Home Truths by Freya North

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Home Truths by Freya North

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 2/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A bonkbuster with little in the way of plot and poor characterisation. It didn't appeal to Bookbag at all!
Buy? No Borrow? No
Pages: 464 Date: March 2006
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 0007180349

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Freya North was a name that I'd heard, but didn't know much about. I knew that she'd given up studying for her doctorate to write her first novel and I'd great hopes of some intelligent chick-lit. "Home Truths" arrived as a present and I settled down to read it with a degree of excitement.

Well, you can't win every time, can you?

This is the basic story. The three McCabe sisters, now in their thirties are all back in London. Cat, the youngest, has lived in America for the last three years or so. When they were very small their mother ran off with a cowboy from Denver, leaving them with their father who thoughtlessly died a few months later. They were brought up, rather unconventionally, by their Uncle Django McCabe. They haven't seen their mother since she left but she turns up at Django's seventy-fifth birthday party and spills two lots of beans: Django's name is really Derek and he's Cat's father rather than her uncle.

OK, it's going to be a bit of a shock and might lead you to say "goodness me" once or twice, but to me it didn't seem all that earth-shattering and the earth was certainly shattered for the three girls. A lot of people are known by names other than those they were given at birth. As for Django being Cat's father I really can't see why it should cause her to change just about everything she wanted in life. He'd brought her and her sisters up from the time that she'd been a few months old. He'd been her father to all intents and purposes and I couldn't understand - or the book didn't explain - why his being her father rather than her father's brother should have been so devastating.

Now I've got to confess that I came to this book without reading the three earlier books in the series - "Cat", "Fen" and "Pip". If I'd read them I might have thought the characters had a bit more depth and I might have found it easier to distinguish one from another. It wasn't helped by the fact that most of the main characters seem to have names which are three letters long. Cat is married to Ben, who's a doctor and this comes in handy when Django is seriously ill. Pip (she's a professional clown, by the way) is married to Zac, who has a young son, Tom, from an earlier liaison. Fen's partner, Matt, has thankfully sneaked an extra letter onto his name and they were quite indulgent in naming their daughter Cosima - presumably the result of a BOGOF at the Registry Office. Fen can only tear herself away from Cosima for the charms of Al (he's unprepossessing, so doesn't even merit a third letter) with whom she's intending to be unfaithful.

I found it difficult to care what was happening to any of them. There's a lot of sex, sometimes page after page of it, but it wasn't well-written and there wasn't a single occasion when I felt even a frisson of excitement. It was simply boring and eventually I found myself skimming through the worst of it. There was no feeling of chemistry, just that it was all rather messy. I was left thinking, not of the pleasure, but of the washing.

If the plot's weak and the sex indifferent then the dialogue is poor. Calling your wife "Mrs" isn't endearing, it's irritating. Sometimes conversations are so drawn out, so over-detailed that I wanted to scream at them to get on with it. How much planning does it really take for three men to organise telling their wives/partners some bad news? You might be surprised.

You won't be surprised to learn that it all works out pretty much as you would have expected. People who don't want babies suddenly change their minds, (excuse for more sex) jobs miraculously appear in the correct locations and everyone's happy. There's some mildly interesting information about prostate cancer and the associated medical tests, but beyond that the book didn't give me anything. There are 464 pages to be got through and I only read to the end in the hope of improvement. It didn't come. A good editor could have reduced the book by half and it might have been a reasonable, if light-weight, read.

Even the cover's insipid.

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Buy Home Truths by Freya North at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Home Truths by Freya North at Amazon.com.


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Ursula Connelly said:

Fairly accurate, I was dissapointed in this book, thinking it would be similar to Marian Keyes or Celia Ahern, but it took far to long to get anywhere! I had never read any of Freya's books before, and thought it would be light holiday material. It wasn't!

Beverley Kerry said:

Despite the unfavourable review, I gave this book a go and was very pleasantly surprised. I found it very true to life and blackly humourous.

Beverley Kerry said:

I haven't read Home Truths. In all honesty, I read one of Freya's books, her first I think, called Sally and it was so tepid a read that I relegated her authordom to the Barbara Taylor Bradford pile (I realise, of course, that there are people on this planet who cannot live without another turgid tale set in wind-swept wherever from her Bradfordness, but I am not one of them).

I thought the story was dull, the character obviously a carbon etching of Freya herself - I feel most chick-lit authors fall into the trap with their first novel of painting the heroine of the piece as a perfected version of themselves usually looking beautiful with "honeyed complexion" and wearing "caramel cashmere" and no black roots, but I digress... I have no reason to doubt your obvious insight and shall not bother with her latest effort even if I was tempted to read the cover blurb whilst in the airport last week.

Kyrusha Govender said:

hi, this is Kyrusha Govender all the way from South Africa. overall the book was no doubt boring and common.