I have loved all of Carmel Harrington’s books and this one is no exception. I was over the moon to win a copy in a competition on the wonderful blog Swirl and Thread – thanks so much Mairead! The focus on this book is on homelessness, some of the reasons it happens, the effects it has on the characters in the book and the way people respond to homelessness.
Tom O’Grady is a former doctor who is homeless and sleeping on park bench. We’ve all seen people like that and let’s be honest, we’ve probably all been a little wary, judgemental even. As Tom’s story is gradually revealed, we see the heartbreak which has caused his current situation. Despite his own difficulties though, he is always willing to use his medical knowledge to help other rough sleepers, or indeed anyone in need. He is a gentleman in the truest sense of the word.
Ruth Wilde is a single mother who has ended up in B&B accommodation with her son DJ. Through her, we see the restrictions and difficulties you perhaps never think about for families in her situation. Where do the children do their homework? How can you feed yourself if cooking facilities are limited? Where can you get your clothes washed and dried? I have occasionally helped at our local foodbank and know that many people in this kind of accommodation aren’t allowed even a microwave so are restricted to what we call kettle food. Imagine having to survive on cup-a-soups and those pasta or rice meals you make in a cup. Ruth has added challenges as she has Asperger’s which makes her rather obsessive about some things and very blunt in her conversation which doesn’t always endear her to others.
Through these characters, Carmel Harrington explores grief and loss and mental health issues. She sensitively looks at living with Aspergers and how it affects everyday life. And she looks at how we can all change the world ‘one person at a time.’ Ruth, DJ and Tom – and the residents of the temporary accommodation – are all changed in ways they could never have anticipated, by simple acts of kindness, acceptance and love.
It is often said that any of us is only two pay cheques away from the streets. There are so many reasons why people end up homeless, on the streets or in temporary accommodation. It’s not always the fault of the homeless person. Having read this book, I think I will be a bit kinder, a bit more ready to think about the story of why the person is living like this. A Thousand Roads Home is a beautiful and touching story of finding your place in the world, finding your home. It’s emotional, engaging and thought-provoking. Ultimately, it is a hopeful and uplifting book showing the resilience of the human spirit and the way that love, in its many forms, can transform lives.
A Thousand Roads Home is published by Harper Collins and is available now as an ebook. The paperback will follow on 8th August 2019. At the time of writing, the Kindle version is only 99p, an absolute bargain. Please check the current price before you buy. Order your copy here: A Thousand Roads Home
From the back of the book
Meet Tom. Or Dr O’Grady, as he used to be called. When you pass him on the street, most people don’t even give him a second glance. You see, Tom isn’t living his best life. Burdened by grief, he’s only got his loyal dog, Bette Davis, for company and a rucksack containing his whole world.
Then there’s Ruth and her son, DJ, who no longer have a place to call home.
But Ruth believes that you can change the world by helping one person at a time – and Tom needs her help…
About the author
Carmel Harrington is an internationally published novelist from Co. Wexford, where she lives with her family. She has published seven novels and been shortlisted twice (2016 & 2017) for an Irish Book Award. Her books, all regular chart toppers, have captured the hearts of readers worldwide and are translated into eight languages to date, sold into eleven territories. Her seventh novel, A Thousand Roads Home is on sale now. Other books include the official ITV novel Sunday Times Bestseller Cold Feet The Lost Years (Hodder & Stoughton) and The Woman at 72 Derry Lane (Harper Collins) which remained in the Irish Top 10 bestseller charts for twelve weeks and was an Amazon UK, US and Canadian No. 1. She is co-founder of The Inspiration Project, a coaching writing retreat and was Chair of Wexford Literary Festival from 2015 – 2018. She is currently editing her eight novel, Finding Greta Gale. Carmel is represented by Rowan Lawton of the YMU Group.
For more information visit http://www.carmelharrington.com. You can find Carmel on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, at @HappyMrsH