Anna has no home, but that doesn’t matter to her. She moves from house to house, across countries, countries and continents to look after other people’s homes, the precious pets and their treasured belongings.
Living such a peripatetic life for the last ten years has seen Anna simply live unencumbered by baggage and a base. But even thought she may travel light, Anna is in fact taking the most heaviest of emotions with her wherever she goes. And she cannot out run them.
Through intersperse chapters we learn of Anna’s upbringing and her childhood where she was pushed from pillar to post through the care system – a ‘looked after child’. Seeking solace in literature, reading and books she finds herself at Oxford against or if not despite all the odds probably stacked against her.
On her first day she meets Kate and a lifelong friendship and bond begins, which lasts and as life changes for Kate, she starts to look at how Anna is perhaps conducting her life and that she needs to find the answers to what she wants in one place and not a dozen.
Having read Penny Parkes previous novels, I know she has never been one to shy away from some tricky and tough subject that perhaps do not make for comfortable reading. This book was no different in that respect, but she handled it with real skill and care. I was drawn into supporting Anna as the child and rather like her friend Kate, wanting Anna as an adult to stop running away and stay still long enough to find what she was looking for.
It was great to have a book where it was not all going to be tied up nicely with everyone living happily ever after. I adore those books but I also love a book which is left open ended for the characters to continue just as much as the readers. Whilst this book perhaps felt a bit repetitive in parts and for me a tad too over-laboured, it was still compelling enough to become totally involved in all the characters, no matter how they floated into Anna’s life and how long they stayed there.
I recommend this is one of those books that everyone is going to be reading in 2021.
Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.
Home is out now