Tuesday 10 March 2020

The River Home by Hannah Richell @hannahrichell @orionbooks #TheRiverHome @AlainnaGeorgiou #BookReview

The river can take you home. The river can take you under...
In their ramshackle Somerset home, its gardens running down to the river, the Sorrells have gathered for a last-minute wedding.
Lucy is desperate to reunite her fractured family. Eve is fighting to keep her perfect life together. Their mother, Kit, a famous author whose stories have run dry, still seethes with resentment towards her youngest child. And Margot, who left home eight years ago under a black cloud, is forced to come face to face with her darkness...
As the family come together for a week of celebration and confrontation, their relationships are stretched to breaking point. Can you ever heal the wounds of the past? Or will it always rise up to haunt you - like the echoes of a summer's night, like the relentless flow of a river...

The River Home by Hannah Richell is published in hardback by Orion on 19 March 2020. Huge thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I was absolutely swept away by this wonderfully written story. It's a character led novel that explores the deepest secrets of family and relationships, with a setting that is both evocative and beautifully created.

The short, but intriguing prologue entices the reader, and raises questions that will be fully answered throughout the novel.

Hannah Richell tells the story from the point of view of each of the main characters, with Margot, the youngest sister of three having centre stage. Margot is returning to Somerset after many years away, she received a message from her sister Lucy, telling her that she needs her and that's she's getting married. The family home; Windfalls, is a house that has seen many things. there are tragedies and secrets encased in its walls. Margot is fearful of returning, her memories of Windfalls, and the river that runs through the grounds have haunted her for many years.

Margot's two sisters. Eve and Lucy each have their own story to tell, along with their mother Kit. Kit was an incredibly successful author, her books sold in the millions, her face was well known, but Margot always felt as though she and her sisters came second to the characters in Kit's novel. As did their father, who eventually left, when Margot was just a teenager and now lives nearby with his new, younger wife.

Slowly and surely, each character is uncovered. Their darkest secrets and deepest fears are revealed. There are some absolutely heart-wrenching moments within this story; there were times when I felt as though I should close the book, walk away and take a few breaths to compose myself. The characters and their issues feel so real, so absolutely relevant; like friends who you've come to love, and their pain is palpable.

The writing is captivating, the sense of place is incredible and the story itself is intricate and perfectly woven. The River Home is beautifully and insightfully written, this probably one of the most beautiful books that I will read this year.

Outstanding and very highly recommended by me.

Hannah Richell worked in the publishing and film industries marketing books and movies, before beginning to write while pregnant with her first child. 
The result was Secrets of the Tides, picked for the 2012 Richard & Judy Book Club, the Waterstones Book Club and shortlisted for the Australian Independent Bookseller Best Debut Fiction Award, ABIA General Fiction Book of the Year (2013) and ABIA Newcomer of the Year (2013). 
The novel has been translated into sixteen languages. Her follow-up novel was The Shadow Year, published in 2013. Her third, The Peacock Summer, was published in July 2018.

Hannah has written for a number of media outlets including Harper's Bazaar, The Independent, Fairfax Media and Australian Women's Weekly. 

She is a dual citizen of the UK and Australia, though currently lives in the South West of England with her family.

Author Page on Facebook
Instagram @hannahrichell

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