Homecoming, Paperback
2 out of 5 (1 rating)


Up on the North Yorkshire moors, the Hartle family is about to have a life-changing year.

Ann and Joe, with more than thirty years of marriage and two sons between them, are torn between giving up and pressing on with their struggling farm.

Max, their older son, is set to inherit the farm and his wife Primrose has news to share, but is he ready for these new responsibilities?

Their younger son, Bartholomew, escaped to the south as soon as he could, building a new life for himself with his girlfriend Ruby.

But when tragedy strikes he is forced to return home -- and must come to terms with his past, in order to create a future.

Filled with both the joys and losses of ordinary life, Homecoming is a big-hearted drama about how a family falls apart and comes back together again from a hugely talented new writer.




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This book reminded me strongly of the tv series Emmerdale in its earlier incarnation as Emmerdale Farm. There are Hardyesque episodes with barns and sheep in a failed attempt to add some gravitas to a story whose basic theme is that at every age we have to come to terms with the reality of our lives. To add some interest to the characters the otherwise plodding daughter-in-law Primrose is obsessed with teaching herself how to wire anything imaginable - this allows a short plot development in which the patriarchal figure can imagine his dull wife is having an affair, courtesy of the video camera Primrose has wired to his front door. This points out a major problem - you can feel the effort with which each plot strand has been conceived. There are some nice passages and insights - about the disappointment felt when 'perfect' children grow up to be ordinary adults, and the inarticulacy of many men faced with emotional trauma, but in general the characters follow a predictable trajectory to a tidy conclusion, and the humour is heavy-handed. An undemanding read.