I used to watch Graham Norton on the television a lot at one time. I’m not a big fan anymore but I was interested to see what his writing was like so I delved in with Forever Home. I listened on Audible and it was narrated by Graham Norton himself.
The Blurb for Forever Home
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.
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.
My Review of Forever Home
I would describe this as cosy crime with a touch of humour. It did make me laugh, but it also had me gripped to find out what had happened. It was a really good combination for snuggling up with on a cold night. (Or for reading on the beach!)
I loved the characterisation, it felt like you really knew everyone major in the story. There were some twists and a bit of a shock along the way, and a totally unbelievable and ridiculous solution which brings some humour. My favourite character had to be Carol’s mammy, Moira.
It would have been nice to include a little more of the Irish landscape, but the accents rang through. In the audible version during telephone calls Graham actually sounded like he was on the other end of the phone. Graham read the book in in regular mild accent but accentuated the Irish characters to fit.
Carol was spoilt by her parents and in turn this made her a little vulnerable. Making her way in the world, she’d done okay, got herself a teaching job and married with a son. Then she got divorced and ended up falling for an older man who’s daughter she taught. His wife had disappeared many years ago and had no contact with the kids. He was very protective of his home but his kids were quite brat like and had no regard for their father or his new partner.
When Carol’s new partner, Declan, got dementia he went downhill very quickly and his children put him in a care home, then kicked Carol out and put the house up for sale.
Carol moves home with her parents but then things take a strange twist and the story of why Declan never wanted to sell the house becomes apparent. We also find out what happened to his missing wife.
I whizzed through this book as it was an easy story and I actually enjoyed it. I’m now ready to get my teeth into something a deeper.
You can also purchase Forever Home in paperback (affiliate link)