Book: 488 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (8th July 2021)
Anna Wilson travels the world as a professional housesitter – stepping into other people’s lives – caring for their homes, pets and sometimes even neighbours. Living vicariously.
But all Anna has ever really wanted is a home of her own – a proper one, filled with family and love and happy memories. If only she knew where to start.
Growing up in foster care, she always envied her friends their secure and carefree lives, their certainty and confidence. And, while those same friends may have become her family of choice, Anna is still stuck in that nomadic cycle, looking for answers, trying to find the courage to put down roots and find a place to call home.
Compelling, rich and evocative, Home is Anna’s journey to discovering that it isn’t where you settle down that matters, but the people you have around you when you do.
If there’s one thing this last year has taught us, it’s that the people we choose to spend our time with, and choose to love, don’t always have to be our blood family to make us feel loved and grounded and that’s something Anna hasn’t yet worked out.
The story starts with Anna turning up to yet another house-sitting job and looking forward to an easy couple of weeks doing what she is good at – stepping into someone else’s life and trying it on for size, all while not having to face up to her past. While Anna is at this post, she’s attending her best friend’s wedding and hoping not to bump into her ex.
The story is set in several different locations as we follow Anna – past and present – trying to find her place in life and trying to reconcile her past. She wants to live a ‘normal’ life, like everyone else – but it turns out that no two people live the same lives and that behind every front door, there’s a different story to be told (or to be hidden). Along the way, Anna makes some unexpected connections and comes to some very important realisations (sometimes too late).
I really loved this book. As always, when I was reading it I was like “oh yeah, that’s going to happen” but, because of the brilliance of Penny’s writing, I was wrong about 97% of the time (and the 3% I was right was just before it actually happened and it couldn’t have been more obvious!). I adore Penny’s books and I love how she adds in animals as extra characters in the plot (in this case, the animals emulate the character of the people who really do live in the houses Anna is looking after). Penny doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects either and she really does tackle quite a few issues in this book – and it’s incredibly well researched too. It was exactly what I needed to read right now. My only complaint is it made me miss travel – Bath, Oxford, St Pancras…….
There’s definitely room to meet these characters again in a future book.
Remember: Home is where the heart is.
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