Cover Image: Reluctantly Home

Reluctantly Home

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Thank you to Amazon Publishing UK and NetGalley for this advance copy.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it in one sitting.  I thought I might have difficulty getting into the story as I didn't warm to the main characters, both of whom seemed self-absorbed at first.  However, there were many themes present in the story - escape from one's roots and return, reinvention, tragedy, friendship, recovery and even a touch of the MeToo movement - all of which the author competently brings together in a compelling story.

Although the book deals with very difficult topics, having had first-hand experience with the issues of child death and mental illness, I felt that the author handled them deftly and sympathetically, bringing together 2 damaged and broken women who help each other to heal and go on to live life beyond their tragedies.  I would definitely recommend this book.
Was this review helpful?
Pip was going through one of the worst moments of her life. It had been six months since the accident that changed her life so drastically, but she felt worse and worse. She was so ashamed of her humble origins that she never imagined she would live with her parents again. She felt so sorry for herself and for the situation she was in. She had no strength or courage to resume her life and face her problems. She uses any excuse to postpone the inevitable.

Finding Evelyn’s diary gave her the chance to take refuge in someone else’s life while leaving hers on hold. Although at first she had many doubts about what to do with it, curiosity and her personal situation prevailed over reason. And without being fully aware, this fact marked the much-needed turning point in her life.

What began as a distraction turned into an obsession for Pip. Who was the owner of the diary? Why did she feel that strong connection to her?

Comprised by short chapters Reluctangly home occurs in two plot threads. In 2019 the story of Pip takes place while that of Evelyn Mountcastle takes place in the 80s. It also has the peculiarity that Evelyn’s life comes to us sometimes through the entries in the diary that Pip reads and in others it is Evelyn herself who tells us her story.

30 years separates them in time but both women have more in common than they could ever imagine. With great personality and a goal to achieve, both were going for their goal when an unexpected turn made them rethink their lives. Independent women who nevertheless need family approval and recognition from others to be happy.

Reluctangly home is very well built, with powerful and well-characterized characters that move us and invite us to occupy their shoes before judging them. It is a novel with a very emotional plot, with a bit of suspense and unexpected twists that are based on the small details that the author is leaving us to notice in an imperceptible way. Details that once finished reading the novel, we realize the important role they play.

An intense reading that has left me with very good feelings and unforgettable emotional moments. 
Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
Well written heart wrenching book of people trapped by tragedy. Tragedies that they are suffering from& the healing they need.Well written involving emotional will be recommending.#netgalley #amazonpublishinguk
Was this review helpful?
Reluctantly Home is story about grief, trauma and friendship. I had a hard time reading this story. It deals with child death and trauma. I'm not sure I would have picked this one up If I knew this. However, I did enjoy the story after I moved past this. It's a story of a unique friendship forged in grief. The writing was good and I enjoyed the characters.
Was this review helpful?
IMOGEN CLARK – RELUCTANTLY HOME

I read this novel in advance of publication through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

This is a story of parallel lives, and, although I don’t wear one, I would eat my hat if it didn’t become another 100,000 best seller like Imogen Clark’s other novels.

Two women’s lives are devastated, one, Pip, in the present, a high-powered successful young lawyer, going about her daily business, when tragedy strikes; the other, Evelyn, back in the 70s and now aged 70, a naive aspiring actress who reluctantly succumbs to the casting couch.

Pip is distraught after what happens to her, and reluctantly goes back home to the family farm near the seaside town Southwold, Suffolk, where, by coincidence, Evelyn still lives, though as a recluse. 

Evelyn’s inheritance-seeking relative throws out by accident one volume of a set of personal diaries that Evelyn wrote in the 80s, and, by chance, it ends up in Pip’s hands. Reading it, she realises the tragic parallels in their lives and seeks to find her and return the diary. And this is their story. 

Attitudes towards women by men in the television industry, about what was acceptable in the 70s compared with the present, is dealt with very adroitly, through the two friends.

Without giving away more of the plot away, this is another of her page turners, with sympathetically drawn characters, with fascinating and tragic backgrounds, and with a generous supporting cast. 

In short, this is a novel I can recommend without reservation.
Was this review helpful?
A story of two women caught up in the messy circle of their lives trying to find a way out. I liked how Pip and Evelyn each had their own stories, and how the novel showed that with a little help from friends we can find our paths again.
Was this review helpful?
Returning to the family farm after a tragic accident, Rose is forced to accept a quieter life away from her law practice and her active social life in London with her successful Queen's Council fiancé, Dominic. On the farm, Rose loses her identity, even being called Pip, a childhood nickname.  Finding a diary in the Have a Heart Thrift store, leads to Pip's discovery of another life that somewhat parallels her own. Exploring past lives as she reads through the pages keeps Pip and the reader guessing. Set in the bucolic English countryside, the mystery unravels for fans of cozy fiction.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you so much for a pre-publication look at Reluctantly Home to Lake Union and the author in exchange for an honest review.

I had not previously read Imogen Clark but I intend to correct that omission. This novel was a refreshing take on the MeToo Movement.  Having found a diary in a box of books while unpacking thrift shop donations, Pip can't help her curiosity and takes it home to read.

Pip's own situation is precarious.  She suffers from panic attacks after having hit and killed a child who ran in from of her car.  Despite her inability to avoid the accident, Pip, filled with guilt,  has come home to her parents' farm to recover.  She has left her job as a barrister in London and is back in the bosom of her family. It's not easy.

