Blog Tour Read,  Crime,  Latest Reads,  Thriller

The Home – Sarah Stovell

My thanks to Anne Cater, who again has organised a month-long blog tour for what has been for me, a roller coaster of a read. The Home is a beautifully written, poignant and emotional book. That brings to the fore several subject matters that surround us daily, yet that we barely acknowledge. Mental illness, neglect, fostering, and care homes, deprivation and the modern levels of social acceptability.

A moving, gripping story … twists keep coming till the very last page. I loved it’ Erin Kelly 

When the body of pregnant, fifteen-year-old Hope Lacey is discovered in a churchyard on Christmas morning, the community is shocked, but unsurprised. For Hope lived in The Home, the residence of three young girls, whose violent and disturbing pasts have seen them cloistered away…
As a police investigation gets underway, the lives of Hope, Lara and Annie are examined, and the staff who work at the home are interviewed, leading to shocking and distressing revelations … and clear evidence that someone is seeking revenge.
A gritty, dark and devastating psychological thriller, The Home is also an emotive drama and a piercing look at the underbelly of society, where children learn what they live … if they are allowed to live at all.

‘Slickly claustrophobic, this arch story of obsessive, forbidden love taken to the extreme will have you squirming in your seat’ Sarah Pinborough

Our Authour: Sarah Stovell

Sarah Stovell was born in 1977 and spent most of her life in the Home Counties before a season working in a remote North Yorkshire youth hostel made her realise she was a northerner at heart. She now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. Her debut psychological thriller, Exquisite, was called ‘the book of the summer’ by Sunday Times

My Review: The Home

Hope and Annie – two very different and yet very similar 15-year-olds, both trying to make their lives better. Hope wants to earn money to escape the life she’s been brought into, the only way she knows how though was to continue to sell herself to men willing to pay for sex with her, a 15year old girl. The only life she knows, as her mothers a prostitute and Hope has been brought up surrounded by it, all her life.

Annie has grown up with her Mothers emotionally turbulent life looming around her. Veering from happy to sad, violent, extravagant and then penniless, neglectful and desperate. Annie believes by just letting it carry on and not making a fuss, letting her mother get on with it, but getting her head down at school a good education will bring a good job, to literally escape the life that has been dealt to her.

Hope and Annie – two very different and yet very similar 15-year-olds, both trying to make their lives better. Both of them damaged by the one person that should love them unconditionally, their Mothers. Both placed in The Home after their lives were both turned upside down.

When Hope’s mother Bex becomes pregnant, Hope sees an escape route, she can look after the baby and stop working for Ace Clarke, he’s selling her and her soul and she wants out. Baby Jade adores her big sister and Hope will do anything to protect her. And that’s when she’s taken into care.

Annie has had enough, she can’t take anymore, her Mum starts praying and saying shes waiting for a sign from The Lord, she reaches breaking point, clearly, she can’t stay alone in the house, shes fostered and eventually goes to live in The Home with Hope and Lara.

Lara is 12, she’s grown up with trauma too and is now alone. She’s become a selective mute and doesn’t speak, to anyone, including poor Helen the Manager, whose job it is to try and help these girls, help them learn to love and process the harm that they have experienced. Hope and Annie fall in love, but they are underage and although the staff turn a blind eye, it’s not condoned.

Added complications occur when Hopes Mum sends a letter, but its not enough for Hope she wants more and that means getting in touch with Ace again. Hope goes missing and comes back after two days. Shes back under Ace’s spell and there’s no return now. Despite pledging themselves to each other Hope and Annie’s destiny is now in tatters.

This isn’t a book that treads carefully around, whispering in dull tones the words we try to ignore. Its shouting them – “mental illness, neglect” right here, right now, its going on all around us. People struggling daily to feed their children, using food banks and having to stretch out the last few pounds until their next installment of child tax credits hits their bank each week. Modern society is all about the lives we see on Facebook and in the media – 90% of which isn’t even real.

The artwork on every Orenda cover is always stunning.

A bracing and moreish read, that I couldn’t put down. Scarily relevant and more than real. Yet another soulful and beautifully written book from Sarah and Orenda.

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@sarahlovescrime @OrendaBooks @annecater #TheHome

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