It is a pleasure to be taking part on the blog tour for Sarah Stovell’s second novel, The Home. And before I start my review, I think we need to give praise to that cover! It really is just a tiny indication of the emotion wrapped up within!
Thanks to Anne over at RandomThingsTours for inviting me to take part and to Orenda Books for the ARC.
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
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.
Oh my, as openings go this one pretty well nails it! Haunting, chilling and totally grabs you straight in! Am I telling you anymore about the opening…nope, not a chance, you will just need to go read it yourself!
If you have read the blurb then you will know it’s not too difficult to work out that this book is going to be an emotive read. Exploring the lives of kids in care is never going to be easy, it’s not all fluffy and happy ever after and Sarah quickly captures the rawness of reality for kids in this situation.
At the beginning of the book I didn’t really know where I was or who I was listening to but what I did know, this book was messing with my mind big time. I could feel more than a tension, it was almost like being inside the midst of a breakdown. I had to stop and catch my breath a few times. Within just a few pages I knew this one was going to be raw and that it would tear away at me. I wasn’t wrong.
Steeped in atmosphere the sense of place is bleak and almost suffocated me, it wasn’t hard to imagine the desolate landscape of the home
The Home gives more than a passing reference to the state of our system, and especially the care system where savage cuts are having the most tragic consequences. My heart broke as Annie, Hope and Lara’s stories were uncovered.
It’s brutal and it’s raw and it is desperately heart-breaking. It is uncomfortable to read in places but never gratuitous, if you read this and you are not enraged then you must have a heart of stone.
The girls’ stories were those of despair and heartbreak. It was also a love story, a story of love between two young girls who clung to each other to try and stay afloat.
My heart cried throughout this book. Each character reached out the pages and broke me a hundred times over. I wept tears of rage and of sadness. I became angry because I know this is based on a dark truth that still exists for vulnerable kids out there; at the brutal reality of a system that really has lost its ability to care.
You cannot read this and not feel anger at those who let our children down, but tied in with that is an empathy and understanding of the toxicity of life. Desperation seeped from the pages and I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream. So many wrongs, so many failings, the chaos that follows is sadly almost inevitable.
Sarah Stovell writes with such passion and emotion, every single word on these pages earned their place there. This is most definitely going to be one of the books of the year!
Don’t forget to check out what the other bloggers are saying:
You can buy The Home via
About the author
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.