Cover Image: Reluctantly Home

Reluctantly Home

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What a lovely book I didn't want it to end. Heartwarming, wonderfully written, bittersweet in parts. A recommended read.
Was this review helpful?
Such a moving story. Relatable characters and realistic storylines. A unputdownable read filled with heart ache and feel good
Was this review helpful?
This was a tricky book to put down!

I thought that it was a beautiful read! 

The two characters were interesting, authentic and relatable.

A very cleverly written and constructed story, the way that the two main female characters loves are entwined.

I really enjoyed it!
Was this review helpful?
Pip Appleby has a great life. Living in London, working as a Barrister and living with her successful boyfriend. Until the day she has an accident and ends up killing a child. Having a hard time coping, she returns home to take a break and try to get herself back on track. She volunteers at a local thrift shop, where she comes across a diary that is left as a donation. She takes the diary home and realizes it was written by Evelyn Mountcastle, a local woman, once an actress, that is now shrouded in mystery. 

Pip reads the diary and soon becomes convinced that she has to meet Evelyn and find out all the answers to the questions that have arisen from the diary.

This book tells Evelyn's story in the past and Pip's in the future, and then seamlessly blends them together. This is a very sweet and touching story and i very well written. I highly recommend this book!

Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book
Was this review helpful?
Pip is a London barrister, living with her boyfriend, until a traumatic event leads to her returning home to Southwold.  When Pip finds a diary in a charity shop, she desperately wants to find the owner of the diary, as she and Evelyn have much in common.  Experiencing grief and unable to move on, these two women help each other rediscover how to live.  I really enjoyed it and recommend to lovers of women’s fiction, books that discuss serious topics but provide hope.  Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Well written, had me interested from the beginning. Loved the characters. 
4 stars
Thank you to NetGalley and the Author and publisher for a copy of this book. 
The Opinions expressed are my own
Was this review helpful?
Imogen Clark is a perceptive, versatile novelist whose earlier novels I have enjoyed, so I was delighted to receive a free ARC of this, her latest output. There are two main female characters at the heart of this novel: Pip, a human rights lawyer in London with an enviable lifestyle, and Evelyn Mountcastle, an actress whose journals Pip discovers by chance. Both women suffer tragedy that forces them to return to their earlier homes in Suffolk, and in an interesting twist on the usual plot of one character simply exploring the diary of a another, Pip and Evelyn actually get to meet. Other reviews of this novel have commented on its pessimistic notes, but I would argue that the novel is simply a brilliant exploration of how two very different women deal with trauma and emotional pain. Warmly recommended!
Was this review helpful?
Pip Appleby seems to have it all until a tragic accident stops her life in its tracks. She retreats to her family’s rural farm where she's haunted by the past she tried to escape. While volunteering at the local thrift shop, she discovers the diary of actress Evelyn Mountcastle. Both women seem to have much in common. But when their paths cross, will they be able to connect and move forward despite their past?
I enjoyed the writing and flow of this book. It's easy to read and kept my attention. The author also reveals the backstory in a way that's easy to understand. In places, I thought the story was a bit cliche. But overall, I liked both Pip and Evelyn and the ending for both of these strong women.
Was this review helpful?
Reluctantly Home really got to my heart. Pip feeling responsible for a boys death. Evelyn losing her child. I loved the relationship they formed and kind of wish more of the book was dedicated to it. Beautiful characters.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! No spoilers. Beyond amazing I enjoyed this book so very much. The characters and storyline were fantastic. The ending I did not see coming  Could not put down nor did I want to. Truly Amazing and appreciated the whole story. This is going to be a must read for many many readers. Maybe even a book club pick.
Was this review helpful?
Reluctantly Home by Imogen Clarke is the story of two women who have had their lives changed by tragedy. Pip, when she accidentally knocks over a child who dies and her guilt overwhelms her and causes a move back home and a break from her career. She meets up with Evelyn who is a recluse, after the death of her child. I found this an interesting read and the two main characters were intriguing and it was good to see how they changed and forgave themselves, after meeting.
Highly recommended
Was this review helpful?
Reluctantly Home tells two stories in parallel: the present day reality for Pip and the past tale of Evelyn. Their narratives become interwoven as the two characters meet when Pip is forced to return home to Southwold from London following a tragedy.

The premise of this book was intriguing and usually I love the cleverness of an interwoven story, but Reluctantly Home fell flat for me. Whilst I held on until the end to see whether my predictions were correct, I already knew they would be by the nature of the book.

Perhaps it's best described as a "holiday read" in that it's easy to pick up and follow. But I think I wanted more intrigue, more twists and turns, and more character development. The first chapter packed a punch but the rest was a disappointing, predictable tale.
Was this review helpful?
Pip and Evelyn both experienced life changing events regarding a child and as a result withdrew themselves from society because they no longer knew how to move forward. They had been someone whether it be a barrister or an actress but did they truly find happiness in the most simplistic of actions? I would disagree no. In finding each other, they found the reason to live again. They no longer had to hide behind the pretenses of whom they thought they should be.
Was this review helpful?
When Pip Appleby returns home to Southwold after a tragic accident in London, she struggles to adjust. She finds the diary of actress Evelyn Hardcastle, who herself had to return home to Southwold, & realises they have something in common.

I loved everything about this book. The characters of Pip & Evelyn were wonderfully written (so much so that I'm hoping for a sequel to see how they are getting on). I loved the dual timeline of 2019 and 1979 & how two characters came together when they needed each other most.

My favourite Imogen Clark novel so far (and they have all been fabulous).
Was this review helpful?
A young woman returns to the countryside after a terrible accident. As she tries to find a way forward in life, she meets a senior citizen who can relate to her situation. The friendship the two form gives them each courage to move on from their respective tragedies. Author Imogen Clark brings sweetness and heart to this quiet story in her latest novel Reluctantly Home.