The MeToo aspect enters in the diary  a story of Evelyn Mountcastle, a TV actress in the 70s. Evelyn, it turns out, became pregnant in a couch casting incident where she was forced to have sex with a producer which changed her life.  It is Evelyn's explanation of how this kind of abuse was expected and  accepted in the past on which this story hinges.

Ultimately, it is a story of how friendship and empathy can create healing and change lives.  And Imogen Clark is so very good at involving us in the process. (Aside:  for those of us who are not Brits, Clark's repetitive use of the word "whilst" gets a bit wearing.  I began counting them till I lost count.)
Was this review helpful?
I received an e-ARC through Netgalley.
This book contains scenes of child danger and mental illness. 
This book is told from 2 different POV of 2 women in very different times, Evelyn in the 1970s-80s, and Pip who is born in 1990. They both experience traumatic events and return home to a place they couldn't wait to escape from. The book brings them together and helps them heal. The book kept my interest throughout and wrapped up pretty well although I was expecting a little more closure with Jez, but maybe there will be a sequel.
Was this review helpful?
Very well told story of two people trapped by tragedies and how in a struck of luck or fate they help each other out, restoring what was lost. #ReluctantlyHome
Was this review helpful?
The premise of this book, exploring how people become trapped and unable to move forward because of events in their lives, is good. I felt the book was slow, especially in the first third of the book. I was pleased with the ending. I received an arc of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Not bad. Pretty fast read. Loved Evelyn’s story. Pip was ok. She grew on me the farther the story progressed. Good story about forgiveness, redemption and finding your own way.
Was this review helpful?
This book was not at all what I expected.

TW: Child death, Mental health

After a terrible accident and series of public panic attacks, Pip returns to her home town in hopes of healing. While volunteering at a thrift store, she finds a diary from 1983. Instead of returning it to it’s rightful owner right away, she reads it. Feeling a connection with the author, she becomes determined to get to know her.

Like I said, this book wasn't what I was expecting, if I had realized that it included the death of children, I probably wouldn't have read it.

It was an alright story, written well. Two women bond over separate, but shared trauma. Probably not something I would actively recommend though

*Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for this eARC
Was this review helpful?
Lives can intersect at surprising moments.  Sometimes you find a friend precisely when you need one the most. An up and coming young barrister in London is on her way to court. A child darts out in front of her car and in an unavodable accident, is killed. Phillippa Rose Appleby is traumatized. In spite of reassurance from investigating officers and passersby, she cannot move past this moment. She falls apart in court and moves back home to recuperate from the tragedy. Being back with Mom and Dad is a blessing and a curse. No one really knows how to help her move on.  While sorting books at her volunteer job, Pip finds a diary. Knowing that this was either a mistake or intended for the trash, she decides to look inside and determine the owner's name.  Once she has opened it, she decides to read a little, hoping the boring life of the diarist will take her mind off of her own troubles.

The owner of the diary is Evelyn Mountcastle, an actress on the brink of success.  She has been to a party where she was fortunate enough to capture the attention of a director casting for a new show. She does well at the screen test and is told she will have to audition for the director. Her audition is to take place in the director's suite.  After plying her with alcohol, the director has sex with her. Evelyn finds out that she has the part, a major breakthrough for her career. As rehearsals begin, she discovers that the audition with the director has resulted in being pregnant. Evelyn quits her job and returns to her family home to raise her child. Her sister is unwelcoming but Evelyn is determined to endure. 

As Pip reads Evelyn's diary she is left with questions that do not seem to have an answer. She returns the diary to Evelyn. These two damaged souls recognize something in each other that brings them together. As they begin a friendship, both begin to heal. Their friendship saves them and helps them move forward in their lives.

Imogen Clark writes stories with amazing emotional depth. She doesn't just give insight into a character, she immerses you into the character.  Her understanding of human foibles takes a fictitious story into so much more meaning. She is truly a special author that has the ability to capture complex feeling and emotion into words. This is a wonderful book of recovery from tragedy and the healing power of friendship.  I wholeheartedly recommend it!
Was this review helpful?
Focusing on two women of different generations, "Reluctantly Home" is a story of women's friendship, resilience and second chances.  

Two very different tragic events in the lives of Pip, an attorney, and Evelyn, an actress, lead them to leave London and return to their rural English hometown.

Strengthened by empathetic and well-drawn characters, the book provides an engaging and emotionally satisfying reading experience that transcends generational boundaries.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Imogen Clark, the publisher and Netgalley for the ebook in exchange for an honest review.

TW contains spoilers.





TW: child death, sexual assault

I read the first chapter and realised this wasn't necessarily the happy book I wanted to read! The TW hits you from page 2. The overall themes in the book make it a difficult read - but it's well written and makes you want to carry on reading.

The book alternates between the stories of Pip in 2019 and Evelyn in 1979, 1983 (through her diary) and 2019. 

Pip has returned home (reluctantly) after having panic attacks following a tragic car accident. While working in a charity shop, she finds a diary that has accidentally been donated.

The diary belongs to Evelyn and tells the story of the worst year of her life. From the chapters set in 1979, you find out her reasons for (reluctantly) returning home. The diary hints at more than just tragic accidents happening, and Pip sets out to find out the truth.

The last couple of chapters wrap everything up neatly, with both Evelyn and Pip finding ways to move on from their respective situations (but not forgetting the past).

No conclusion on Pip and Jez though!
Was this review helpful?