Homecoming by Susie Steiner

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Homecoming by Susie Steiner

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Jo Heffer
Reviewed by Jo Heffer
Summary: Ann and Joe have run their sheep farm for more than thirty years of their married life. It's not always been easy but it’s something to be proud of and hopefully a legacy for their sons, Max and Bartholomew. One winter though, everything goes wrong and the family face a crisis. Will they be able to pull together and save their livelihood or will they lose everything?
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 295 Date: April 2013
Publisher: Faber and Faber
ISBN: 9780571297191

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Ann and Joe Hartle are approaching their sixties and hoping to slow down a little. Their sheep farming life is starting to take its toll and it’s an enticing thought that they may be able to pass the farm on to their son Max. The only problem is that the farm is hardly making any profit and Max is not the most capable person in the world. Added to that, Max’s wife Primrose is expecting a baby and that is not without its difficulties. The Hartle’s other son, Bartholomew, is far away in London trying to run his own business and also scared about committing to his girlfriend, Ruby. The family has started to fall apart over the years but when things go badly wrong on the farm including a barn fire and a virus that spreads through the sheep and newborn lambs, there is the opportunity to pull together and start anew. Is this something that the family can do or will they fall apart even more?

I enjoyed the gentle, easygoing way in which this book was written. There is something about it that draws the reader in and hooks them in order to keep on reading. This, in some ways surprised me, as I didn’t really feel that a lot happened although I did feel that I learned quite a lot about sheep. The book has a number of good and bad points about it though. At its heart, I felt there was a gritty realism that portrayed very well how difficult the Hartles’ lives were like on the farm. As I was reading, I found myself becoming involved in their humdrum way of life and the sad inevitability of their losing all they had worked for over the years.

Although I liked the main characters, I didn’t think that the author allowed the reader to get to know them very well. I particularly wanted to get to know Primrose better as she promised to be a very interesting character with her boring marriage to Max and her love of all things electrical. I wanted the author to provide more details about these characters, their relationships with one another and what made them tick.

Having said that though, overall, this is an enjoyable book, and as a début novel it promises more for the future.

Why not also take a look at Wife in the North by Judith O'Reilly and The Deception Artist by Fayette Fox?

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Buy Homecoming by Susie Steiner at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Homecoming by Susie Steiner at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Homecoming by Susie Steiner at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Homecoming by Susie Steiner at Amazon.com.


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