Reluctantly Home

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Pub Date 29 Apr 2021 | Archive Date 13 May 2021
Amazon Publishing UK, Lake Union Publishing

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From the bestselling author of Where the Story Starts comes a tale about dealing with the past—and finally facing the future.

Pip Appleby seems to have it all, with her prestigious job as a human rights lawyer and her enviable London home. But then a tragic accident stops her life in its tracks, and in an instant everything changes. Retreating to her family’s rural farm and the humble origins she has been trying to hide, Pip is haunted by what she has done.

When she discovers the diary of actress Evelyn Mountcastle in a box of old books, Pip revels in the opportunity to lose herself in someone else’s life rather than focus on the disaster that is her own. But soon she sees parallels—Evelyn’s life was also beset by tragedy, and, like Pip, she returned to Southwold under a dark cloud.

When Pip and Evelyn’s paths cross in real life they slowly begin to reveal the hidden stories that are holding them back. Can they help each other forgive what happened in the past and, perhaps, find happiness in the future?

From the bestselling author of Where the Story Starts comes a tale about dealing with the past—and finally facing the future.

Pip Appleby seems to have it all, with her prestigious job as a human...

A Note From the Publisher

Imogen Clark lives in Yorkshire, England, with her husband and children. Her first burning ambition was to be a solicitor and so she read law at Manchester University and then worked for many years at a commercial law firm. After leaving her legal career behind to care for her four children, Imogen turned to her second love—books. She returned to university, studying part-time while the children were at school, and was awarded a BA in English Literature with first class honours.

Her first three novels, Postcards from a Stranger, The Thing About Clare and Where the Story Starts, have all reached the number 1 spot in the UK Kindle charts, and her books have been number 1 in Australia and Germany as well. She is also the author of a Christmas novella, Postcards at Christmas, which is a sequel to Postcards from a Stranger.

Imogen loves sunshine and travel and longs to live by the sea someday.

Imogen Clark lives in Yorkshire, England, with her husband and children. Her first burning ambition was to be a solicitor and so she read law at Manchester University and then worked for many years...

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ISBN 9781542021203
PRICE $14.95 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.)

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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.

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Another great read from Imogen Clark. Two women have a chance meeting and both share a great deal in common. Evelyn’s tragedy was many years ago whilst Pip’s I current. They form an unlikely friendship and with some help and sharing are able to find new and positive paths. It did take a little getting into at first but it is a nice cosy read. Thanks for an advanced copy to NetGalley.

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We all have experiences that shape who we are. Sometimes, those experiences happen because of circumstances beyond our control, but such events have an everlasting impact. “Reluctantly Home” by Imogen Clark is a great example of when one accident can throw your life plan and how you perceive yourself out the window.

Pip (or Rose, as she now prefers to be called) is a lawyer/barrister in London who did not look back when she left her rural childhood family harm. But when a horrific accident leads to a serious of panic attacks, Pip flees London to return to her roots. In the hope of doing some good, she begins working at a thrift shop and it’s while going through discarded belongings that she discovers a forgotten diary. As she begins to read it, she becomes drawn to the writer’s story.

I related to Pip’s plight a lot. It was also believable how she connected to the diarist. While there is some suspense as to who the writer of the diary is, I really thought this story was at its strongest when it forces Pip to reconcile who she once was with the person she was trying to become before the accident. With so much ugliness going on in the world right now, I really appreciated the chance to read a novel that offers hope. Because of that, I give this novel four stars.

Thanks to Imogen Clark, the publisher and Netgalley for my advanced copy.

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I was lucky enough to receive an advance reader copy of Reluctantly Home -- thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for giving me a preview.

Pip Appleby finds herself back on the family farm after a tragic accident upends her posh London life. She doesn't want to be there, smothered by her parents and the life she left behind, but, unable to cope with the aftermath of the accident, she is unable to resume her life in London. She's stuck in neutral, working in a thrift store and wondering if she'll ever feel like herself again.

After reading a diary she found at the thrift store, Pip goes looking for Evelyn Mountcastle, a local recluse and aging actress who is the owner of the diary. Evelyn has been through her own tragedies and has also found herself stuck in their tiny town, unable to cope with the past and move on. The two women help each other reconcile the past and embrace whatever lies ahead.

