Book Review: Coming Home to You, by Liesel Schmidt

Proof that life can change in the most unexpected of ways…

coming home to you

When one door closes…

Zoë and her fiancé Paul had everything ahead of them. So when Paul dies suddenly, Zoë doesn’t recognise the life she’s left with. Helping a friend by housesitting for a stranger is the last thing she wants to do – but she can’t deny that she needs time away from the memories which crowd her flat. So, collecting the keys, Zoë lets herself into her temporary home.

…another one opens.

Surrounded by a stranger’s belongings – his toothbrush, his favourite records, the pictures on his walls – Zoë begins to build a picture of the flat’s owner, Neil, who is away in the military. Driven by a need to know more, Zoë begins writing to Neil and finds herself feeling an unlikely connection with him. But while some people are destined to share our lives forever, others are sent simply to help us on the way. And for Zoë, a new life is just beginning…

This is quite a difficult review to write for me. There were aspects of the book I loved, and parts that really grinded me.

I liked Zoe a lot. I felt horrible for her loss of Paul, and her grief was written incredibly well; you got a real feel for the shell of herself she had become since his death, and I enjoyed watching her find herself again. I loved seeing her settle into the new surroundings of Neils home, and really liked the journal of letters she wrote. I did enjoy the general plot and there were some great, unexpected twists.

However, there were certain things that moved way too quickly for me, and were glossed over before I had a real chance to connect. For example, how relationships developed and the sudden movement through weeks or months; things suddenly progressed within a couple of pages that I felt I needed a couple of chapters to really connect to the progression. I do understand a lot happened in the book, so it’s not possible to explain everything in detail, but some things felt a little too rushed, so my emotions didn’t have enough time to develop with the plot.

I had also hoped her work ventures were going to play a more central part as they had originally seemed to, but were then almost glossed over later on. I thought it was a lovely side story that could have been made more of; emphasising her independence and strength, rather than keeping the focus on relationships and dependency.

The thing that got to me the most, was the fact that everyone, everyone, was keeping secrets. Big secrets. In particular, all the men. Every damned one seemed to have some sort of scheming secrecy being kept from Zoe, and it really annoyed me. Yes, everyone does have their secrets, and yes, people tell white lies to protect the ones we love, but not everyone has secret, devious plots behind their friends or lovers backs, and it just seemed like there were a few too many in this story. If I were Zoe, I’m not sure I would ever trust anyone ever again.

It’s therefore really tricky to rate this one, as some aspects I loved, teetering towards a whole 5 stars, but other issues I’d have rated as 3, so I’m going for a 4 as an average of how I felt about it.

All in all, it is a lovely story, and I do recommend reading it, even if I had my reservations about some points. I would definitely be curious to know what others make of it.

Rating: star-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-rating

Release date: 06 October 2014
Publisher: Carina UK
Buy: Coming Home to You on Amazon

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