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Monday, March 1, 2021

Review: A Home Like Ours

A Home Like Ours
Author: Fiona Lowe

Publisher: 3rd March 2021 byHarlequin Australia & MIRA

Pages: 576 pages

How I Read It: ARC book

Genre: women’s fiction,  contemporary

My Rating: 3.5 crowns


A picturesque small town, a cosy community garden, a facade of tolerance and acceptance - but when three women with wildly different loyalties come together, what secrets and lies will be revealed? A timely novel exploring prejudice and privilege, from bestselling Australian author Fiona Lowe.

Tara Hooper is at breaking point. With two young children, a business in a town struggling under an unexpected crime wave, and her husband more interested in his cricket team than their marriage, life is a juggling act. Then, when new neighbours arrive and they are exactly the sort of people the town doesn't want or need, things get worse.

Life has taught Helen Demetriou two things: being homeless is terrifying and survival means keeping your cards close to your chest. Having clawed back some stability through her involvement in the community garden, she dares to relax. But as she uncovers some shady goings-on in the council, that stability turns to quicksand.

For teenage mother Jade Innes, life can be lonely among the judgement of the town and the frequent absences of her boyfriend. A chance encounter draws her into the endangered community garden where she makes friends for the first time. Glimpsing a different way of life is enticing but its demands are terrifying. Does she even deserve to try?

My Thoughts

‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression.’

I am a fan of Fiona’s work as she often tackles important contemporary issues, inviting her readers to contemplate what their own attitude or response might be. On this occasion, in a rural setting, Fiona offers a range of social situations for consideration.

Once more Fiona has created a cast of characters with real depth and range. Whether it be the teenage single Mum, the married middle aged wife, or the older retiree. These women, with their individual problems, band together and create a community that is willing to support and provide for each other. It is rather a long tale, slow in some places, but Fiona obviously wished to bring her reader into each character’s plight and story.

The problem I have is that I feel Fiona took on way too many topical issues in this one book. You will read everything from displacement, racism, volunteering, chronic illness, homelessness, poverty, ageism, single mothers, refugees being the main ones. Is it possible to do justice to each even with the book pushing six hundred pages? Fiona certainly gives it a fair attempt, yet to my mind, I would have appreciated fewer issues with more concentrated detail.

I did enjoy the underlying dilemma that served to bring the community together and reached a good climax by the end to provide an all up engaging tale. Ultimately this is a book about hope, learning to break down social and cultural barriers to create a community worth living in. Would you be strong enough to take steps and make things right?

‘Your blind spot was underestimating a young single mother and an older homeless woman. We don’t shy away from battles. We live them every day.’

Visit Helen @ Great Reads & Tea Leaves

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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