Reluctantly Home doesn't have any major plot twists, or any real mysteries to solve. Overall it's fairly predictable and even a little saccharine -- it's a pretty typical tale of prickly characters finding each other and learning to loosen up along the way. It's even got some loose plot ends that I don't feel were tied up all that well, which usually bugs me. But with all that said, this is a charming little book. The characters are likable and believable, if a bit predictable, and their stories, while unique to them, are easy enough to extrapolate to yourself or those around you. If Evelyn and Pip had been less endearing, this book might have made me roll my eyes -- too sappy, too predictable, too "chick lit." And yes, it's all those things. But I liked it anyway.

Like many current novels, Reluctantly Home contains a #MeToo plot line, and when I first saw it coming, I was sort of dreading seeing the book take off in that direction. Too often, I find that storyline poorly written, shoehorned in to fit current events. I'm happy to say that's not the case here. The #MeToo plot elements fit naturally into the story, and even allow for some disagreement about the topic between a woman in her 20s and one in her 70s who experienced life in very different ways.

Pip is a bit too naive to be a high-powered barrister, and Evelyn is a bit too uninformed about current events for a woman who's supposed to be worldly-wise. Pip's mother is a cliche, as is the old boyfriend (and the new one, come to think of it). But even with these flaws, and the lack of resolution we're given about Pip's love life, I found the characters charming and I cared what happened to them. And that was enough to keep me reading.

This is a pleasant, rather predictable read that I recommend if you're looking for something not too heavy and not too dark. This book is about light at the end of the tunnel, and here in the spring of 2021, we can all use a little of that.

(Posted on Goodreads 3-20-2021)

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Thanks Netgalley for allowing me to read this book. Pip who is a lawyer who lives in London, appears to have it all. On the way to work one day she is involved in a car accident that changes her life in many ways she returns home to her family farm and replays the accident that happened. She us not sure if she will ever be able to go back to her previous life. This book captured my attention from the beginning.

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Reluctantly Home is a story of two women, generations apart, who are struggling with situations in their past that are strangling them from moving forward. Pip found a diary amongst some books that were brought to a thrift store near her childhood home. She grapples with whether she should read it and does. Learning more of Evelyn Mountcastle’s life and her lovely, little daughter, Scarlett. Pip decided she should find Evelyn and return the precious diary. As Pip gets more familiar with Evelyn there are many similarities in their lives. Pip is taking some time off from her job in London. The friendship helps each woman come to grips with things they need to change for their own progression. Author, Imogen Clark, describes thoughts and actions with intense feeling and a beautiful story of redemption and courage is born. I enjoyed the book and highly recommend it to friends.

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Many thanks to Imogen Clark, the publisher, and Netgalley for the ebook in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed the book. 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, by Evelyn. It was. kind of slow for me. There were of course two POVs and Pip's and Evelyn's. stories seem familiar to Pip. It kept my interest after the slow start. I wished there had been closure in the end.

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The story revolves around two ladies. The first is present-day (2019) and is about Rose, also known as Pip to her family, who was the driver of a car resulting in a death. Rose was genuinely blameless, but unfortunately, she can’t stop blaming herself. Rose elects to return home to her parent's house in the English countryside because she had debilitating panic attacks leaving her unable to function at work. Rose volunteers at a resale shop, and while organizing donated items, she finds an old diary back from the late 1970’s- 1980’s and starts reading the diary leading her to wonder what happened to the diary's owner. By this time, Rose is at a low point as her boyfriend ends their relationship, her horrific panic attacks continue, and she faces an uncertain future. But the diary, written by a former actress who was on the cusp of stardom, helps Pip/Rose realize that other people have suffered tragedies as well. Evelyn, the diary’s writer and a former actress, suffered a life-changing assault resulting in her return to her childhood home in the English countryside many years prior. Once Rose and Evelyn meet, it becomes a chance for self-reflection, discussions about their tragic life journeys, and how they might find a way to move forward in life. I can’t explain it, but the writing feels very British and has a little different vibe to it. But I got used to it, and the ending brings it all together nicely. I thank NetGalley for the ARC, but my thoughts and review are my own and without bias. ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 stars #triggers #assault #metoo #tragedy #loss #redemption #struggle
3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

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This was an interesting book. Two women come together to get through traumatic events. The end comes a little quickly. ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

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I really enjoyed this book. The story is told through the perspective of two different women. At first it was a little difficult to keep track of the two different story lines, but once the two characters merged I really enjoyed it. There is a hint of romance, and I wish that story line was developed more, but still, it was an overall good read.

