REVIEW: There’s No Place Like Home by Jane Lovering
Isabel, Izzy to her friends, has got nothing left to lose when she makes the bravest decision of her life.
A month living under canvas on the Yorkshire Moors with five strangers wouldn’t normally be her idea of a good time, even if there is prize money to be won at the end of it, but she’s all out of options.
Joining her in this wild goose chase, being filmed for a TV show, are farmer Seb, whose marriage is creaking but who is desperate not to lose his family. Sheltered Ruth who needs an opportunity to show she can make her own decisions. Glamorous socialite Kanga, who has been living a lie. American Junior who has his own secret that has led him there. And last but not least, mysterious and brooding Mac, who Izzy can’t help but be drawn to.
As the fickleness of nature tests them all to their limits, this disparate group come together to face the challenge. But when Izzy finally tells them the truth that has brought her out on the Moors, will that be the end of their adventure, or the beginning of her future? Because what Izzy really needs is a place to call home, and someone to share it with could be even better…
CW – MC discusses sexual harassment she was subjected to. One character discusses a little about the past rape of person he knows.
Dear Ms. Lovering,
I’ve reached the stage where, for the most part, I just automatically request to read any new book of yours I see. Perhaps I should have actually read this blurb before I began because for a while, I was totally lost as to what was going on here.
Izzy and a crew of four others are stuck in a leaking tent out on a Yorkshire moor. If ever there was a time to ominously mutter “Beware the moors!” this is it. Tagged by a grump as the upbeat happy member of the quintet, Izzy fumes a little – she’s not that happy either but has Reasons why she is taking part in this bizarre TV reality show to try to discover the truth about a large (not sheep or cow) animal roaming loose in the dales. Izzy is hiding some facts about herself and soon realizes that most if not all of the others are, too, as she somehow becomes the one to whom they all confess. Regardless of how miserable they all are – and with a bad snowstorm hitting them they all are – they also have Reasons for wanting to stick out the whole 30 days of the contest. What will they find on the moors and what will they discover about themselves?
There are some pretty crazy reality shows out there but this one … it’s far out. I, along with Izzy and the others, fairly quickly decided that the TV show was complete bunk and that the producer and audiences would just want to see how these contestants reacted under trying conditions. With them often close to mutiny due to the campsite and their fellow group members, the instances the producer, cameraman, and sound guy showed up got a bit testy. Then a near death event has Izzy and another person opening up and confessing their secrets which adds a further layer of disquiet to Izzy’s nerves.
The utter misery of November in a nylon tent is coupled with a few of the contestants suspecting fakes, plants, and ulterior motives of their fellows. What is really going on? Are the tracks and “out of the corner of their eyes” glimpses of “something” being done for ratings or is there really an animal besides a loose dog near the camp? As I read this, I kept scoffing at the idea of a large, wild, cat being loose in Yorkshire. Wouldn’t there be sheep carcasses or something? But then the book began to reveal its true purpose.
All five people plus their guide and another person have issues in their lives to deal with. For Izzy, it’s homelessness. Living in a tent and eating meh food might have the others complaining but for Izzy it’s better than couch surfing or sleeping rough after Something caused her mother to toss Izzy out. Mr. Grump and Izzy quickly form a sort of partnership that morphs into possibly more. For Reasons, Mac senses that Izzy is hiding something. He finally tells her why he has suspicions and this is something that offers Izzy some help dealing with her family problem but is also troubling.
The things that are bedeviling the other people are all realistic. What seems a little rushed to me is that Izzy ends up being the one to hear all their confessions and by the time shooting wraps, seems to have helped solve all their problems. It’s nice but unrealistic. What I do like – a lot – is that Izzy comes to the realization that she wasn’t at fault in the Reason with her mother, she makes contact, and then decides to work through things at her own pace and time schedule. Go, Izzy!
For me, the book ends up being a bit more women’s fiction/fiction with a side serving of intro romance. It’s good that the romance is more HFN with a hopeful outlook. Oh, and the TV show outcome is actually well done and sorta believable. B-