Philippa “Pip” Appleby thought she had everything she needed for a high-flying life in London: the drop-dead gorgeous boyfriend, a flat in one of the most desired postal codes in the city, and a career as an up-and-coming lawyer. In an instant, though, all of that changes when she’s in a car accident that leaves a child dead. Gripped by panic attacks and unable to function in court anymore, Pip retreats to her childhood home in the country town of Southwold. 

For six months, Pip finds herself restless yet also scared. She can’t drive anymore, that’s for sure, but riding her bike everywhere is just a constant reminder of the accident. Her parents love her dearly and are concerned for her, but they’re not quite sure how to help. 

It was a huge change when Pip first went to the city with her dreams that were bigger than the family farm and her insistence that everyone start calling her by her middle name, Rose. Now she’s home and everything’s changed again. Her parents refuse to call her Rose; for them she’ll always and forever be Pip. And that, along with life in a small town, is driving Pip a little batty.

To keep herself occupied, she gets a part-time job in a local charity store where people drop off their used items for sale. As Pip sorts through a box one day, she comes across a diary from the year 1983. Desperate for an escape, Pip dives into the circumstances of one Evelyn Mountcastle. It seems like Evelyn was an actress at one point and then the mother to a young child, but then she experiences two major life changes. The story is left incomplete, though, by the end of the diary. 

Driven to find out what happened to Evelyn, Pip goes looking for her and finds her still in Southwold. As the two form a tentative relationship that develops into a bond, Pip discovers that tragedy can strike anyone at any time. What matters most, though, is what the person does next.

Author Imogen Clark finds moments of gentleness and humor in this lovely tale about an older woman and a younger one meeting and forming a wonderful friendship. Pip’s constant guilt about her accident rings true. Her panic and her despair feel authentic, and readers will find themselves sympathizing with Pip in many places in the book.
Evelyn, too, is equally likeable. In a fresh twist, Evelyn takes responsibility for the events leading up to her own personal challenges. While the book touches on modern themes, Clark stays true to the attitudes of the book’s timeline. The result is a story that shares the truth of women like Evelyn without sounding preachy or apologetic.

If the novel can be faulted anywhere, it’s in the rushed opening and closing. Readers don’t get much of a chance to settle in with Pip before the accident that sends her home to Southwold. Likewise, toward the end, once her friendship with Evelyn is established, the plot moves quickly to resolve everything with nice, neat bows. Because the rest of the book is so enjoyable, however, readers will probably be willing to overlook the somewhat hurried pacing.

In the end, the book reminds its target audience that there’s nothing wrong with going home again. Fans of women’s fiction and books about friendships will like this one. I recommend readers Bookmark Reluctantly Home.
Was this review helpful?
The story has a good premise. There are two timelines. In 2019 Pip runs a child over with her car and is haunted by it, feeling guilt even though she wasn't at fault. She is a human rights lawyer in London and develops panic attacks which prompts her to take of leave of absence. She goes home to Southwold. The second timeline is 1979. Evelyn Mountcastle is an actress in London and just got the big break she had been working towards for 10 years but when gets pregnant. She returns to Southwold to live with her sister with the hopes of raising her child and going back to work when she reaches school age.

I didn't really care for either Pip or Evelyn although I did grow to like them more towards the end. Pip was embarrassed by her parents and life on the farm but when she went back she walked around like a sulky teenager and not appreciating what they were doing for her. With the severe panic attacks she was having I didn't understand why she wasn't seeing a therapist. It was 2019, it seemed a logical conclusion rather than hoping that with time they would go away.

When Evelyn got pregnant single mothers weren't entirely accepted especially in a small town like Southwold. Evelyn went back with no job or money coming in and expecting her sister to support her until she went back to work. Knowing that her sister, Joan, had a mean streak and very judgmental why did Evelyn think Joan would be fine with supporting her?

Pip was volunteering at a charity shop and in a box of paperbacks donated she finds a diary and Pip discovers that Evelyn is the writer. I thought the way they found each other was interesting. I wouldn't mind living in a small town like Southwold. People cared about each other. Pip and Jez was just filler and for me added nothing to the overall story although I did like Jez.

I would like to thank Netgalley and Amazon Publishing UK for the opportunity to read this book.
Was this review helpful?
Reluctantly Home is a wonderful story about rebuilding a life from the ashes and the surprisingly positive turns that life can take.

We learn the story of two women - Pip and Evelyn - both haunted by a tragedy and both merely existing. When Pip stumbles across an old diary, she feels inexorably compelled to trace the owner and together they find a way to forgive themselves and start living again.

Brilliantly written and so heart-warming, I adored every word.
Was this review helpful?
An interesting book which initially I struggled to get into but it was definitely worth persevering with and by the end I was wishing it to go on.
A story about two women both of whom had been through traumatic events and both struggling to come to terms by going and hiding away, but together they find a solution which is really encouraging.
It is well written and flows well.
Was this review helpful?
A little difficult to initially get into but well worth persevering with as as the story unfolds you learn more about pip and that in life things iate always worth fighting for as you never know when things may change.
Definitely a warm ending with lots of scope for a sequel
Was this review helpful?
Following a tragic accident Pip returns home to her parents to recover. When she finds a diary belonging to an actress she feels compelled to read it. Has fate played a hand in this as the diary owner is clearly suffering like Pip. She tracks down Evelyn and the most unlikely friendship materialises. Can they help each other recover? A thoroughly enjoyable read making you see that life can get better if you let it.
Was this review helpful?