Review – A Place To Call Home by Carole Matthews (and a little about our evening in Oswestry!)

By | April 16, 2014

Every so often, it’s rather nice to treat yourself.  Carole Matthews was to appear at the Oswestry LitFest on a Friday night in March – although I live in West Yorkshire, I’d worked out that it wouldn’t be too difficult to detour a little on my way to a break with the family in Wales.  I’m so glad I did – Carole was quite wonderful, telling us all about her brush with Hollywood, her time as a TV beauty therapist, how she became a writer, and then reading from her latest book, A Place To Call Home

I was a little bit starstruck when I spoke with her afterwards while she signed my copy of the book, but she was so lovely – I was just a bit too shy to ask her for a photo (but here’s the signed book!). 

There are some lovely pictures from the event on Carole’s Facebook page.  It was great too to meet Dawn O’Brien – we’ve been Facebook friends for years since “meeting” on another book site some years ago, and it was lovely to meet in person at last.  Dawn’s written her own account of the event on her Lofty Scribbler blog.  I didn’t go to the meal beforehand – being on my own, I thought I might feel a bit awkward, but I don’t really think I need have really worried. 

If anyone out there is ever thinking about going along to an author event on their own – and perhaps worrying about it – please, do go! Everyone in the audience is there for the same reason as you, and (if you want to, of course…) it’s very easy to fall into conversation with the other readers around you.  Thank you Carole for a great evening – and well done to the organisers too, and the perfect location of The Dining Rooms.

Well, I’ve now read A Place Called Home and absolutely loved it – I think it was all the better for hearing Carole’s “voice” through her written word.  The last book by Carole that I reviewed on my blog was Calling Mrs Christmas – my Christmas book of the year, and I still think it’s a travesty of justice that it didn’t make the final cut for Romantic Novel of the Year.  This one is rather different, a teeny bit darker in its theme, but every bit as enchanting. 

Ayesha and her daughter Sabina – who hasn’t spoken in some time, because of the violence she’s witnessed at home – find refuge with a most unusual household.  Hayden is a former pop star who became a recluse after problems with the spotlight and a personal tragedy. Crystal is a totally over-the-top tart with a heart, demeaning herself for money after a rough life has taken away her self- respect.  Joy is initially an old curmudgeon – but became one of my favourites by the end. Together they become a formidable force, supporting each other when trouble seeks them out.

I loved this book.  Initially I did wonder whether I’d like the characters – particularly OTT Crystal – but they all find their way to your heart.  It’s a book that makes you laugh, gasp and cry – and something a little different from the usual boy-meets-girl, never too heavy despite the domestic violence theme, but makes you think about the issues. Carole, you’re wonderful – and can you give me Hayden’s address so I can move in too please?

A Place To Call Home was published in paperback on 10 April by Sphere. It’s available in all usual formats, and – at the time of writing – the Kindle version is available for £2.99.

Carole Matthews is the Sunday Times bestselling author of twenty-six novels, including the Top Ten bestseller A Cottage By The Sea. In 2013 Carole was shortlisted for the Melissa Nathan award for Fiction about Life and Love and she was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy RoNA in 2012 and inducted into the Reader Hall of Fame by the inaugural Festival of romance. Her novels delight and dazzle readers all over the world. She is published in more than thirty countries and her books have sold to Hollywood. For all Carole’s latest news, visit her website and sign up for her regular newsletter, follow Carole on Twitter or join the thousands of readers (me included) who have become Carole’s friend on Facebook

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