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Homecoming Bets On...


April 2023

It’s been five years since Kate Morton’s last book, so I was thrilled to receive an early copy of HOMECOMING. During the early days of the pandemic in 2020, Kate and her family decided to head to Australia from their house in London, pushing up their planned spring break timing. Now it’s 2023, and they’re still there. Kate was working on another book before they left, but her enthusiasm for that one faded as they found themselves living on a small farm in southern Australia in the Adelaide Hills.

As they were settling in as best they could, the idea of homecoming latched onto Kate’s brain, along with a character named Jess Turner-Bridges. Jess leaves London to go to Australia to care for her grandmother, Nora, who is in rough shape after taking a fall. She finds herself staying in her grandmother’s house where she had been raised. She and her mother, Polly, are estranged.

It’s now 2018, and the town where they live is still haunted by the Turner Family Tragedy of Christmas Eve 1959. A mother headed out for a picnic with her four children; hours later, she and three of her kids were found dead. With the slow reveal that is Kate’s signature, we begin to learn the secrets of this family, as well as that of Nora and other members of the town.

While juggling these two timelines might be ambitious enough, Kate layers in something else --- a novel that she conceived called As If They Were Asleep, in which a true crime writer does his own probe of the events of that Christmas Eve. So readers are getting a 365 view of the story from numerous perspectives. The setup is wonderful, but the wrap in the last 100 pages will have your fingers flying. If you are listening to the audiobook, with Claire Foy as the narrator, you will be riveted.

HOMECOMING clocks in at 560 pages, and I found myself wanting to fly through them to unfold the story faster. But instead I slowed down to enjoy the depth of the storytelling and to admire the craftsmanship of both story and character on so many levels. The book is hard to define as it’s a mix of a family story, a true crime work, mystery and suspense. I have read a couple of “long” books this year, but none drew my attention as much as this one did. Highly recommended.

by Kate Morton