Anna Wilson travels the world as a professional housesitter – stepping into other people’s lives – caring for their homes, pets and sometimes even neighbours. Living vicariously.
A gripping and heartfelt story about overcoming the past and finding where you belong.
Anna Wilson is a professional house and pet sitter, travelling anywhere and everywhere for a week or longer to step temporarily into someone else’s life. She has few possessions and her battered old Mini contains most of them as she goes from one job to another – whether it’s a large country house or a small flat.
Home shines a light on the care system and the long lasting effect it can have if you become part of it. Anna had two parents, who for their own reasons were unable to care for her and so the state took over and the young Anna was subject to a life of pot luck and hit and miss with care. During her years being passed around from one home to another, Anna had varying experiences but the overriding mental scars together with trust issues, have left her afraid of commitment, afraid of making the wrong choice and of getting things wrong. It was easier not to make any choice at all. Growing up in foster care, she always envied her friends their secure and carefree lives, their certainty and confidence. And, while those same friends may have become her family of choice, Anna is still stuck in that nomadic cycle, looking for answers, trying to find the courage to put down roots and find a place to call home.
I was already familiar with Penny’s ‘Larkford’ series which I had enjoyed however Home elevates her writing to another level. The characters here were so superbly drawn, even those on the periphery and the telling of Anna’s story from childhood to present day makes her such an easy character to empathise with. A thought provoking and heartwarming story of friendship and of finding the courage to make changes.
Part of me secretly envied Anna’s unencumbered lifestyle – free from possessions, however Anna’s baggage may not be physical but it certainly is emotional. There is a reason for this choice of life and as her touching back story is revealed, my heart ached for the life that Anna was missing out on. Anna was a child of the foster system and has been profoundly affected by her experience.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The one constant in her life was Kate. Kate was a fantastic friend from university and though their personal lives went in different directions, their love for each other never changed. It was Kate, together with the support of her family, throughout Anna’s university life who tried to provide the family that Anna never had. Kate could see the potential in Anna but it was making her believe in herself that was the biggest hurdle. Everyone needs a Kate in their life.
My thanks to SJ of Team BATC at S&S for the tour invite and copy to review.
Penny Parkes lives in the Cotswolds. She has appeared at literary festivals around the country and has written for The Telegraph as well as extensively in her local media. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram as @CotswoldPenny
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Ebook, Audio and Hardback (8 July 2021) | Paperback (20 January 2022)
Source: Copy received for review
This was a deeply moving story of trying to find your place in the world and having to deal with deep rooted insecurities and deciding what you really want from life. I must be honest and say that there were times when I thought that the story slowed a little – even so, I enjoyed it very much. Anna was such a resilient character and some of the people she came across on her travels had such an impact on her life -many for the good, others not so.
But all Anna has ever really wanted is a home of her own – a proper one, filled with family and love and happy memories. If only she knew where to start. AUTHOR LINKS