The River Home by Hannah Richell
Publishing Date: 19th March 2020
Source: Received from the publisher, thank you!
Number of pages: 320
Genre: General Fiction (Adult)
The river can take you home. But the river can also drag you under… The new novel from bestselling author Hannah Richell. A wise and emotionally powerful story of a broken family and the courage it takes to heal.
The river can take you home. But the river can also drag you under…
‘It’s something she learned years ago – the hard way – and that she knows she will never forget: even the sweetest fruit will fall and rot into the earth, eventually. No matter how deep you bury the pain, the bones of it will rise up to haunt you … like the echoes of a summer’s night, like the river flowing relentlessly on its course.’
Margot Sorrell didn’t want to go home. She had spent all her adult life trying not to look behind. But a text from her sister Lucy brought her back to Somerset. ‘I need you.’
As Margot, Lucy and their eldest sister, Eve, reunite in the house they grew up in beside the river, the secrets they keep from each other, and from themselves, refuse to stay hidden. A wedding brings them together but long-simmering resentments threaten to tear the family apart. No one could imagine the way this gathering would change them all forever. And through the sorrow they are forced to confront, there is a chance that healing will also come. But only if the truth is told.
“The River Home” introduces us to three Sorrell sisters, Margot, Lucy and Eve – very different, partly estranged, but when Margot receives a message from Lucy begging her to come home as she needs her, she knows she has to return back to Windfalls. She hasn’t been back for years, as the heartbreak and pain and disappointment of the past is simply too huge. But can Lucy’s shotgun wedding fix everything? The estrangement from her mother Kit, the tension with her father, past mistakes? Margot is determined to do this, for Lucy. However, she is not the only sister keeping secrets, and now they refuse to stay hidden… Is it going to break the broken family even more?
“The River Home” is Hannah Richell’s fourth novel, however my first read by this author, and I must tell you that I am already under her spell – the writing is beautiful, atmospheric, almost lyrical yet chatty and accessible, and she has captured my attention with this heart – breaking and shocking story. The descriptions are vivid, bringing the setting and the characters to life.
The characters are really well rounded, full of flaws, getting into troubles, making wrong decisions, and they all feel human. Not likeable – they are so dynamic that you keep changing your mind about them, stop liking them, start to feel sympathy towards them – but simply human. The story is told through different points of view, and this truly helped to get into each of the characters’ heads and understand them and their actions. I can’t say that I had a favourite character, as all of them experienced/were experiencing events that were heart – breaking, the challenges they had to overcome were so unfair, and it was impossible not to fall for them and feel their emotions.
The three sisters couldn’t be more different, even if you asked for it. At first sight, Margot seems to be the main characters, although I think that it was Lucy later that started to deserve this title. Margot has tried to put her past so hard behind her but there are things she simply can’t forget, and her childhood home is for her a place of pain and bad memories. Seeing her, confronting the old memories and guessing what has really happened in the past was heart – breaking, and even though there were moments that I wanted to shake Margot so badly and tell her to stop acting like this, I also fell for her and felt so much sympathy to her.
The element of mystery, surrounding mostly Margot, worked really well in this book. Yes, I started to worry that it is taking a bit too long for it to be revealed, but all the other events and memories were intriguing enough to keep me patiently waiting. However, I do think that it slowed the pace of the story a little, but no worries guys, getting to know the whole background of the situation, and also characters’ past is great, and then all the actions start to really make sense.
The author writes so well about family dynamics, about all the ups and downs of those complex and complicated entities. She really well captured the relationship between the sisters, painting it strong and loving, but also the dynamics and changes of married life. She also touches upon parenthood, love, hate, betrayal, disappointment, loss, grief, guilt, teen angst with passion and understanding and emotional writing.
It’s a book about family dynamics and secrets that can break even the strongest family. It is emotional and even though you may guess the twists by yourself, it doesn’t spoil the reading, as the secrets come out slowly, keeping our attention, and the confrontations and accusations make the things even more complicated. It is actually unputdownable, as you are desperate to know what has happened and if you were right. It was a dark, atmospheric read with building tension. It was not the easiest read, as it truly touched upon many heavier issues, but the beauty of the writing has made the reading w wonderful experience. Truly recommended!
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