Cathy Kelly has long been one of my favourite â€˜women\’s fiction\’ authors. And after reading Homecoming, her twelfth novel, that is not about to change. She manages to delve into her characters lives â€“ touching on the issues that affect us all â€“ with tenderness and wonderful insight.
Homecoming is the story of four women living in Dublin\’s Golden Square. Four women who each have faced difficulties in their lives, and for whom the best way forward is to come home.
The story begins with Eleanor, a retired psychoanalyst in her eighties who left Ireland for the bright lights of New York seventy years ago. She returns to Golden Square following tragedy in her life, hoping that visiting the country her mother so loved will help her move forward. She carries with her a handwritten recipe book. The book belonged to her mother and is one of Eleanor\’s most treasured possessions, with the book capturing not only her beloved mother\’s recipes, but her words of wisdom from times long past. These recipes and words of wisdom are actually scattered throughout this novel â€“ and that was one of my favourite parts, imagining life in Ireland as it was then.
Around the same time that Eleanor arrives in Golden Square so too does Megan. The beautiful young actress arrives needing a place to hide, but the scandal she left behind in Hollywood may just find her here. She moves in with her aunt to ride out the storm and for the first time in her life wonders if the constant scrutiny is worth it.
The other two women to feature in this story are permanent residents in Golden Square. Rae manages the tearooms on one edge of the square â€“ dispensing advice and reassurance along with tea and cakes. From the outside her life appears perfect with a devoted husband and grown up son, but appearances can be deceptive and Rae harbours a painful secret.
And then there\’s Connie â€“ almost forty and hoping for love, but resigned to the fact that at her age it seems unlikely. She tries to tell herself that she\’s happy with her lot – a teaching job that she loves, a supportive sister and a home to call her own, but deep down still hopes that her Mr Right is out there somewhere. And maybe, he\’s much closer than Connie realises.
The story follows each of these women\’s stories, with the four of them developing close friendships along the way. I loved this book, not only because it was easy to read and follow, but it showcases the invaluable friendships between women. Despite the differences in age and background, these four women support each other through tough times and are there to help celebrate the good. And along the way, further advice is dispensed from beyond the grave through Eleanor\’s recipe book â€“ advice just as relevant to these women today as it was when written.
So, if you\’re a fan of Cathy Kelly\’s previous books you will not be disappointed by Homecoming, and if you\’re not then I\’d definitely recommend this one as an immensely enjoyable, heartwarming read.
You can read our interview with Cathy here.
Available now: HarperCollins RRP$32.99
Sites That Link to this Post
- Interview: Homecoming Author Cathy Kelly | Sassi Sam Girlie Gossip Files | 29 December , 2010