Sunday 5 January 2020

The Home by Sara Stovell @sarahlovescrime BLOG TOUR @OrendaBooks #TheHome #BookReview

When the body of a pregnant fifteen-year-old 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, whose 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 the 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 a piercing look at the underbelly of society, where children learn what they live … if they are allowed to live at all.

The Home by Sarah Stovell is published by Orenda Books in paperback on 22 January 2020. The digital book was published on 28 November 2019.  My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

As part of the Orenda Books Blog Tour, I'm delighted to re-share my review of this amazing book.

Praise for Sarah Stovell

‘I was immediately ensnared into the devastating and dark world of The Home and devoured it in one day … A triumph’ Holly Seddon
‘Gripping, sinister and utterly heartbreaking … I absolutely loved it’ Lisa Hall

‘So beautiful and haunting and ghostly and addictive and intense and sad and shocking. Just wow’ Louise Beech
‘A vividly disturbing, eloquent and enthralling tale … striking, thought-provoking, compulsive storytelling’ LoveReading

My Review

Fans of Sarah Stovell's previous book; Exquisite will be aware of the beauty of her prose; of how she creates the most alluring, yet insidious characters and keeps her readers gripped throughout the telling of her stories.

The Home is another superbly written story that will chill the hearts of the reader. It's a murder mystery, it's psychologically thrilling and it is heartbreakingly emotional. This author has taken three young girls and told their individual stories with finesse and compassion. It is mesmerising, unsettling and immaculately crafted.

The Home houses troubled young girls. With just three residents and situated in a desolate part of the Lake District, it's not a happy place. The staff are underpaid, the manager is in despair and the girls are broken. Hope, Lara and Annie are three of the most elegantly crafted characters that I've met in fiction for many a year.  Their inner turmoil explodes into behaviours that try the patience of the staff, and each other. Lara's silence hides secrets that are so terrible that they cannot be voiced. Annie's determination to better herself, to study and to make something of her life mirrors the brutality of her childhood. Hope's total disregard for her own safety and for the feelings of others is a reaction to the traumas she has experienced since she was just a baby.

Hope is dead. Drowned in one of the beautiful Lakes. She was pregnant, she was fifteen.  Annie was discovered alongside the body of Hope; distraught and emotional. Annie and Hope had been lovers; theirs was an innocent love that consumed both of them. They found solace and hope in each other, they had plans. These plans have been ruined and only Annie can answer the questions posed by the staff of The Home, and the police.

The Home is exquisitely written, as we have come to expect from this extremely talented author. The story touches on the darkness that engulfs the children who are let down by their families, and by society. It is dark and it is eye-opening. It can be a difficult read at times; the author doesn't shy away from issues that are all too often swept under the table and brushed over by the majority.

The story is intoxicating and riveting; I finished it in almost one sitting; it's a story that drew me in and continues to haunt me after I turned the final page.
Beautiful, visceral and uncompromising. The Home has been a long time coming, but I can assure you that it is worth every single second of the wait.

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.

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