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4.5 stars. I loved this novel about stories you tell yourself, coming home, and learning to forgive yourself and live again. Pip and Evelyn are great characters - the first part of the novel we learn about their lives separately (and Evelyn's in flashback/diary form) but when they meet the novel becomes even more lovely and heartwarming. The parallels between their lives help them form an unlikely friendship. The book ends on a note a hope.

"Pip Appleby seems to have it all, with her prestigious job as a human rights lawyer and her enviable London home. But then a tragic accident stops her life in its tracks, and in an instant everything changes. Retreating to her family’s rural farm and the humble origins she has been trying to hide, Pip is haunted by what she has done.

When she discovers the diary of actress Evelyn Mountcastle in a box of old books, Pip revels in the opportunity to lose herself in someone else’s life rather than focus on the disaster that is her own. But soon she sees parallels—Evelyn’s life was also beset by tragedy, and, like Pip, she returned to Southwold under a dark cloud.

When Pip and Evelyn’s paths cross in real life they slowly begin to reveal the hidden stories that are holding them back. Can they help each other forgive what happened in the past and, perhaps, find happiness in the future?"

Thanks to NetGalley for the free ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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I loved this story featuring two women at very different stages of life who have both suffered through tragic events that have left them scarred and guilt-ridden.

While recovering at her parents’ farm, Pip discovers a lost diary (early 80s) of Evelyn’s at a charity shop. She is intrigued by their similar challenges/losses in life and tracks Evelyn down. What ensues is a poignant sharing of pain and sorrow that transforms into forgiveness and new life.

I have read one other book from Clark, and I’m finding that I’m drawn in by her well-drawn, often flawed characters and how they connect with others in their lives. Pip and Evelyn are both characters that I rooted for. And while I was expecting this to be a love story, I wasn’t disappointed in any way, as these women develop their own unique loving kinship that shines and brightens the page. Wonderful story of female bonding and healing when one has given up hope.

Much thanks to #NetGalley and #AmazonPublishingUK for providing me the early ARC for review. The opinions are strictly my own.

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The beginning of this book sends you back and forth between the current day life of Pip and the past of Evelyn. Both characters were strong on their own and I enjoyed getting to know them. I did feel that the first part of the book was disjointed as you skipped from present day Pip to Evelyn’s past to Evelyn’s diary. With each change I wished that I had gotten to spend more time with that person in that moment. Because of this, I found it took me a little longer to get the connection I was looking for with these characters. Once I felt that connection, I better understood the lives of these women as they dealt with loss, anxiety, acceptance, and moving on. The end of the book brings Pip and Evelyn together as they both work to come to terms with where their lives have brought them and where the future will take them. A wonderful read that touches on places we get stuck in our lives and moving on.

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This book is less mystery and more in-depth character study of the two female protagonists brought together by separate tragedies. How they meet and help each other heal is the core of this book. It is well written and brings up the question of whether you can go home again.

Pip has left her job as a barrister and moved back to the family farm when debilitating panic attacks cause her to be unable to work. She was fine until a young boy runs in front of her car and dies. Evie a 70 yo is existing and hasn't left her house in years. Her life ended when her three year old died by accidentally drowning. Can this unlikely pair form a strong enough friendship to save them both?

I received an arc of this book and voluntarily provided a review.

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This is a Women's Fiction book that covers some hard hitting topics. I think the hard hitting topics in this book is handle very well, but you should look on trigger's for this book if you get upset well reading some things. Pip and Evelyn Mountcastle finds each other when they really need to get over something in for their past. I really love both of these characters, and their past stories are so interesting. This is a well written book that has a lot of hard topics, and the great characters that makes this book shine. I have to say after reading some others review I was scared to pick up this book, but I am so happy I finally picked it up. This would have been 5 stars if the beginning part did not move so slow, and it took a little bit to really get to the heart of the book. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (Lake Union Publishing) or author (Imogen Clark) via NetGalley, so I can give honest review about how I feel about this book. I want to send a big Thank you to them for that. This book is schedule to be release on April 29-2021.

