Book Review - Home Truths by Freya North

Freya North is a London based author who writes romantic fiction. She gave up a Ph.D. course in 1991 to write her first novel, much to the consternation of her family and with little success. In 1995 she decided to ‘go for it’ and sent the first three chapters of her book, along with a page of totally invented reviews, to some of the countries top publishers who then entered a bidding war for her work. The rest, as they say is history! Home Truths is North’s 8th novel and it led to Heat magazine commenting that ‘Freya North manages to strike a good balance between drama, comedy and romance, and has penned another winner in Home Truths . . . touching and enjoyable’.

Django McCabe and his three nieces, Pip, Fen and Cat, form a somewhat unconventional family, but one that is fiercely loyal and indescribably close. Until, that is, a stranger comes along to Django’s 75th birthday celebrations and turns their world completely upside down. Throughout their lives and their many ups and downs, the family have been able to rely on each other to help them through, but is this one hurdle too far? Can the family that has been left reeling by a massive revelation ever possibly be the same again?
I enjoyed this book a lot. It is not the first time that we have met the McCabe family, as North has written about each of them individually in previous novels, but it is the first time that I have read about them all together. They are a completely unconventional family and more than a little eccentric, but they work really well together. Each of the girls has their own little family, but the whole lot centres on the hub that is the charismatic and lovable Django. Going against the traditional format of mother, father and 2.4 children, the McCabe clan has step-relatives, half-relatives and ex-partners galore, making it a very much modernised version of the family unit. But it stills works – it isn’t portrayed as dysfunctional at all, simply something that is normal for many people nowadays.

The storyline is good too. It does indeed afford a range of emotions, at times making you laugh and at others making you sad. Even if you haven’t read any of the previous McCabe novels, North spends enough time introducing them at the beginning of this one, to make you like them well enough to empathise and sympathise with them through their shock.

Something that you can’t fail to notice when reading her work is that Freya North is very found of writing about sex. Not to the point that it is like reading a copy of the Kama Sutra, but there are numerous sex-scenes in all of her novels. They are very tastefully done and well-written. They only occur when the story warrants them and they do seem appropriate to the story when they appear (for the most part anyway!).

The only real criticism I have of Home Truths is a small one, but one that I have noticed appears in a lot of her novels. She has a tendency to change the person in which she is writing. For the most part, the story is written in the third person, but every now and then it changes to make it look like the author herself is talking to the characters or even that the characters are talking to themselves. I personally don’t like this, I find it irritating for some reason and it mars the story a little for me. Fortunately it doesn’t happen very often and, so far, it hasn’t hampered my enjoyment of North’s books so much that I would down grade it, but I don’t think it is necessary and I would prefer it if she didn’t do it!
If you are a fan of Freya North, I would recommend this book to you. If you aren’t a fan already, you can start with ‘Home Truths’ and still enjoy it very much, but I would recommend reading the others in the series first; ‘Pip’, ‘Fen’ and ‘Cat’.


dArLyN said...

i never read her books.but i'm looking forward to her's someday.great review! =)

Kristin said...

I've never seen Freya North's books, but this one looks pretty interesting.

Great blog - I'm a new follower!

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