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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of Homecoming by Kate Morton

Morton's newest historical fiction involves two timelines, a decades-old tragedy, and a modern-day descendant's discovery of her family's link to mysterious deaths.

"...People were wiser back then, and less selfish. They understood that they were part of a line, not the beginning, middle, and end of it."

In Kate Morton's newest novel, Homecoming, she explores two different timelines.

In one, it's Christmas Eve in South Australia, and a local man makes a horrific discovery on the grounds of a grand country estate.

Years later, Jessica is a struggling reporter in London who is summoned to Sydney to care for her beloved grandmother Nora, who has sustained a serious fall.

While there, Jessica discovers a true-crime account of The Turner Family Tragedy of 1959--and her own family's connection to the unthinkable events.

There are two mysteries surrounding the Turner Tragedy: the whodunit aspect and the unexplained disappearance of a family member. The identity and situation regarding the latter were somewhat easily sussed out--although the very specifics were not hinted at until the Big Reveal. The whodunit aspect kept me guessing and suspecting various characters until the end.

This is a long (it's almost 550 pages), winding story with complicated connections and mysterious motivations that are eventually laid bare for the reader's satisfaction.

Jess's grandmother is presented as having been a pivotal force in Jess's life and a formidable figure, but due to her grave illness and her unconscious state, she is only seen in action in the past timeline. In modern day, she serves primarily as a catalyst for Jess's arrival and amateur sleuthing, and it seemed strange not to witness the life-changing grandmother-grandchild interactions in some way.

There's a message about faulted mothers doing the best they can here, and there are some opportunities for redemption and peace.

I often feel more invested in one timeline than the other in a dual-timeline story, and here I was more intrigued by the past events than I was by Jessica's modern-day efforts to determine the truth.

Morton's story explores secrets, loyalties, mysteries, and the complicated matter of family--those you choose, and those you're born into.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Morton is also the author of The Clockmaker's Daughter, The Forgotten Garden, The Secret Keeper, The House at Riverton, The Lake House, and The Distant Hours.

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