mistakes, Lucy is forced to confront the secrets she’s been keeping from herself and those she loves.
Is she ready to let someone in? Or will she leave the door to her past firmly closed . .
Successful author Lucy is married to theatre critic Michael with two grown up children but the marriage is far from happy. Michael is emotionally abusive to her and the children and has been persistently committing adultery throughout their whole married life. When Lucy finds herself unexpectedly single again she isn’t devastated exactly but feels she needs to get away from the London home she shared with Michael. Putting it up for rent, she decides to go and live with her elderly parents in her childhood home to help care for them in their run down cottage.
Her sister and children think she is running away from her feelings and she probably is but her parents certainly need the help. Both are suffering with ill health and aren’t good at feeding themselves but do like to drink quite a lot. Lucy soon knocks them into shape, helping with cleaning and cooking and is does her good to be away and have a new purpose to keep her busy. There are also new men in her life: handsome single neighbour Dan for cosy pub nights out with and Josh, the man who is renting her London house.
It was nice to read a book with a protagonist who was close to my age – I realised I don’t do this very often. Poor Lucy has had a pretty rubbish marriage and as she looks back on it we gleam how terrible things were for her. Michael’s emotional bullying, coercive control and veiled threats as well as the constant humiliation of affairs have left their mark on Lucy. Luckily, as well as the new men in her life, she also has super supportive children who knew perfectly well what their dad was like and support Lucy unconditionally.
For the first couple of chapters, if I’m being honest, I wasn’t sure if this was going to be my sort of book- it felt a little slow. But the characters soon drew me in and I ended up really enjoying it. I loved Lucy’s parents – they are intent on growing old disgracefully and spend afternoons throwing dinner parties for friends who all drink themselves stupid which I thought was brilliant! The strength of a supportive family was the heart of this book. An engaging story which is full of secrets, I’d certainly like to read another book by Catherine Alliott given the chance!
Thank you to Sriya for sending me a proof copy of the book and for inviting me on the blog tour. Check out the other brilliant bloggers shouting about this book!
About the author:
Catherine has sold over 3 million bestselling novels worldwide and is translated into eighteen languages.
The first of these novels Catherine started under the desk when she worked as an advertising copywriter. She was duly fired. With time on her hands, she persevered with the novels, which happily flourished.
In the early days she produced a baby with each book – but after three – stuck to the writing as it was less painful.
She writes with her favorite pen in note books, either in the garden or on a sofa.
Home is a rural spot on the Hertfordshire border, which she shares with her family and a menagerie of horses, cows, chickens, and dogs, which at the last count totalled eighty-seven beating hearts, including her husband. Some of her household have walk-on parts in her novels, but only the chickens would probably recognize themselves. .