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Reluctantly Home by Imogen Clark is the heartbreakingly beautiful story of two women who have experienced devastating tragedies in their lives and how they help each other to continue living.

First we meet Pip Appleby, who accidentally kills a young boy who runs in front of her car. Although Pip was declared not responsible, she can't forgive herself and begins having panic attacks and collapses during a trial that she was involved in as a barrister in London. She heads back home to her family farm in Southwold to try to figure out how to heal and move on.

While there Pip finds the diary of Evelyn Mountcastle, which describes her time in the late 70s when she was an actress in London. She had just gotten a great part in a TV show which would make her name, when she suddenly returned to the family home in Southwold, never to be heard from again. When Pip reads the diary, she realizes she wants to find Evelyn and find out what happened to her and how she survived the tragic incident described in the diary.

This novel is a beautiful story of how two women, one young, one old can connect as kindred spirits and find a way to move past tragedy and plot a new course for their lives. I hated to leave Evelyn and Pip at book's end. Thank you to the author, Amazon Publishing UK and NetGalley for an ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review. 4.5 stars

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I enjoyed Reluctantly Home, while also finding it heartbreaking. The story flowed well and the characters were well developed. I did not love Pip at the beginning, but found her much more likable and relatable as the story moved. Overall, definitely recommend!
Thank you to netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

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This is a good book. It kept my interest until the end. At one point I thought I had figured out which way it was going but I was pleasantly surprised that it went a different direction. Pip and Evelyn are the two main characters. Both are strong females but due to the hands they have been dealt by life/fate they go through long periods of time very weak and are not sure how to climb out of those deep, dark periods. The storyline was captivating. The characters well developed. I will recommend to others and will read other books from this author. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an advance copy for my honest review.

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Pip Appleby, a human rights lawyer, goes reluctantly home to Southwold in Suffolk in 2019 after a tragedy. Evelyn Hardcastle also goes reluctantly home in 1979 but for different reasons. A chance find in a charity shop by Pip brings the two women together with positive results.

The start of the book feels a bit clunky and slow but then something seems to clicks and the pace picks up and it becomes compelling. The characterisation is good, initially neither women are particularly easy to like especially Pip whose reactions to her parents at being home from London is not pleasant. Gradually you grow to understand that she feels empty inside, there’s a void that the tragedy has caused. There are interesting parallels in the two women’s lives, they’ve both encountered and suffered tragedy, they feel grief and they’re disconnected from life living in a state of limbo or in purgatory. Their first meeting is really good and it feels like a game of cat and mouse and there’s a feeling of crackling tension in the air - or is that the dust in Evelyn's neglected house?!! They size each other up, their connection grows and they find honesty and trust again. There’s the beginning of laughter and reigniting of lives and I really like the positive end. Without almost realising it you come to appreciate that both characters are very likeable but had hidden so much beneath protective armour.

Overall, an easy read which proves to be really enjoyable.

With thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing for the arc in return for an honest review.

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Reluctantly Home is one of those books that takes a look at the twists and turns of life, drawing you into the storyline. A tragic accident precipitates Pip to return home to the farm, a place where although she was loved she had desperately wanted to escape. She finds a diary written by a woman whose circumstances seem to have been quite similar to her own. Although 40 years have passed since the diary was written Pip becomes intrigued with the writer, a woman named Evelyn who had been a rising star.

Both women had dreams and professions that were derailed, hopes that were dashed to the ground and left to face an uncertain future. Pip becomes convinced that if she could find this woman and hear the rest of her story, she can gain insight into how to come to terms with having had her life and dreams turned upside down.

The book is well written and a good read.

Themes of resilience and identity run throughout this book. An interesting sub theme is the way our society has changed with regards to abuse of power especially in male/female relationships. Also explored are ways we deal with circumstances in our lives, the stories we tell ourselves and how those stories affect the choices we make- either trapping us or bringing new beginnings.

I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. #goodreads #netgalley #ReluctantlyHome

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I was pulled into the story on the first page, it was riveting. I loved how in order to heal from a tragic event which is out of ones control that you sometimes need someone who is going through the same thing to understand what's happening to them. The gift in this story is a diary that changes everything and allows both women to move on and become who they are suppose to be. Great Story.

