Apr 20, 2015

Welsh Week: Back Home by Bethan Darwin

 t looks like Ellie has lost the love of her life, and along with him goes the bijou flat in Primrose Hill and the illicit 5* lifestyle. There's not much left but to decamp back to the rather more humdrum confines of her mum and grandad's house in Clapham.

Finding herself back home and loveless isn't all bad though. Ellie can always hit the backpacker trail again, or maybe even find a job that sticks – the solicitor's office she's temping in this time is at least trying to help out those having real problems – like keeping their kids, or a roof over their heads. And it's nice spending time with her grandad Trevor, drinking proper 'Welsh' tea from real china cups and looking out at the veg Trevor has coaxed from the London clay. And there is even a distraction from her broken heart in the shape of hunky landscape gardener Gabriel....

But just when it looks like everything is shaping up tickety-boo there's a knock on the door that turns Trevor's world upside down and takes them unexpectedly back to the Welsh Valleys in wartime…

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Review by Tanya

After a break up of her relationship in the main city Ellie Finds herself packing up and going back to live with her mum and Grandad, Trevor, in her granddads house where she was brought up. Grandad, Frank, has lived in the house since moving to Clapham from Wales after his wife died of TB leaving him with a young baby, Sarah. He worked hard to make a good life for himself and his baby daughter and subsequently granddaughter and he has achieved this. However he has never been to visit Wales since leaving. 
You hear about the history of his marriage with the parts that look back at his past life and find that the case of his wife dying of TB are not true and that there is a situation there that his daughter and granddaughter should really be made aware of. I was shocked by this and felt so much for Trevor. I do wonder how his wife could do this and know that I never could. 
Ellie always had a free spirit and liked to stay in UK only long enough to get enough money to go traveling again. This was until she met Robert and fell for him big time, she's even going as far as taking a permanent job. When things change and affect their relationship she is devastated and she cannot get away fast enough. Luckily her friends are great and forget about the months when she has not wanted to see them. Her best friend Gina encourages her to look locally for a job and to start to go out again. It is nice to see her confidence coming back and to see how strong her relationship is with her family and friends.

Back Home is full of interesting twists and turns and fantastic descriptions. In fact I actually showed my daughters the descriptions and the reminiscing in the first few pages to describe to them how it sets the scene. I really could imagine myself in the tall terraced house in Clapham.
This story is told in two parts, a story taking place in the present day in Clapham and one that took place towards and after the end of the Second World War in the valleys of Wales. These stories overlap in some way, namely the shocking event for Ellie and her mum, Sarah. It’s fantastic to see what happens after the shock has gone. I’m so pleased the story ended as it did.

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