Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Book review: A Place To Call Home by Carole Matthews


My edition: paperback, published on 10 April 2014 by Sphere, 432 pages.

Description: In the dead of night, Ayesha takes her daughter, Sabina, and slips quietly from her home, leaving behind a life of full of pain. Boarding a coach to London, all Ayesha wants is a fresh start.

Hayden, a former popstar, has kept himself hidden away for years. He's only opened up his home to two people - Crystal, a professional dancer with a heart of gold, and Joy, an ill-tempered retiree with a soft spot for waifs and strays.

When Crystal asks Hayden if Ayesha and Sabina can stay with them, he reluctantly agrees and, as different as they may be, they quickly form an unlikely bond. So when enemies threaten their peaceful home, they will do all they can to save it and each other.

Rating:



I love Carole Matthew's delightful novels; filled with heart-warming characters and a sweet story her books are the perfect escapism from the woes of everyday life. So whenever a new one gets released I get my hands on it as soon as possible, ready to lose myself for a few hours in someone else's world. Despite its adorable flowery cover there is a much more serious story at the hard of her latest novel, A Place to Call Home, however. It's one of an abusive marriage, fear, dominance and cultural differences, but also of tolerance, personal growth, an unlikeable family bond and finding love in the most unexpected places.

Ayesha moved from Sri Lanka to Milton Keynes a decade before the start of the story, marrying a virtual stranger by the name of Suresh. Her husband seemed caring enough at first and she enjoyed her new life in England, even if she did miss her family and friends back home. But as her husband becomes more possessive and her world grows smaller, every day becomes a little more terrifying. She could almost handle the mental and physical abuse if it wasn't for her young daughter Sabina and her fear that she may be next. So after a lot of planning she one day escapes with Sabina in the middle of the night and travels to London, to find help for the both of them.

While the women's hostel she found during her research has no space for her and Sabina, the woman who helps her calls in a favour from a friend. And that is how Ayesha ends up in the unlikely household of Hayden, an uber rich former musician turned reclusive who has already opened his home to two others who for different reasons needed a place to stay; stripper Crystal and an older, stubborn woman by the name of Joy. What seems like a strange combination of people is actually the perfect environment for Ayesha and her daughter to flourish and in return they bring a lot of warmth and welcome change in the other people's lives too. But while the two are happy in their temporary new home, Ayesha lives with the constant fear that Suresh will find her and take Sabina away, which would be the worst thing that can happen to the both of them.

Ayesha and Sabina's heart-breaking story felt close to my heart and all throughout the novel I was on the edge of my seat, worried about what was going to happen to them. And I freely admit the novel made me tear up more than once. The characters felt so real to me that every setback, every time they hurt, I could feel it myself. This proves what a master of storytelling Matthews really is. It wasn't all doom and gloom though. There were plenty of laughs, an unlikely bond between the three women living together in the house, cuteness galore with Hayden taking little Sabina under his wings, delectable descriptions of Ayesha'd cooking, and a beautiful blossoming romance which made my heart flutter in excitement.

A Place to Call Home was pretty darn perfect; combining the sweet and fun aspects I've come to know and love from Matthews' novels with a more serious topic that was told sensitively but also realistically and that will hopefully make readers aware of the dangers of a controlling partner. For all the Haydens and Crystals out there there are unfortunately also people like Suresh, and the Ayeshas of the world need their voices heard.

You can purchase a copy of the novel from Waterstones, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com or your own preferred retailer.



Would you like to know more about the author? You can connect with her online at:

Website: www.carolematthews.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CaroleMatthewsBooks

Twitter: @carolematthews


Many thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

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