I want to thank Lake Union Publishing, Amazon Publishing UK and NetGalley for this terrific story.

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I've read a number of books by this author and enjoyed them all. She explores quite difficult topics and creates an interesting story without delving too deeply. This story revolves round Evelyn and Pip, who have ended up back in a small home town in Suffolk due to unexpected circumstances. Evelyn returned home in the 1980s, Pip more recently. The book starts using a dual timeline and I expected this to continue through most of the book, however quite quickly the story is all set in the present day which I was a bit disappointed about but this is where Evelyn and Pip meet up and their two stories progress. It is ultimately a feel good story which considering the back stories is comforting. The characters of Evelyn and Pip, although not entirely likeable, stayed with me for some days after I finished the book.

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

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I requested to read and review this for free from Lake Union Publishing. This is the first book I have read by author Imogen Clark. This book has a London Setting. This is a powerful story of how life can change in a second. After something happens and it changes your life. Can you go back to your old life? How do you move forward? Pip and Evelyn both have an important life changing moment. Can they help each other learn how to step forward or will time stand still for them. Can you ever really truly be forgiven by someone else or yourself. This book is for any type of reader and can be read anytime.

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Reluctantly Home by Imogen Clark is an interesting comparison of the lives, events, and choices of two women from different generations. The book alternates the narrations of present-day Phillippa Rose Appleby and 1979-present day for Evelyn Mountcastle.
Pip can hardly wait to leave home and start her life at university and then later she becomes a successful barrister. An unfortunate accident that resulted in the death of a child has Pip back home and sheltering within the walls of her childhood room. She is racked with anxiety and a sense of failure after being unable to come to terms with the accident.
Evelyn is anxious to leave her home and become an actress. Her family cannot understand or show any support for her wanting to follow her dreams. She is waiting for her big break when a fateful meeting with a man who could make her dreams come true casts her fate for failure. Her big break for success must be placed on hold as she goes back home to a disapproving sister who resents her and the choices she has made.
It is by the unexpected find of a personal diary in a charity shop that leads Pip into the past events of Evelyn's life. Once she has read this diary, she feels she must know more about Evelyn and she decides to return the diary in hopes of speaking with Evelyn. An unlikely friendship develops and the two women who are so broken in their spirits struggle to find the strength to start their lives over.
As I read the story, Pip seemed very self-centered and there were instances she was disrespectful of others and their feelings. She resented how her mother tried to help her as she recovered.
Evelyn's life when she returned to her family home with her sister was a misery. Her sister Joan was spiteful and hateful. Evelyn allowed her to get by with being a bully, which led to more tragedy.
Publication Date: April 29, 2021
Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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What a truly eye opening story of soul crushing loss and the struggle to find a way to live again. Imogen Clark weaves together a beautiful tale of family, loss, and new beginnings with a new friendship. I highly recommend this book to all.

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What attracted me to this book was the rural Southwold, county Suffolk setting and the discovery of an old diary - a mystery! Also, I am an easy mark for a attractive cover and I just love the looks of this one.

The beginning of the book is set in London and we do travel back there briefly during the story. Phillipa Rose Appleby is from a rural area of England, growing up on a farm. She aspired to have a grander life than a farmwife and achieved her goals by becomng a barrister, QC which means Queen's Counsel. On the farm she was always known as Pip. When she begins her life in London she switches to a posher name, Rose.

One morning during her drive through London she has an accident. She is on her way to court when a young boy darts out on traffic. Rose struck him with her car. It's an accident and ruled so by the police, coroner and witnesses but Rose can't forgive herself. She is detroyed by guilt and panic attacks and returns home to Suffolk, hence the title of the book - Reluctantly Home.

Her parents are supportive but Pip, as she was always refered to at home, is impatient with her situation. She longs to go back to her London life yet she is still consumed with guilt and worries about having another panic attack in court. Stuck in a small town where life is decidedly slower and low key, she volunteers at a chaity shop to keep her occupied. Fortuitously she comes across a diary from 1983, donated by mistake, and lets herself escape her life by reading the diary of Evelyn Hardcastle.

Evelyn was an actress in London but her story is very interesting as laid out in the diary. Both Evelyn and Pip have one thing in common - they both felt stuck in Southwold and wanted their old lives back. Evelyn's story is engaging and resonates with Pip even though their reasons for being back home are different. I will say the ending was not what I would have predicted but I'm satisfied.

