Title: Forever Home
Publisher: 27th September 2022 by Hachette Australia
Pages: 360 pages
My Rating: 3.5 cups
Carol is a divorced teacher living in a small town in Ireland, her only son now grown. A second chance at love brings her unexpected connection and belonging. The new relationship sparks local speculation: what does a woman like her see in a man like that? What happened to his wife who abandoned them all those years ago? But the gossip only serves to bring the couple closer.
When Declan becomes ill, things start to fall apart. His children are untrusting and cruel, and Carol is forced to leave their beloved home with its worn oak floors and elegant features and move back in with her parents.
Carol's mother is determined to get to the bottom of things, she won't see her daughter suffer in this way. It seems there are secrets in Declan's past, strange rumours that were never confronted and suddenly the house they shared takes on a more sinister significance.
In his tense and darkly comic new novel Norton casts a light on the relationship between mothers and daughters, and truth and self-preservation with unnerving effect.
‘They were two single adults who had found a second chance for happiness. Perhaps predictably, the rest of Ballytoor didn't appear to see things in such simple terms.
The age difference.
The fact she was the teacher of his children.
That she was divorced.
That his wife had fled.’
Graham Norton can certainly add great storytelling to his list of achievements. Forever Home is set in a small town in Ireland with the usual inclusive mix of somewhat quirky yet relatable characters. With an intriguing storyline containing everything from a mystery, to black humour to heartwarming moments, Graham has penned yet another engaging tale.
When Declan is diagnosed with early onset dementia, Carol is devastated especially when his grown children wish to sell the house that they had been sharing. When it eventually goes on the market, Carol buys it with the assistance of her parents. This in turn leads to a discovery that will set off a whole chain of events - a mystery to solve that will prove both emotional and comical.
The setting and dialogue are distinctly Irish, transporting you into the heart of the community. With some characters carrying dark comic traits (especially Carol’s mother who most likely is the star of this tale) there is much to attract and engage readers of this genre. Graham Norton’s fame may be what initially attracts readers, however, his quality of writing will see them return to the books he is regularly offering the reading community.
‘Carol wished she could tell … the truth about what had happened all those years ago. They deserved to know, but it wasn't her secret to share.’
This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.