Where We Belong is the story of Cate and her son Leo. Following her redundancy, they have no choice but to move from London to her husband’s family home, which just happens to be a fading museum. Cate knows that her husband Richard rarely visited his childhood home as an adult but doesn’t know why. As Cate begins to feel a sense of belonging and part of the museum, she works hard to make it a success but it seems that life is conspiring against her time and again.
The relationship between Cate and Leo was beautifully drawn and very touching. I liked that way that it wasn’t just Cate who started to grow more independent and sure of herself throughout the book, despite making mistakes, but Leo too. The importance of not making judgements about people too quickly is clear throughout with several of the characters proving to be not as they first appear.
The museum reminded me of our wonderful National Museum of Scotland (sadly closed just now of course but you can have a virtual look round here). I spent many happy hours both as a child and then with my own children when they were little. I know it is somewhat controversial to have stuffed animals on display, and certainly Cate wasn’t happy about this initially, but I felt the author explained the reasoning behind this very well. The museum and house became a character in itself and was central to the story. It was so beautifully described that I could imagine myself walking through its various galleries. I know it is inspired by a real museum and maybe one day, I’ll be able to visit it.
I really enjoyed Where We Belong which is a charming and engaging story about past secrets and finding out, well, where you belong really and why. With its beautiful setting, fascinating characters and a few darker themes woven through the narrative, it’s a book that will touch and satisfy you.
My thanks to publishers Simon & Schuster for sending me an early copy of this book. Where We Belong is available now in hardback, ebook and audiobook formats. In these difficult times, please order a copy from an independent bookshop if you can. Otherwise you will find buying options for various retailers on the Simon & Schuster website here: Where We Belong
From the back of the book
One family learning to love again.
Cate Morris and her son, Leo, are homeless, adrift. They’ve packed up the boxes from their London home, said goodbye to friends and colleagues, and now they are on their way to ‘Hatters Museum of the Wide Wide World – to stay just for the summer. Cate doesn’t want to be there, in Richard’s family home without Richard to guide her any more. And she knows for sure that Araminta, the retainer of the collection of dusty objects and stuffed animals, has taken against them. But they have nowhere else to go. They have to make the best of it.
But Richard hasn’t told Cate the truth about his family’s history. And something about the house starts to work its way under her skin.
Can she really walk away, once she knows the truth?
About the author
Anstey Harris is based by the seaside in south-east England where she lives with her violinmaker husband and two dogs. She teaches creative writing in the community, local schools, and as an associate lecturer for Christchurch University in Canterbury.
Anstey writes about the things that make people tick, the things that bind us and the things that can rip us apart. In 2015, she won the H G Wells Short Story Prize for her story, Ruby. In novels, Anstey tries to celebrate uplifting ideas and prove that life is good and that happiness is available to everyone once we work out where to look (usually inside ourselves). Her short stories tend not to end quite so well…
Things that interest Anstey include her children and granddaughter, green issues and conservation, adoption and adoption reunion (she is an adopted child, born in an unmarried mothers’ home in Liverpool in 1965), stepfamilies, dogs, and food. Always food. She would love to be on Masterchef but would never recover from the humiliation if she got sent home in the first round.