The only other novel I have read by Ms. Clark is The Last Piece and I enjoyed it very much. I've now discovered she has several books published which I intend to add to my to-read list. As a matter of fact, I just purchased Postcards from a Stranger which was on sale for $1.99 (Kindle version/ Amazon).

Publication date for Reluctantly Home is April 29, 2021 by Amazon Publishing UK. Genre is Women's Fiction and General Fiction.

Much thanks to Netgalley for the advanced copy of this book. I was not compensated for the review and all opinions expressed here are mine.

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Thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for letting me read this book prior to its publication. My opinion is 100% honest, unbiased, and my own.

I have absolutely loved this book. Everybody who knows me know that I am really stingy with the five stars, but this book deserves it without any doubt. My favorite genre to read is thriller, but from time to time I like to read other genres because I'm eclectic like that. When I saw this book on NetGalley, I felt reluctant to give it a go, but once I started reading it I felt at home (see what I did there? *insert silly laugh*). As I was saying, sometimes I deviate from the books that I truly like, and then I find gems like this book.

This book is one of those books that, even though the main topic is quite sad, makes you feel good. It's comforting, and it will make you consider things about life that we may take for granted. In my particular case, I felt very connected both to Pip and Evelyn and, even if the circumstances are not the same, we all have felt trapped and unable to move on with our lives at some point during our lifetime. It's a very relatable story with characters that feel real.

The story is told from both the points of view of Pip and Evelyn, and we go back and forth in time, but it's done in a very delicate way that flows effortlessly. We follow the development of the characters along with the story and there is actual growth.

I cannot really comment much more without revealing spoilers, but if you like stories about overcoming obstacles and friendship, you need to give this book a go. Sit in your favorite spot with a yummy cup of tea, relax, and enjoy the ride that this book is.

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Reluctantly Home is a story of forgiveness and friendship. Two women, Pip and Evelyn, one younger, one older, both struggling with tragedy and loss in their lives, become friends and ultimately help each other heal. I had a tough time getting into the novel at the beginning as Pip seemed like such an unlikable person, but a few chapters in, it became a can't-put-it-down kind of book for me. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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In Imogen Clarks’ Reluctantly Home, we meet 2 women, Pip (aka Rose) and Evelyn. Pip has returned home to the farm she grew up on from London after a devasting accident. Working in a thrift shop to keep in mind engaged, she chances upon a diary that was unintentionally dropped off in a box of books. Intrigued by what she reads, she searches for Evelyn to return the diary. Evelyn, a woman in her 70’s has endured a life filled with tragedy of her own.Can this unlikely pair help to heal each other? An enjoyable and fast paced read.

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As I reluctantly close the final chapter, I reflect that Imogen Clark delivered a thought-provoking and entertaining read. Penning a dual-linear timeline, the protagonists' lives mirror each other in spite of the years and dreams that separated them.

Growing up, Pip Appleby dreamed of leaving her small town and moving to London. Shelving her belongings along with her name, Rose Appleby emerged as a prestigious human rights lawyer. When a tragedy forces her to return home, a mysterious diary awakens her desires to connect with the world.

Golden-girl Evelyn Mountcastle was on the cusp of getting her heart's desire. On the casting couch, she made a choice that altered her life. Scribbling her sorrows into a beloved diary, she locked away that part of her life.

At first glance, Evelyn and Pip appear to be unlikely friends. Upon further inspection, life altered their plans and left them retreating from society. On their own, they are unable to move forward. Will sharing their stories give them the courage to pick up the pieces of the past and take control of their future?

Thank you to #NetGally and Amazon Publishing for the early edition of #ReluctantlyHome in exchange for an honest review. During a time when we're left reeling and reluctantly at home, Clark illustrates that change is possible. Concealing our dreams to within four walls only limits our actions not desires. Admitting defeat doesn't mean weakness, instead it presents an opportunity for a new start.

