Title: Finding Home
Author: Lauren Westwood
Publisher: Aria (Head of Zeus)
Publication Date: 1 April 2016
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
A month ago, Amy Wood had her perfect home, her perfect boyfriend and her perfect job. Now she is broken-hearted, living in her parents’ tiny bungalow, and working in a local estate agents in Bath.
At least her new job keeps her busy. Rosemont Hall is a crumbling mansion riddled with woodworm, dry rot – and secrets. As Amy searches for the perfect owner to restore the house to its former glory, she begins to uncover pieces of the past that some people would rather remain hidden.
In her battle to save Rosemont Hall, Amy will encounter scary housekeepers, evil property developers and mysterious American heirs – and will discover whether the secrets of the past can bring her closer to the future of her dreams…
Thank you to Head of Zeus (Aria) & NetGalley for providing me with a review copy of Finding Home, the debut novel from author Lauren Westwood.
Amy Wood is living a charmed life until, within the space of 24 hours, she manages to lose her boyfriend, her job and her perfect home. She finds herself single and miserable, having to return home to live with her parents. After struggling to find new employment, Amy finds herself in the right place/right time to successfully obtain an administrative position at a local estate agents.
With a bit of luck and good timing, Amy finds herself appointed to the job of finding a buyer for a beautiful but decrepit old mansion, Rosemont Hall. Amy can see the potential with the old house and it becomes her mission to save Rosemont Hall from falling into the hands of a corporation who want to turn the land into a flashy new golf course.
My attention was first grabbed by the deliciously bright and colourful front cover. They say to never judge a book by its cover, but this one was so inviting that I just couldn’t resist!
The plot was interesting, well thought-out and easy to follow. This is essentially a love story, however the romance element seemed to take second place to Rosemont Hall and I liked that focus. I also liked the comedy moments within the story, most of which centred around some embarrassing moments that Amy finds herself in the middle of.
I enjoyed Westwood’s style of writing. I found it to be nicely descriptive and I felt myself falling in love with Rosemont Hall. I loved the element of mystery pertaining to the history of the house and its former inhabitants. The chapters are interspersed with extracts from old letters which is a great way of allowing the reader to learn more about the history of Rosemont Hall, whilst also moving the current story along. The chapters also begin with quotes from classic novels, which is a lovely nod to those older works of literature and perfectly in keeping with the setting at Rosemont Hall.
The characters were realistic and well-placed within the story. Amy is a likable protagonist. She has her heart in the right place but definitely makes a few wrong decisions. Her colleagues are another story and I think Westwood has thrown in a bit of subtle humour here, creating a cast of stereotypical estate agents – flash, brash, pushy and money-orientated. A great addition to the story!
Overall, I enjoyed Westwood’s debut novel. The book is uplifting, funny and well-written. I enjoyed the romantic sub-plot and I loved the dashed of humour, particularly the odd laugh-out-loud moment. An easy and entertaining read, perfect for a little bit of escapism.
About the Author
Lauren Westwood is a writer of women’s fiction and a solicitor for a renewable energy company. Her debut women’s fiction book Finding Home was inspired by her family’s three-year long search for a house that made them the bane of home county estate agents.
Originally from California, she now lives in a pernickety 400 year-old house in Surrey, with her partner Ian and their three young daughters. Her next novel, Finding Secrets will be published by Aria (Head of Zeus) in April 2017.