A Home from Home by Veronica Henry: Love, loss, passion and tragedy all play their part as we travel between past and present to uncover unexpected truths and hidden surprises on almost every step of the journey - book review -

A Home from Home
A Home from Home
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It’s not quite Romeo and Juliet but get ready for warring families, buried secrets, and star-cross’d lovers as Veronica Henry visits the ‘fair’ countryside of Somerset for a gorgeous, sunshine, cider-soaked story, beautifully written and perfectly wrapped for summertime reading.

An old grudge between two households threatens to break out again…

It’s not quite Romeo and Juliet but get ready for warring families, buried secrets, and star-cross’d lovers as Veronica Henry visits the ‘fair’ countryside of Somerset for a gorgeous, sunshine, cider-soaked story, beautifully written and perfectly wrapped for summertime reading.

A Home from Home is this born storyteller’s twentieth novel and it delivers exactly what her readers love best… a warm, home-spun, feelgood tale full of family drama, romance, mystery and a vibrant cast of characters you want to hug to your heart.

Domestic life – and its recognisable triumphs, tragedies and pitfalls ­– lie at the heart of the action as two families from the opposite sides of a picturesque river are forced to look across the generations and into their intertwined past to dig out the roots of a bitter, century-old feud.

Dragonfly Farm, deep in the Somerset countryside, has been a home and a haven for generations of the Melchior family since the house and its land were won in a card game by Joseph Melchior from the wealthy Casper Culbone of nearby Rushbrook House nearly one hundred years ago.

Since then, the Melchiors haven’t spoken to the Culbones – who live on the other side of the river – particularly as Capser Culbone took his revenge by stealing Eleanor, the love of Joseph’s life, and it ended in a terrible tragedy.

Now, Rushbrook House has been rented out for years and is falling apart, and the rarely seen Culbone family ‘seem like butterflies on the verge of extinction.’ Dragonfly Farm, meanwhile, is a timeless but vibrant place, dictated by the seasons and cider-making, and casting everyone under its spell.

For cousins Tabitha and Georgia, the farm has always been a home from home. It is owned by their beloved great uncle Matthew Melchior, known fondly as ‘Gum,’ who took in Tabitha ten years ago when her parents’ divorce sent her off the rails.

Tabitha, fiercely independent and prickly, virtually runs the farm she adores and for London-based TV producer Georgia, it is her city escape. And when Gum dies suddenly, it seems that the place where they have always belonged might now belong to them.

But Gum’s will reveals that a third of the farm has been left to a total stranger… a man called Gabriel Culbone who has no idea why he has been included, or what his connection to the farm or the Melchiors can be.

And there is another Culbone on the scene… handsome Dash Culbone is saying goodbye to his minimalist, upmarket London apartment overlooking Tower Bridge to live in tumbledown Rushbrook House.

As the first apples start to fall for the cider harvest, will Dragonfly Farm finally begin to give up its secrets?

Packed with emotion, drama, superb characterisation, and the ‘realistic escapism’ that has become a trademark of Henry’s wonderful novels, A Home from Home proves to be simply irresistible as the feisty Tabitha and her ambitious cousin Georgia delve into dark secrets from the past.

Love, loss, passion and tragedy all play their part as we travel between past and present to uncover unexpected truths and hidden surprises on almost every step of the journey. With her natural wit and observant eye, Henry serves up real family life, real people and real issues but with the lightest of touches and the warmest of hearts.

And as always, the backdrop is painted like a work of art… full of rural charm, lush apple orchards and sleepy hamlets. So sit back, raise your glass of sparkling cider, and toast a writer at the top of her game!

(Orion, paperback, £7.99)