Coming Home – Lois Cloarec Hart

Coming Home - Lois Cloarec Hart Terry has recently finished her MA and taken a job as a postal worker. The pay is good, she enjoys the exercise, and more than anything it gives her time to think, time to plan and write her first novel.

While walking her round one day she steps in as a knight in shining armor to help a couple on her route. Rob, an ex fighter pilot struck down by degenerative MS, is helpless on the floor and Jan, his devoted wife, is unable to lift him on her own.

The chance encounter leads to a rapidly developing friendship between the three. Rob is the life and soul of the party; Jan book is a book addict who has literally given up her dreams to support Rob. Terry, her family, and her housemates, soon form a welcome addition to Jan and Rob’s small social circle.

Everything is great – for a while – but fate does not intend to leave these three without a twist and as time goes on they will find themselves in an impossible position. As always in an emotional triangle the challenge will be how to meet everybody’s needs without destroying the very fabric of their friendships.

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This is the first book I have read by this author and it certainly won’t be the last. While many of the threads to this tale are familiar, it is delivered with an unusual twist. The story is handled with great sympathy for all the characters involved and the impact of Rob’s disability gives us an interesting insight into the impact a degenerative disease can have on a couple.

The characters are exceedingly well drawn and extremely likeable. The family dynamics make a nice counterpoint to the relationships Terry has with her flat-mates and friends. And the three main characters are ably supported by a wide ranging cast.

Throughout the book we get to know a great deal about the three main players as their back-history is gradually filled in. However I found the lack of introductions slightly disconcerting. The author introduces new characters directly into the plot without giving us any context and then, over time, fills in who they  are. Once the new characters had been integrated into the story I found myself becoming increasingly fond of them. But I did find myself, on several occasions, wondering quite who the new people were until we were given some context.

Despite the slightly dark subject matter the story is filled with humour and warmth. These are not easy subjects to write about. Both MS and emotional triangles are painful and can be heavy to handle. But despite the looming loss and crisis Ms Hart has us laughing at the interplay of characters, at the antics of her heroine, and admiring the stoic cheerfulness and upbeat good humor of the tragic hero.

LC Hart biogI enjoyed the plot, I enjoyed the complexity of the relationships that developed, I thought the triangle was well handled, and that the book was well written.  The growing relationship between Terry and Jan is delicately handled and sweet to watch – Ms Hart is certainly an author I will be happy to read again.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • First published 2001
  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing; revised edition
    (March 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IYFC3B2
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