The River Home
Egad. My last post to this blog was on December 30th of last year! Seven short months that sped by all
too quickly. Amazing how time still flies even when the world has been turned upside down and you’re not having much
fun… I am trying to keep busy, not so much writing… but, of course, a bit of reading. But none of the audio
books and paperbacks I read has captured my full attention until Monday when I received the new HarperCollins paperback release
(August 4th) copy of The River Home by Hannah Richell.
Richell, you will recall, is the award-winning author
of three prior novels. Her third, The Peacock Summer (reviewed here July 1st of last year), tells the
parallel stories of Lillian Oberon, the mistress of Cloudesley, and her granddaughter, Maggie, now living in Australia. Riddled
with family secrets and surprising plot twists, I deemed it my perfect summer read. As I do, now, declare Richell’s
fourth to be, once, again, the best novel I’ve read so far this summer.
Lucy, and Margot are the daughters of Ted Sorrell, a once successful now struggling playwright, and K. T. (Kit) Weaver, a
wildly successful novelist of racy historical novels. Raised in a ramshackle farmhouse whose property abuts a river, the three
sisters are bonded together until Margot, the youngest, leaves home after a devasting argument with her mother which threatens
to destroy their family. Eight years later, impetuous Lucy announces she wants to marry her paramour, Tom, and gives Eve and
Kit less than a week to plan a wedding for 80 guests at Windsfall, the family estate. She begs Margot to return home –
“I need you” –precipitating a series of intriguingly captivating, mesmerizing, dynamically dramatic stories
of family secrets, loyalties, betrayals, and misunderstandings.
so intrigued by this novel; I just couldn’t put it down. I read it in one day (yesterday) stopping only for dinner.
It is that good. A Five-Star read!
An accomplished international best-selling author,
Richell’s writing is fluid and descriptive. Her characters are well-developed and true-to-life, their lives unfolding
against the backdrop of strikingly vivid poetic descriptions of landscapes, ambiances, and atmospheres. I reveled in her juxtapositioning
of each character’s stories – both past and present – that propel the reader to learn Margot’s dire
secret: What she did and what caused her to do it. There are a few subtle hints along the way, but the denouement is a cleverly
and artistically constructed tear-jerking, heartwarming page-tuner.
spices her novel throughout with apropos metaphoric and often ironic details, enhancing and augmenting the plot lines. For
example, Ted finds three kittens and, deciding to keep them, names them after actual playwrights: two of which are Pinter
and Mamet. There are references to real people, places, and events, enabling the stories to come alive. It is not as if you
are reading a novel about some fictious characters’ lives; you are actually living within the pages with them…
A novel you can easily get lost in, a refreshing respite from the dire pressing issues of the day…
The River Home
is a great tour de force that goes beyond the label of women’s literature. It is modern literature are its finest.
Stay safe, stay well. Wear your mask and…
Enjoy the read!