Cover Image: Reluctantly Home

Reluctantly Home

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Member Reviews

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Pip and Evelyn both returned from London to Southwold after tragedy= Pip in 2019 and Evelyn in 1979.   Pip. who had left Southwold behind without a look back- she even changed her name- has come home and is trying to heal.  She finds Evelyn's diary in a box of books, reads it, and seeks her out.  Evelyn was an actress until....No spoilers from me.  The two women eventually meet and discover that they can help one another. Thanks to netgalley for the ARC.   It's a good generous read.
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Poignant Story of Surviving Incredible Loss
This novel is the story of two women, a generation apart, who have both had to face incredible loss. And neither is dealing with it well. Many parts of their stories will leave the reader teary-eyed. Other parts will leave you raging angry. But the end will leave you wanting more. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys women's fiction. I received this ARC book for free from Net Galley and this is my honest review.
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This is the story of Pip and Evelyn.  Pip was a barrister in present day London before an accident leaves a little boy dead and Pip wracked with guilt.  Evelyn was an actress in London in the 70s before losing a child to tragedy herself and has been self-imprisioned in her home ever since.  These two meet when Pip finds one of Evelyn's diaries in the charity ship she works in and develop a relationship that is mutually beneficial.

The story starts out very quickly and abruptly with a flashback to the accidental death of the young boy.  It was a rough way to make Pip's acquaintance.  It then dragged a bit as both stories developed, with some awkward transitioning between the two story lines.  It did pick up some in the second half, but honestly I feel like this part is where the story should have focused and it should have been far more developed.  I think the author almost gave too much away right at the beginning as she introduced both characters, and it lead to less suspense or emotional connection when they revealed things to each other.

Overall, I felt I just wanted more from this book.  More story, more development, more relationship between the two women.

Thank you to Netgalley for my ARC of this book - all opinions are my own.
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Pip Appleby is a successful lawyer in London and living the life she always dreamed of until tragedy strikes one day on her way to court.  Pip does not see the young boy step in front of her car until it is too late.  Dealing with the guilt of what has happened, Pip retreats to her childhood home in the English countryside and begins spending her days by helping in a charity shop.  One day while sorting through a box of books that has been donate, Pip comes across a diary of actress Evelyn Mountcastle.  As Pip reads through the diary she begins to feel a connection with Evelyn and decides to track down the reclusive actress to find out what ended up happening to her.

A story of family, loss, and dealing with unforeseen tragedies to eventually forgive oneself.  Highly recommend this book.
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I have just spent about twenty four hours with Pip and Evelyn. Pip found Evelyn's diary, and discovered that even though there is thirty plus years between them, their lives almost mirror one another. They both escaped small town claustrophobia and experienced a sense of freedom, and both had to return home through tragedy and consequence. Through this unexpected friendship they learn that guilt can not be your anchor, and that life is for living..
A beautifully written tale about how easy it is to become victims of our circumstances. A book full of lively and sad characters who are looking for hope.
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Reluctantly Home is a highly engaging story  told from the point of view of two women. 

Pip, a London lawyer, has returned to her childhood home as she recovers from a traumatic event. When she comes across the journal of Evelyn Mountcastle, Pip is intrigued by the woman and uncovers a bit of mystery, causing her to seek out Evelyn. Evelyn has become a recluse, due to her own tragic history, and resists the idea of engaging in conversation with Pip. 

I absolutely adored the pairing of Pip and Evelyn.  These two women come from very different backgrounds, yet find they have quite a bit in common. This unlikely pairing also finds that there is healing in finding someone who recognizes your pain and accepts you for who you are.
The book has endearing characters, intrigue and an insightful look at working through trauma. This was my first story by author Imogen Clark and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thank you to the Lake Union and the author for the opportunity to read an advance copy via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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This is a delightful story about two women living in different times but so very alike who befriends each other later in life. It is a pretty good story & I recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
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Reluctantly Home tells the story of two women who are trapped by life's events.  It alternates between different time periods.  The flashbacks to the 1970's and 1980's are from Evelyn's past.  They explain a bit about how she ended up where she is.  Pip stumbles across one of Evelyn's diaries when it's accidentally donated to the shop she works at.  Within the pages, Pip finds solace at a time when her own world has come undone.  Pip goes on a search to find out who Evelyn is and see if she still lives in town.  When Pip goes to return the diary, the women discover they have a connection.  It seems as if Pip wants to help Evelyn conquer the ghosts of her past so she can live in the present.  However, Evelyn's friendship is just as healing for Pip. 

This was a lovely story about an unlikely friendship that enables two women to see past their individual pain.  They find a way to like themselves again and a desire to live their lives fully.  They each find a way to move forward.

Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC.  I voluntarily chose to review it and the opinions contained within are my own.
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A terrific job as a lawyer, lovely London home, caring and handsome lover. Pip Appleby has everything going for her and then she’s involved in a tragic accident that takes the life of a young boy. Broken and reeling from the accident she is no longer the cutting edge lawyer with nerves of steel, she cannot focus and she returns to her childhood home to hide in the small village where she grew up. She loses her job, her handsome but weak lover dumps her, her father drives to her apartment and returns with her belongings.
Then one day while volunteering at a local thrift store she comes across a diary of a once famous actress, Evelyn Mountcastle. As Pip slowly reads through the diary she quickly draws parallels between the life of the actress also besot with tragedy of her own. When Pip discovers that Evelyn still lives in the same small village, she sets out to meet her and together they set about helping each other reach beyond the tragedies they have suffered and help each other heal.
Thank you Netgalley for the advanced copy in exchange for my unsolicited comments.
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I received a free electronic ARC of this excellent novel from Netgalley, Imogen Clark, and publisher Amazon UK - Lake Union Publishing.  Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me.  I have read Relectantly Home of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work.  Imogen Clark always takes us on an emotional roller-coaster.  I am pleased to recommend her works to friends and family. 

