Saturday, 19 April 2014
A place to call home by Carole Matthews
In the dead of night, Ayesha takes her daughter, Sabina, and slips quietly from her home, leaving behind a life of full of pain. Boarding a coach to London, all Ayesha wants is a fresh start. Hayden, a former popstar, has kept himself hidden away for years. He's only opened up his home to two people - Crystal, a professional dancer with a heart of gold, and Joy, an ill-tempered retiree with a soft spot for waifs and strays. When Crystal asks Hayden if Ayesha and Sabina can stay with them, he reluctantly agrees and, as different as they may be, they quickly form an unlikely bond. So when enemies threaten their peaceful home, they will do all they can to save it and each other. Uplifting and emotional, this is a novel of new beginnings, of discovering love and of finding A Place to Call Home.
I always enjoy Carol Matthews' books. I know that when I pick one up I am going to be introduced to great characters, strong women who take control of the story. There is romance, humour and great storylines within each book, however each book has a strong storyline which keep readers interested to the very end.
I thought that the storyline of A Place to Call Home was darker than Matthews' previous books and was one that I was interested to know more about - domestic violence in the Muslim community. I, myself work within a children's centre in an area where there is a high Muslim family population, and I am well aware of the private nature of family life within the community and the close knit feeling within the area. Talking to a family support worker from the centre, she was able to confirm that domestic violence is high amongst the community with women finding it difficult to leave due to the high number of young married couples living with the groom's parents, the brides remaining at home, often not speaking much English and feeling alone. I think that Carole's drew on this background very well and moulded the character of Ayesha very well, a Muslim lady in today's society who was shy and dependent upon on others. I can not think of another book which I have read which tackles the subject of domestic violence and male dominance within a relation which has Muslim families at the heart of it - well done Carole on highlighting this very real and worrying subject.
I also liked the strength Ayesha felt when she left her husband and the way she was able to build a new life elsewhere - however she still took on a similar role, looking after others, cooking and cleaning but I really loved the following story which followed Ayesha as she managed to carve a new life for herself and her daughter.
As always I loved Carole's latest book and was able to loose myself very easily in Ayesha's story. There was a group of strong women at the heart of the story, each having demons in their own backgrounds, but all working together to give Ayesha the new life she deserved. I also liked Hayden - he sounds like the man all stranded women need to meet - a knight in shining armor who helped Ayesha but also was able to reclaim his life and come out the other side a better man.
I would recommend all women to slip this book into their holiday luggage - a fantastic read with a great story background. Although there is a serious subject at the start of this story, the following story is a fantastic read.
Thank you to the publishers, Sphere, for sending me the book to review.