It’s the last place she wants to be. It’s the only place left to go.
Marianne left home when she was fifteen following a family tragedy, one that changed all their lives. She never planned to return.
But when her carefully controlled life falls apart, she has no choice but to return to Ancaire, the ramshackle house overlooking the Irish Sea, where her mother, Rita, a flamboyant artist and recovering alcoholic still lives.
As her mother invites her to pull up a chair and make herself at home, alongside the friends, family and neighbours who wander its rooms. Marianne discovers that sometimes home isn’t a house, it’s a place in your heart.
Set on the wild Irish coast, with an unforgettable cast of characters, this deeply emotional novel is full of Ciara Geraghty’s trademark heart and poignancy.
Fleeing an upbringing of chaotic trauma, with fighting alcoholic parents and foster children in and out Marianne now lives a life of controlled order. A successful accountant, married, with both not wanting children and living in a new build house in a respectable area.
Then her husband leaves her for another woman going against their plans by having the audacity to have children with her and Marianne’s life falls apart. Mortgaged to the hilt and losing her job due to getting caught shoplifting, it’s being repossessed. So with her meagre possessions she goes back to where she fled from so many years before. Ancaire her crumbling childhood home perched on a cliff edge.
The first page was such a clever insight into Marianne, by using numbers to lay out her life it pulled me in straight away. I wasn’t entirely sure if I liked her but I understood her and her need for order. Her mother Rita however I adored instantly and it was difficult to see how they could possibly be related as they were so very different.
Her mother is now a recovering alcoholic and deciding she didn’t like the AA approach to recovery has set up her own group The Get Well Sooners. They seem to have set up residence and along with Aunt Pearl, Patrick the foster kid who never left and a giant taxi driver called Hugh this colourful cast of characters worm their way into Marianne’s heart as well as the readers.
The setting is so evocative, the coldness and the decaying of the house perfectly represented the mother daughter relationship. Food plays a big part too with Rita using it as a way to approach her daughter and welcome others, so it was really nice to see some recipes added at the end. I will definitely be making Aunt Pearl’s soup.
The author has lightly penned some heavy topics and created a book that manages to bring warmth despite the cold.
About the author
Ciara Geraghty was born and raised in Dublin. She started writing in her thirties and hasn’t looked back.
She has three children and one husband and they have recently adopted a dog who, alongside their youngest daughter, is in charge of pretty much everything.
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