What attracted me to this book was the rural Southwold county Suffolk setting and the discovery of an old diary - a mystery! Also, I am an easy mark for a attractive cover and I just love the looks of this one.
The beginning of the book is set in London and we do travel back there briefly during the story. Phillipa Rose Appleby is from a rural area of England, growing up on a farm. She aspired to have a grander life than a farmwife and achieved her goals by becomng a barrister, QC which means Queen's Counsel. On the farm she was always known as Pip. When she begins her life in London she switches to a posher name, Rose.
One morning during her drive through London she has an accident. She is on her way to court when a young boy darts out on traffic. Rose struck him with her car. It's an accident and ruled so by the police, coroner and witnesses but Rose can't forgive herself. She is detroyed by guilt and panic attacks and returns home to Suffolk, hence the title of the book - Reluctantly Home.
Her parents are supportive but Pip, as she was always refered to at home, is impatient with her situation. She longs to go back to her London life yet she is still consumed with guilt and worries about having another panic attack in court. Stuck in a small town where life is decidedly slower and low key, she volunteers at a charity shop to keep her occupied. Fortuitously she comes across a diary from 1983, donated by mistake, and lets herself escape her life by reading the diary of Evelyn Hardcastle.
Evelyn was an actress in London but her story is very interesting as laid out in the diary. Both Evelyn and Pip have one thing in common - they both felt stuck in Southwold and wanted their old lives back. Evelyn's story is engaging and resonates with Pip even though their reasons for being back home are different. I will say the ending was not what I would have predicted but I'm satisfied.
The only other novel I have read by Ms. Clark is The Last Piece and I enjoyed it very much. I've now discovered she has several books published which I intend to add to my to-read list. As a matter of fact, I just purchased Postcards from a Stranger which was on sale for $1.99 (Kindle version/ Amazon).
Publication date for Reluctantly Home is April 29, 2021 by Amazon Publishing UK. Genre is Women's Fiction and General Fiction.
Much thanks to Netgalley for the advanced copy of this book. I was not compensated for the review and all opinions expressed here are mine.
Sharing with Joy's Book blog for British Isles Friday.