Pip Appleby knows at a young age what she wanted to do with her life.  She worked hard all through school, got scholarships that took her through college and legal schooling, and took herself straight to London with a high profile job in a prestigious law firm, a fancy apartment, an enviable fiance, and never really looked back to the small town of Southwold that she left behind.  She even changed her name to her middle name of Rose.  Pip didn't fit her new lifestyle.

But tragedy strikes her a hard blow just out of the blue.  Pip finds herself suffering frequent frantic panic attacks, afraid to appear in public, not able to drive, and her only recourse is to put her London life on hold and go home to the small town and parents she so cavalierly left behind, and try to heal as best she can. There is no guarantee that she will ever be able to return to that fast-paced, stressful job in the London courts.  The boyfriend also lets her down just a few weeks after her return to her family home to heal. 

The only thing that involves her mind enough to get past her angst and fears is studying the diary, written in 1983 by a local girl who became a London actress named Evelyn Mountcastle.  The diary came to the local thrift shop in a box of donated paperbacks, a recycle store where Pip is volunteering part-time to get out of the house.  Evelyn was having a very bad year, back in 1983. A single mother, Evelyn found herself spending more time than she wants at the family home with her sister Joan and daughter Scarlett.   Pip becomes intrigued with finding out what she can about Evelyn and her life, both in tony London and in tiny Southwold.  A life, bearing a disquieting resemblance to that being contemplated by Pip.  Maybe it's possible to have both, a prestigious career in the law and a quiet retreat to reset and renew.  With compromise, she could perhaps have a real life. Or not.
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Reluctantly Home is told in two timelines....1979 and 2019.
An emotional journey of two women meeting by chance.  The story is both heartbreaking and uplifting.
It took a bit to get into the story as I couldn’t see where the author was going with it.  I am so glad I continued reading on as it was such an endearing story.
I rather enjoyed Reluctantly Home and highly recommend it.  Imogen Clark writes a beautiful story of loss and new beginnings.
Thank you to NetGallery, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read this book for my honest opinion.  All opinions expressed are my own.
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Two tragedies a generation apart, result  in two women’s decision to return home to the lives they had hoped to put behind them. 
Pip Appleby comes across Evelyn Mountcastle’s diary and reads her story, which has similarities to her’s, the loss of a child, and fleeing back to their hometown. 
This is a story of tragedy that changed two lives significantly, both struggling to adapt to their old environments and dependence on their families. It’s a story of repairing the results of broken lives secondary to tragic events.
This book had me hooked from page one. Imogene Clark is a skilled storyteller, with well developed and interesting characters.
My thanks to NetGalley, the author, and Lake Union Publishing for a wonderful read.
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I enjoyed this story about two women, in two different time periods, whose lives have interesting parallels. At first I didn't really like either woman, but as the story unfolds I came to understand them and like them. They both endured tragedies that changed them, and left them disconnected from life. An unlikely meeting brings them together. They share their stories and help each other move on with their lives. It is told in alternating voices, which I always enjoy. I found it to be a poignant story about grief, forgiveness and new beginnings. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.
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Enjoyed it, but it wasn't my favorite by the author. I LOVED all of the author's previous books. I think it was because I didn't love the characters, mainly Pip. Pip acted more like a teenager than an adult, with the way she treated her parents. She had an air of superiority and acted like she was better than everyone in her hometown. She was definitely two different people. When she was Rose, she cared more about material things, living in the right part of London and being seen at the best restaurants. As Pip, she was more herself and didn't mind being seen in jeans, working at a charity shop or riding an old bike. I really enjoyed Evelyn's story. Her sister was definitely a piece of work. I hate to say it, but didn't feel bad for what happened to her. Pip and Evelyn were perfect friends for each other. They were able to help each other heal. The Jez and Pip "relationship" really wasn't needed. Suddenly Pip has feelings for someone she ignored for years and was jealous of his fiancé.

Definitely recommend the book. Look forward to reading more books by the author.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Amazon Publishing UK through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Pip and Evelyn have something in common. They are trying to deal with the death of a child. Pip accidentally killed a young boy who ran out in front of her car. Pip has moved home to recover. Evelyn lost her little girl who drowned in a pond after wandering away from her home. Both women meet and try to help each other.
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Change......... We all face it. But what if this change is not of our own doing and it's forced upon us in a blink of an eye? This is what happens to Pip Appleby, she's a human rights lawyer with a lavish London home. In an instant she's no longer the same person. A tragic accident resulting in a child's death takes it all away though it's ruled accidental her mind won't allow her to get on with life.
Replaying the accident daily she has nightmares about it and it stunts her growth as a person mentally. Unable to cope with this self imposed guilt she moves back home to the farm as life once was and is treated like the teen she was when she left.
While working at a charity thrift shop she finds a diary in the donation box and it changes her life after reading it.
She knows she shouldn't read such personal information but figures a little peek won't hurt.
Before she know's it she's done knowing she must find the author of the diary and return it she sets out to do so. Reading the diary not only changes her life but the author of the diary, an older woman but it also changes the author's life when they meet.
Heartbreaking and very realistic tells the story of how we can become a prisoner to our own mind when we make an assumption of how we perceive others of seeing us.
Absolutely excellent book! A quick read, I couldn't put it down!
#ReluctantlyHome #NetGalley
Pub Date 29 Apr 2021
I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you.
All opinions expressed are my own.
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