Cover Image: Reluctantly Home

Reluctantly Home

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I received a pre-publication copy of 'Reluctantly Home' , which I very much enjoyed reading. The plot is quite “twisty-turny” as it follows two lives. I don’t want to give anything else away, suffice to say it is a real page turner. I would highly recommend this book.
Was this review helpful?
Evelyn and Pip, returned home to a small town in Suffolk due to unexpected circumstances, generations apart. Evelyn returned home in the 1980s, Pip more recently. The book starts using a dual timeline and then the present day. It is ultimately a feel good story which considering the back stories reflects how well it is written. Evelyn and Pip, although not entirely likeable, developed before my eyes and their relationship was ultimately positive for them both. There are some themes that are addressed that some readers may find upsetting. Abortion, child deaths etc.

It was a well written book and worth a read.

My thanks to NetGalley for a free early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I have posted in my own book group (instagram and fb), 2 book groups local to me and 2 book groups nationally. I have posted on good reads too.
Was this review helpful?
Imogen Clark has done it again! Reluctantly Home weaves together the stories of two women from the same small English village showing us their similarities and differences and how they form a bond based on the experiences that brought huge upheaval to the lives they had carefully forged for themselves. Both had escaped to London to find something bigger and better, and both returned due to unexpected circumstances. Ms. Clark gives us a beautiful story populated by real people who draw you in from the first page. While the ending was quite satisfying, I genuinely wanted more. If I never know what happens next, I will choose to believe they found their happily ever after and that Evelyn and Pip meet once a month in the window of a quintessentially English café to share a coffee and their latest adventures.  Ms. Clark is a master at writing relatable, real characters who draw the reader in, while her plots are beautifully constructed. I have read all of her books and am eagerly looking forward to where she will take me next!
Was this review helpful?
Pip Appleby's career is a success. She's working her way up.to the top. But one day, absolutely unexpectedly, tragedy strikes and all of a sudden, her world collapses. She returns home, a home she'd been eager to leave when she was young. A home she was ashamed to show. A life she 'd been ready to forget.
Evelyn Mountcastle''s dream was to be an actress. She moved to London and was casted for a role that was the ticket to play in the big leagues. But her dream remained just like that... Like a dream. Reality presented itself a bit different as planned, and she found herself coming back home, even when it was the last thing she thought she would do in her life.
Both women, although going through different situations, found themselves walking along similar paths. Will they find the way to find peace at last? Will they be able to leave tragedy in the past and move toward the future?
There's an item that can open the door. And it's in their hands.
This is a beautiful story. Full of humanity and randomness. And the author made a great job combining both of them. The characters are so much adorable, even in their weaknesses. And the pace, going back and forth works like a charm. Never confusing, always enlightening.
It's not my first book from Imogen Clark and it will not be the last. 

Thank you Netgalley for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Title: Reluctantly Home
Author: Imogen Clark
Publisher: Amazon Publishing UK
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Five
Review:
"Reluctantly Home" by Imagen Clark

My Opinion:

"Reluctantly Home" was a well-written story of how two women suffered from awful events that greatly affected their lives. 'Reluctantly' will capture one's attention from the beginning to the end.

I enjoyed how this author puts these two women [generations apart] together by losing a diary that brought them together and how each of their stories helps them in so many ways through a developed friendship. For each of them...Pip and Evelyn there was 'loss, anxiety, trauma, acceptance, and finally moving on with their lives.' One can see how when life offers you lemons. One can still move on. It was a beautiful read of how each of these individuals was able to help one another, forgive their past, and maybe even find happiness in the future that had dealt with issues of a child's death and mental illness.

Thanks to NetGalley for the free ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I gave this book 5 stars, firstly because the first chapter had so much energy I actually felt as though I was in the middle of all the action.

The second reason is that I fell in love with the character of Evelyn Mountcastle. My heart broke over and over at the hand she had been dealt and the way people treated her. She is a woman who I will remember for a long time.

Unfortunately, I was not as captivated with Pip Appleby. If the author’s intention was to make her so snobby that she felt her family and the place where she was born was beneath her, then that definitely came across. Although Pip did redeem herself a little along the way, I think the path she eventually went down, although not to my liking, was very much in keeping with her character.

Imogen Clark has approached the issue of sexual abuse in the 70s in a sensitive but pragmatic way which is so in keeping with that era. She writes with the utmost compassion, honesty and intelligence about the subject of death and the hurt, anger and sense of loss which follows.