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“Imogen Clark is a master at creating flawed, real, loveable characters and exploring their emotions. This novel cleverly weaves together the past and present, and will leave you thinking about the story long after you finish the final page.” - Soraya M. Lane, Kindle #1 bestselling author of Wives of War and The Last Correspondent

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A heartbreaking yet refreshingly hopeful story. Such triumphs after so much tragedy. I loved the friendship that was formed between pip and Evelyn and how their stories were so similar but different too. An emotionally rich depth in characters made reading Reluctantly Home a joy. You could relate to starting over even if you didn’t quite see how those changes effected the ones around you. Sometimes starting over is nothing like what you envisioned but it is what you needed. Loved it.

Thank you NetGalley for this arc

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This book was a fantastic, surprising read. I devoured it during a rainy Sunday. It took me three cups of tea and two crumpets to read. It was a book with little description of place or person but the dialogue and storyline made up for it! It was rich in conversation, pace and surprising moments. I enjoyed that Imogen Clark chose not to go the romance route and kept the spotlight on the women's journey through to redemption and friendship.
A wonderful tale about how stuck we can become when tragedy strikes and the wonders of a chance encounter and a lot of curiousity. Thank you Netgalley for this ARC!

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This book grabbed me from the very first page and I could not put it down. I can’t imagine living with what Pip had to live with after a horrific accident! I felt all the emotions with this book. While working in a place that accepts donated goods, Pip finds an old diary from 1983 that she didn’t want to read but found herself doing so. Trying to put together the pieces, she then confronts the woman who wrote in the diary and returns it. A friendship is born. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this early release in exchange for my honest review.

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Bittersweet and wonderful are two words for this story. The book will be the only thing you care about at some points along the story. It’s a great tale that we can all relate to a bit.

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What a wonderful read! Pip and Evelyn seem like an unlikely pair but life experiences have a way of bringing people together to help them through their personal issues. Fate throws terrible hurdles into everyone's lives. Both women have worked hard to change their personas but end up returning to the roots they tried to escape. Please read this book. I found myself wanting to find out the ending - you will too! Thank you Imogen Clark for this delightful read, Amazon Publishing UK/Lake Union Publishing, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and recommend this book!

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I read The Last {Piece and fell in love with Imogen Clark's writing. The twists and turns captivate your interest. In Reluctantly Home, the story starts and the the plot does an abrupt twist. It's those surprises that keep you wanting more. Hard to put down. I can't wait for more!

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First, thank you to the author and publisher for providing me with a digital ARC of this title via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
This was a new author and title for me. The simple but pretty cover drew me in. I found this book to be a quick , easy read. The story was interesting and thought provoking. What would I do and how would I feel if this happened to me. I can’t imagine and hope to never experience anything like it. I liked the dual narrative and hearing both stories. I didn’t feel the similarities between their experiences but it made more sense as I got closer to the end. I enjoyed seeing the characters grow and overcome their difficult experiences. I liked this title and would rate this 3.5 stars

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The story starts with a shocking event and slows as the character copes with the consequences. It got engaging with the intersecting timelines and circumstances of Pip and Evelyn. That’s when I truly got drawn into the story. It was worth it to stick around.

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This is an interesting read that begins with a shocking accident. Pip Appleby’s life changes suddenly. She’s a successful lawyer, living the highlife in London with her equally successful partner. Due to a terrible accident, Pip finds her world turned upside down. Unable to cope, she finds herself back at her parents farmhouse being cared for by her loving and patient parents.

Volunteering at the local charity shop, Pip comes across a diary that has been dropped off for donation. While reading the diary we are given a glimpse in to the life of Evelyn Mountcastle forty years earlier. With flashbacks in time we get to know the story of Evelyn who’s life also took an unexpected turn.

Pip is intrigued by Evelyn’s story and sets off to learn more about Evelyn who lives locally. When their path’s cross, changes come about for both of them.

This book covers several different topics including PTSD and tragedy, isolation and flashbacks to sexual harassment. Most of all it’s a story of friendship. Friendship can take many different forms and human connection with the right person or people can do us the world of good. With some people it just clicks and when you are lucky enough to find real friendship, I don’t think there is a greater gift.

Thank you to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for the advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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I received an advance copy of, Reluctantly Home, by Imogen Clark. Pip finds a diary from an old actress and reads it, and them meets her, judging her the whole time. I did not like this book.

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I've have enjoyed previous books by Imogen Clark and was delighted to get the opportunity to review Reluctantly Home. Unfortunately the book did not live up to my expectations and I struggled to finish it.