The Long Way Home is actually the first book by Fanny Blake I’ve read but I’ll most definitely be reading more as this is just the kind of book I enjoy. It’s a book set in two different times with most of the story taking place in 2019. When Isla’s mother May dies, her house and estate is left to Isla’s sisters and aunt but even though she’s the eldest, all she is left is a painting which used to hang in her father’s study. Although she had a difficult relationship with her mother, she is understandably hurt and confused about this and decides to try to find out the reason behind her mother’s decision.
I really enjoyed following Isla’s quest to find out just what had gone on. I liked the element of intrigue that it added to the story. She was joined on her roadtrip by her grand-daughter Charlie and I was surprised and pleased to see that Edinburgh featured, with even Portobello beach getting a mention. I felt that the author wrote about this cross generational relationship between the two so well. Charlie was a typical young teenager, obsessed with her phone, her image and with fitting in with her friends. And yet, at heart, she just wanted to be loved and accepted. Fanny Blake wrote very insightfully about all the relationships in the book actually, particularly those between Isla and her sisters. Strained at the best of times but definitely under pressure in light of the revelations of the will.
Interspersed with the more recent chapters were chapters set in 1950s Paris and I so enjoyed them. Isla’s mother May had gone to Paris to work as an au pair and to improve her French. Fanny Blake makes Paris sound such an enchanting place and it was no wonder that May fell in love with the city and that romance was on the cards. However, as the old saying goes what happens in Paris, stays in Paris and it is what happened in Paris that led ultimately to her unusual decision regarding her will. It was hard to imagine what had caused the young, lively and warm May to turn into the frosty and seemingly quite bitter mother that Isla knew.
The Long Way Home was a book I found very engaging and I became very absorbed in the alternating stories of Isla and May. With the focus on family secrets and different kind of relationships in the past and the present, it was a very satisfying read.
My thanks to Jess Barratt at Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy of the book for review. The Long Way Home is available now in all formats. It should be available from your usual book retailer or you’ll find buying options for various retailers on the Simon & Schuster website here: The Long Way Home
From the back of the book
A family secret, a mysterious legacy, and a journey that will change everything…
When Isla, a 65-year-old grandmother, is left nothing but an old painting in her mother’s will, while her sisters and aunt inherit the estate, she is devastated. Close to retirement, getting ready to live on her own terms, the last thing she expects at this time of her life is such turmoil. So, to find an explanation for her mother’s rejection, she embarks on a road-trip.
But, right at the last moment, she’s forced to take her sullen – and, in her view, impossible – 14-year-old granddaughter Charlie with her. Cramped together in Isla’s car with her smelly old dog, these ill-assorted travelling companions set off to uncover some shattering and life-changing family truths at the same time as learning to love each other…
The Long Way Home is set in the UK and 1950s Paris where the story really begins, spanning four generations of women and the secrets that get passed down through them.
About the Author
Fanny Blake was a publisher for many years, editing both fiction and non-fiction before becoming a freelance journalist and writer. She has written various non-fiction titles, acted as ghost writer for a number of celebrities, and is a former books editor of Woman & Home magazine. She has been a judge of a number of literary prizes, including the Costa First Novel award, the Desmond Elliott Award, the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year award and the British Book Awards. She is also the commissioning editor for Quick Reads and a book reviewer.