This is not an easy book to read, which makes it all the more worthy of setting aside time to delve into the friendship between Pip and Evelyn.
Was this review helpful?
After a horrific accident, Rose "Pip" Appleby returns home with her 'tail between her legs'. She worked hard to become one of the top human rights attorneys in London, leaving her small town life in the rearview mirror. To return to the life she thought left behind is, for her, a step down and humiliating. 

Now working as a sales clerk at a local thrift store, Pip happens upon an old diary. She begins to read it and sees some commonality with the writer and her current situation. She later finds out the owner of the diary is a once actess, and local, named Evelyn Mountcastle. She also learns that Evelyn still resides there in town. What is there for Pip to do but seek Evelyn out and return her diary and see if she is willing to talk to her about the words written on the pages. Can speaking with Evelyn help heal her heart and ease the guilt she feels? 

Well this is another one that wasn't quite what I expected and one I ended up enjoying. It's about life and accidents that happen and how those accidents can sometimes define us. After a while though, there are choices to make .. do we let the accidents keep defining who we are and let the pain and guilt run our lives? Or do we find a way to dig deep and heal. Do we heal alone or try to reach out and share our hearts .. our fears .. and let others help in that healing. Friendships, even unexpected ones, are a wonderful addition to life. They can make life bearable and the craziest moments seem like a memory. 

This was a delightful read and one I wholeheartedly recommend. I appreciate the publisher and NetGalley for providing me a copy of this E-Book. All opinions expressed herein are mine and mine alone.
Was this review helpful?
Hard work, a successful career, a nice home, and a handsome boyfriend don't always guarantee a happy ending.  When Pip is involved in a fatal accident, her world comes crashing down and she heads home to the country.  She discovers a diary written years previously by an actress who has dropped out of sight.  When they finally meet,  they have more in common than Pip expected, and form a friendship that helps them both to move into a happier future.
Was this review helpful?
Another beautifully told, heart-tugger of a story from Imogen Clarke. 

Two women, two generations apart, linked by tragedy: human rights barrister Pip and actress Evelyn. Both returned under a cloud to their small-town roots from the success and bright lights of London. Both, burdened by guilt, stuck in a void, unable to face the future. 

Their separate stories are told in two timelines — Pip’s in the present and Evelyn’s in the late 1970s (and through her diaries)  — and are equally compelling.  But it’s when their two paths meet and merge into one that the real depth of the narrative emerges, as the two women face their demons and find in each other kindred, damaged spirits who can heal together. 

Ultimately, this is, I feel, a story about friendship. About how it can crop up in the unlikeliest of places and between the unlikeliest of people. And Clarke explores this notion with a warmth and insight that is a delight to read. 

But there are other layers, too. Other themes that are equally as thought provoking: the idea of “home”, where it is, what it is. Is it a physical place, or a feeling?  A place to escape from, or a place to run to?

And the “Me too” movement: how perceptions of socially acceptable behavior can change dramatically in the space of one or two generations. As a contemporary of Evelyn, there was so much of this that I could relate to, and I applaud Clarke for understanding this and handling it so sensitivity.

I love a reading journey that winds up in a place where you can close the book with a contented sigh. But one, too, that stays with you a while, hovering on the edge of your subconscious, nudging you to ponder and reflect. And this was just the ticket.
Was this review helpful?
Two women fighting for breaking their ties s with their hometown and wanting to succeed in London. But tragedy bring them back to town and they feel trapped. Can they help each other break free from their fears and struggle and have a second chance in life? A really wonderful story.
Was this review helpful?
A maybe /ought to read for any parent of a reluctant returner or the reluctant returner themselves ( as a parent of two boomerang returners ). However most do so for more prosaic reasons than our Reluctantly Home  Pip who has a very upsetting reason of her own that led to a devastating effect on her work, social, romantic and most of all her mental health. 
A chance find in the charity shop she volunteers in leads to her subsequent return to a happier frame of mind and life.  On the way she realises how supportive and wonderful her parents are ( hurrah ) and not the over protective busybodies she felt them to be previously ( thanks Imogen, from a supportive not over protective mum ). An altogether nicely put together story which will hold your interest from start to finish, thank you Netgalley, author and publisher for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Pip Appleby is a success by anyone’s standards.  She has an enviable job as a human rights barrister, a model-handsome boyfriend, and an address in Shoreditch.  Everything has lined up perfectly for her...until an accident takes everything away in a second.  She shelves her expensive red-soled heels and retreats to her family’s farm.  Her new life is a far cry from her old one—surrounded by farmland, and relegated to selling items in a charity shop.  Her life is now lived in fear and although she is surrounded by family, she feels lost.  

