Friday, April 21, 2023

Book Review: Homecoming by Kate Morton

Pages: 560
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: April 4, 2023
Publisher: Mariner
Source: Personal Copy
Other Books By Author: The Distant Hours,
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "Adelaide Hills, Christmas Eve, 1959: At the end of a scorching hot day, beside a creek on the grounds of the grand and mysterious mansion, a local delivery man makes a terrible discovery. A police investigation is called and the small town of Tambilla becomes embroiled in one of the most shocking and perplexing murder cases in the history of South Australia. Sixty years later, Jess is a journalist in search of a story. Having lived and worked in London for almost twenty years, she now finds herself laid off from her full-time job and struggling to make ends meet. A phone call out of nowhere summons her back to Sydney, where her beloved grandmother, Nora, who raised Jess when her mother could not, has suffered a fall and been raced to the hospital. Nora has always been a vibrant and strong presence: decisive, encouraging, young despite her years. When Jess visits her in the hospital, she is alarmed to find her grandmother frail and confused. It’s even more alarming to hear from Nora's housekeeper that Nora had been distracted in the weeks before her accident and had fallen on the steps to the attic—the one place Jess was forbidden from playing in when she was small. At loose ends in Nora's house, Jess does some digging of her own. In Nora's bedroom, she discovers a true crime book, chronicling the police investigation into a long-buried tragedy: the Turner Family Tragedy of Christmas Eve, 1959. It is only when Jess skims through the book that she finds a shocking connection between her own family and this once-infamous crime—a crime that has never been resolved satisfactorily. And for a journalist without a story, a cold case might be the best distraction she can find…An epic novel that spans generations, Homecoming asks what we would do for those we love, and how we protect the lies we tell. It explores the power of motherhood, the corrosive effects of tightly held secrets, and the healing nature of truth. Above all, it is a beguiling and immensely satisfying novel from one of the finest writers working today." 
Jess Turner-Bridges lives in England, far from Australia where she grew up. One day she receives an upsetting phone call to return home as her grandmother, Nora, who has fallen and is now in the hospital. Nora's next in kin is Jess, as she has raised her, so Jess has to return home immediately. She finds out her ninety year old grandmother was trying to get to the attic when she fell. Jess can't help but wonder what could she need up there? Once she sees Nora in the hospital she isn't herself and is mumbling about various things including "the pages." Jess is really curious about what is going on here as her grandmother has always been very lucid and coherent. Nora is clearly distressed, so Jess wants to get to the bottom of it. Things really change for Jess once she stumbles upon a book in Nora's library entitled As If They Were Asleep by Daniel Miller. It details the deaths of a family living in her neighborhood back in the 50s. Upon further examination, she realizes these deaths are tied to her own family! Jess knew nothing about this scandal and is determined to know more about her family's history. Kate Morton's Homecoming is an eerie tale filled with murder, mystery, family drama, and it oozes with atmosphere.

Jess is a character that I immediately cared about in Homecoming. I loved her quest to learn more about her family whether it was through stories, excerpts from the book she found, or talking to her estranged mother, Polly. There's a big mystery at play here and Morton double downs by incorporating flashbacks to 1950s Australia and to the scene of the "crime." Slowly we realize that Jess's family has some skeletons in the closet and the details come to the surface as Jess digs deeper and deeper.

Morton is a masterful storyteller and her dual timeline narratives were outstanding in Homecoming. Her writing was also on point; there were so many lines that really struck me as quite beautiful. My only issue was the pacing. At times it felt a tad bit slow compared to her other novels. However, I knew that I had to stick with it, because Morton always delivers.
If you are looking for a mystery with some Gothic vibes to curl up with this spring, Homecoming is it. Morton can do no wrong and always entertains. So, is Homecoming is on your spring TBR list or if you have read it already? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.



  1. I always look forward to a new Kate Morton novel! Glad to hear this one delivers, especially since there was such a long wait between books.

    1. It was a long wait, but definitely worth it. This one was so atmospheric and despite the slow pacing, I really enjoyed it. I hope you do, too. Thanks for visiting!


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