The river can take you home. But the river can also drag you under…
Margot Sorrell didn’t want to go home. She had left that house as soon as she could, and avoided going back at all costs. But when she received a text message from her sister Lucy saying ‘I need you’, Margot knew she needed to make the trip back to where everything started. Margot, Lucy and their oldest sister are reunited in their childhood house, right alongside the river.
But Margot can barely be in the same room as her mother, while her mother can’t be around her ex-partner and his new wife. Secret affairs, hidden pasts and truths long withheld are going to make Margot’s trip home one that she won’t be able to forget – even if she tries. No one could imagine the way this gathering would change them all forever. They’re reuniting for a wedding, something that is supposed to be a joyous occasion. But secrets kept for years and long-simmering resentments threaten to tear the family apart. Why did the apple shed burn down all those years ago? Who knows who is having an affair? What tragic secret is each member of the family holding on to, and will they be able to move through it? Through the sorrow they are forced to confront, the whole family have a chance to be healed of their tragic past. But only if the truth is told.
Hannah Richell’s The River Home is a touching and heartfelt story of family, love, grief and the emotional connections that tie us to each other – and to places. Told through varying timelines, you are living the present with the characters and then suddenly drawn, like a tide, into their past as they relive a particularly hard moment. There are moments towards the end that show a beautiful culmination of love and grief together, while another scene gives insight into Margot’s past. Both these moments while intensely emotional, could also be potentially triggering for some readers.
Richell writes with such subtlety that the story quietly envelops you, pulling you in. I read it in one sitting, not realising that I was so close to finishing. While all questions are answered at the end of the book, it is still a story that leaves the reader pondering their own life and experiences. We have all had moments of pain – and joy – that make us who we are. But what about the moments we can’t, or wont, share? Will the truth really set us free as we often hear? As you reflect on this, you’ll understand just how masterful Richell was in writing this novel. It is a wise and emotionally powerful story of a broken family and the courage it takes to heal. It will leave you speechless and heartbroken, but still holding onto hope for the future.