Evelyn Montcastle was once a rising actress, whose past is shrouded in mystery.  Her diary is found by Pip in the charity shop and it opens up a mystery for her.  Who is the mysterious Evelyn whose life seems tragic, and sad, and somehow parallels her own?  The women meet and they start to unravel the mystery of each other’s past.  Then slowly each woman gives the other what she needs to help understand the past and move into the future.

I loved this book of exploring the past and facing the future.  The characters were also well-written and it was hard not to love both Pip and Evelyn.  So many lessons in this book, and beneath it all the thread of the friend who accepts you for who you are (despite your past) and supports you.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book. While there weren't really any surprises with the plot, I appreciated the story nonetheless. I felt the recognition and healing of two broken people very keenly as I read this book.
Was this review helpful?
Sometimes the strongest friendships arise from the unlikeliest of circumstances.

Damaged, fragile Pip has returned to her childhood home in exile while she takes time to mentally recover from a tragic, traumatic accident.  In the course of her job at a thrift shop, she finds a diary that changes her life and facilitates her healing. The more Pip learns about the author, the more determined she is to find her. Of course, the author of this diary has her own story.

Evelyn, the diarist, has her own rather traumatic story that she must come to terms with. I found both of these women engaging and realistic. Their situations were all too real and I found it totally believable the way in which each dealt with their situation. As their friendship developed, you can't help but pull for them both to come out on top of their troubles.

A lovely book, a serious book, with a strong message of support, love, friendship, and healing. Thank you to Imogen Clark, NetGalley, and the publisher for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, but I enjoyed it.  It centers around two different women who each return home for totally different reasons decades apart.  Rose/Pip is involved in an accident, in which a young boy dies.  She was not at fault, but the guilt eats at her.  When she has a breakdown at work, she reluctantly returns home and tries to heal.  Evelyn is on the cusp of stardom, but she returns home and stays.  Pip finds a diary detailing some of Evelyn’s life and reads it.  When she finally decides to meet with Evelyn, this is where the story gets interesting.  Too bad it was like two-thirds of way into the book.  If you don’t have to have a definite happily ever after, you will enjoy this book.  I didn’t care for the ending myself, but that’s just me.  

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from NetGalley and this is my voluntary and honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I struggled with the first half of the book and thought about not finishing it.  But once I got to the second half of the book, I fell in love with it and wanted that section to be even longer.

I really enjoyed the characters of Pip and Evelyn.

Thanks so much to netgalley and the publisher for the arc.  The opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
This is a well written and well described book.  Pip’s life was built on a stack of cards and when one of them was pulled by a hideous tragedy, the whole lot came down and she had to return to the life she had tried to escape.  The same occurred with Evelyn but in a different way and time.  This is a story of hope and friendship and how talking will always help.  Would recommend.
Was this review helpful?
In RELUCTANTLY HOME, Imogen Clark shares the story of Pip and Evelyn. Reluctantly, Pip has returned to the small town, the farm and the family that she abandoned years ago for an exciting life in London as Rose, successful barrister and perfectly turned out woman. A terrible, unavoidable accident for which Pip blames herself has reduced her to an incapable wreck, prone to panic attacks and unable to connect, to feel, to think for herself. The chance reading of a diary of an aspiring actress who has also returned to that tiny village and lived shut up and isolated for decades leads to the meeting of Pip and Evelyn, two broken women who share their stories and together create new perspectives that allow them to return to the world of the living as their fullest, most creative, and loving selves.  This was a propulsive read, fluid and wonderfully rendered with the different points of view and timelines that create a vibrant and enjoyable world.  Kudos to Clark for yet another wonderful novel.  I received an advance reader copy of this novel from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?
I hadn't expected this book to be quite so light and frothy.  It is a rather sweet, feel-good book, which will appeal to a lot of people.  However, I found it full of cliche, with rather shallow characters who are all either good or bad.  Perhaps I have just been unlucky with all the barristers I have ever worked with, but none of them have been anywhere near as sweet as Pip.
Was this review helpful?
At first I thought this story might be a bit too gentle for my tastes but instead I found it was a clever exploration of how people can be trapped by the stories they tell themselves rather than how others would see the same set of circumstances.

I was drawn to the book because it features a diary and I can't resist the opportunity to nose inside a diary, fictional or not! When this particular diary falls into the hands of Pip, former barrister currently working in a charity shop, she starts to read.

The diary belonged to Evelyn Mountcastle who had also had to return to Southwold back some forty years previously. Finding out about her life helps Pip come to terms with the changes to her own.

A satisfying tale  that warmed my heart.
Was this review helpful?