‘Finding Home’ felt like the book I might relate to as I have been always interested in the vintage aspects of homes,places and things.The older the ‘period piece’ the more intriguing is the story associated. So, I opted for it on Netgalley and here is an honest review of Lauren Westwood’s ‘Finding Home’.
An ‘Old Home’ Romance
The title and the blurb rightly entices a book lover to opt for the book,as it promises an exciting time, unravelling the ‘forbidden’ associated with the ‘Rosemont Hall’.
“A month ago, Amy Wood had her perfect home, her perfect boyfriend and her perfect job in London. Now she’s broken-hearted, living in her parents’ tiny bungalow, and working in a local estate agents in Bath. At least her new job keeps her busy. Rosemont Hall is a crumbling mansion riddled with woodworm, dry rot – and secrets.
As Amy searches for the perfect owner to restore the house to its former glory, she begins to uncover pieces of the past that some people would rather remain hidden. In her battle to save Rosemont Hall, Amy will encounter scary housekeepers, evil property developers and mysterious American heirs – and will discover whether the secrets of the past can bring her closer to the future of her dreams…”
The story starts with Amy Wood’s house hunting around London,her career and personal life description.The twist at the very beginning is quite interesting.Her subsequent shift to her parents’ home,her new job assignments is sure to strike a chord with working women.The happenings at the Real estate office brings forth the ‘work atmosphere’ which a working woman faces at some point or the other in her career.The crooked boss,the apprehensiveness associated with every client,some ‘not-so-enthusiastic-yet-jealous’ colleagues at workplace have all been described so realistically,that a reader is bound to relate with Amy’s feelings.
Its a sort of a Bildungsroman in which the character ‘Amy’ matures as a person, as the story progresses and with her, the secrets associated with the ‘Rosemont Hall’ too unravels.The characterisation of Jack, Mr.Kendall, Mrs.Bradford, Claire is apt and help the story in moving forward and support Amy to grow as a person. However,I could not relate with the characterisation of ‘Amy’s parents’.May be because,being an Indian my perception of ‘how parents should be and behave’ differs from the West.
The style of writing is simple yet effective and humorous,especially while describing situations and people.The following lines from the book are here to support my observation:
“I felt like a little plant uprooted from my plot of earth and plopped into a plastic pot in a DIY store”
‘Mr Bowen-Knowles frowns so deeply you could almost germinate seeds in his brow‘
At times while reading, I felt that the story could have been a little more pacy and intriguing and not so dragging.The character of ‘Jack’ could have been introduced a lil earlier and exploited much more,to cover up for the sagging storyline in the middle chapters. Because the story became too hurried at the end,as a reader I could not fathom the sudden change of events so very quickly and abruptly.Also,the book cover could have been much better,as it does not support the antiquity associated with the book.Its too simple to be captivating.
However,one cannot overlook the similarities and inspirations from the works of Jane Austen and Carole Mathews; be it the literary nuances,humour or architectural descriptions. Apart from the minute details of the furniture and conditions of the house to the architecture of ‘Rosemont Hall’,Lauren has been successful in celebrating the goodness and charm of the old English world.The debut writer should be lauded for the humour and positivity induced into the character of ‘Amy’ even when Amy is in a soup.The below lines of Amy,sort of fits the condition of her ,as well as Rosemont Hall in the story:
‘Sitting here, I feel like one of the many nameless women that history has forgotten –without any sort of meaningful status or occupation’.
Yes, it is the story of ‘Rosemont Hall’ but strong references to Feminism and other Women’s fiction cannot be missed. Also,the story sends a message against the mindless destruction of heritage marvels paving way to ‘Resorts and Amusement parks’ in the name of development and modernisation,across the globe! This literary work isn’t a quickie. One needs to relish the architectural nuances and the charm of the good old world at a slow pace. Go for it,if you are an admirer of old classics,mystery and subtle romance. A wonderful literary work for a debut novel!
I give this book a rating of 3.5 / 5 !
Title of the book : Finding Home
Author : Lauren Westwood
Version : Kindle edition
Publishers : Aria
Courtesy : Netgalley