At Home With the Templetons
Author Monica McInerney
Other people's families aren't as perfect as they seem. When the Templeton family from England takes up residence in a stately home in country Australia, they set the locals talking – and with good reason. From the outside, the seven Templetons seem so bohemian, unusual... peculiar even. No one is more intrigued by the family than their neighbours, single mother Nina Donovan and her young son Tom. Before long, the two families' lives become entwined in unexpected ways, to the delight of Gracie, the sweetest of the Templeton children. In the years that follow, the relationships between the Templetons and the two Donovans twist and turn in unpredictable and life-changing directions, until a tragedy tears them all apart. What will it take to bring them together again?
Review: This book gets off to a slow start because the set up is under the constraint of depicting the life, circumstances and background for the characters. At times it gets a little tedious being stuck in everyday life but if the reader sticks with it they'll eventually see the necessity of the journey. This becomes evident around chapter seventeen (roughly 250 pages in). It is here, that emotional attachment grows especially for the characters Gracie and Tom, which magnetically become the driving force of the story's continuation. The shift in focus is essential to the understanding and growth of the couple because ultimately the story becomes about them, their sorrows, future and ends with a difficult decision. Each character has contributed to the complexity and demonstrates how bad decisions, impulses and choices tangle with other fate even when we don't mean for it to occur. Everything touches everyone. The drawback is the length and build up. Some readers might not have the patience and lose interest before the seventeenth chapter. Also, near the ending a repetition of perspective of events is shown/told from multiple characters. I felt this was redundant and wasn't absolutely certain why it was necessary. I typically do not like this approach in any book because personally I do not want to read the same scene over and over. It is done well, but contributes to the overall extended length of the book.
*ARC provided by Ballantine Books courtesy of Amazon Vine Review