I’m really delighted today to be helping launch the blog blitz for Finding Home by Kate Field, and to share my publication day review. Published by One More Chapter, it’s available for kindle from today, with the paperback to follow on 8th July. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the publishers for my advance reading e-copy (provided via netgalley).
Is it really a year since Kate’s last book? I’m such a fan of her writing, she unfailingly writes the kind of books I love to read, and I now feel I should just keep a space for her in my Books of the Year lists – in 2018 it was The Winter That Made Us that made my list (you’ll find my review of that one here), in 2019 it was The Man I Fell In Love With (review here), and then she did it yet again in 2020 with A Dozen Second Chances (review here). So you might just be able to guess that I was SO looking forward to this one…!
She might not have much in this world, but it cost nothing to be kind…
Meet Miranda Brown: you can call her Mim. She’s jobless, homeless and living in her car… but with a history like hers she knows she has a huge amount to be grateful for.
Meet Beatrice and William Howard: Bill and Bea to you. The heads of the Howard family and owners of Venhallow Hall, a sprawling seaside Devonshire estate… stranded in a layby five hours from home the night before their niece’s wedding.
When fate brings the trio together, Mim doesn’t think twice before offering to drive the affable older couple home. It’s not like she has anywhere else to be. But as the car pulls into the picturesque village of Littlemead, Mim has no idea how her life is about to change…
An uplifting story of found family and true love perfect for fans of Fern Britton and Veronica Henry.
After a lifetime of not belonging, Mim had found home once before – a man who kindly took her under his wing, a place to live, a job at a hotel – but she now finds herself jobless and homeless once more, sleeping in her car, her life packed away in the boot. When she comes across Bill and Bea, their car broken down in her usual overnight lay-by, who need to get home from Lancashire to Devon for a family wedding, she doesn’t hesitate in offering to drive them there. On arrival, she finds they live in the kind of luxury she could never have imagined – but with no room in the large house with all the wedding guests, they offer her a dilapidated caravan in the grounds to spend the night. That turns into a spell of waitressing for the wedding caterers, the idea that she really has no real reason to return North immediately, a job in the village shop so she can pay her way, a family who treat her with warmth and love – and then a perfect charity project to make use of those caravans in the grounds.
Don’t you just hate it when reviewers insist on telling you the story?! But this is very much the bare bones – it doesn’t begin to touch on the reasons why I found this a story so filled with warmth and love, a totally gorgeous read that had me entirely hooked from that first encounter in the lay-by. Mim herself is a wonderful character, and her initial act of kindness tells you all you need to know about her capacity for caring, despite her own difficult journey through life – although she’s considerably more reluctant to accept the kindness of others. I really liked, and understood, her spikiness: there’s a lot in this book about not judging people and making assumptions, and that works both ways, as she mistrusts the motives of the sprawling Howard family who are happy to make her part of their lives and begins by rejecting their many acts of generosity and kindness. But she has a big heart too – and shows it, when that germ of an idea for the development of the caravan site turns into a project that draws the community of Littlemead together.
The characters in this book are just wonderful – Mim herself with all her insecurities and excitement as she begins to embrace her new life and experiences, but also everyone else who crosses her path. I simply loved the Howard family, all the adult children with the Shakespearean names (Mim’s real name is Miranda, so she fits in well) – with a particular soft spot for Lia (that’s Cordelia, if we’re being formal), their ditsy and over-enthusiastic daughter. And then there’s their first-born, Corin, kicking back against the obligations and privileges of family, showing Mim that there can just be a downside to belonging. And I really have to mention Janet, the horrendous woman who runs the village shop – such a superb character.
The whole setting – the Venhallow estate, the village of Littlemead, the beach where Mim loves to swim and Corin introduces people to the joy of fossil collecting – is quite beautifully drawn, brought vividly to life. And then there’s the quite lovely romance – perhaps more obvious to the reader than the couple themselves at first, one of those supportive friendships that slowly grows, and I found it both convincing and very real.
This is one of those books with a perfect emotional touch – the warmth is palpable throughout, there’s a gentle humour, the conflict in the story feels entirely real, and I loved that focus on family and belonging. I really didn’t want it to end – and there were some tears before I got there, one of those perfect conclusions that leaves you totally uplifted and hoping for happiness for characters you’ve entirely taken to your heart. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every book I’ve read from Kate Field, but this one was something rather special. I recommend it most highly – I really loved it.
About the author
Kate writes contemporary women’s fiction, mainly set in her favourite county of Lancashire, where she lives with her husband, daughter and mischievous cat. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Kate’s debut novel, The Magic of Ramblings, won the RNA’s Joan Hessayon Award for new writers.