Once again I have fallen behind on my goal of completing a review of every book that I read. It seems that I read faster than I write. In an attempt to close the gap a bit, here are a couple of brief reviews of books that I have recently read.
Homecoming by Kate Morton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This historical fiction/mystery thriller is set in Australia and features a journalist named Jess who had lived in London for almost twenty years. In 2019, she finds herself laid off from her job and struggling to make ends meet. In the midst of this financial calamity, she is called home to Sydney because her grandmother who had raised her had suffered a fall and been hospitalized.
Jess arrives at the hospital to find her grandmother confused and looking very frail. Moreover, her grandmother's housekeeper tells her that her grandmother had been confused for weeks and had fallen on the steps to her attic, a place where Jess had always been forbidden to go.
Snooping later in her grandmother's house, Jess finds a true crime book that chronicles the police investigation into the murder of a family named Turner on Christmas Eve, 1959. Furthermore, she finds that the book details a connection between her own family and that infamous crime. What a perfect assignment for an unemployed journalist - investigating an unsolved murder from long ago. Especially one that might in some way involve her own family.
Old God's Time by Sebastian Barry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book takes us to Ireland and into the life of recently retired policeman Tom Kettle. Tom is sixty-six years old and has been retired for nine months. He spends his time remembering his life with his wife, daughter, and son who are all now lost to him. Tom is alone and living with his sadness. He is a gentle man who always tries to do what is right. He is a prime example that bad things happen to good people.
Tom is contacted by officers from the police station where he was formerly stationed. They are seeking information from him from long ago that relates to a current case they are working involving child abuse and Catholic priests. This leads Tom to memories of his own past as he struggles to find a way to deal with his life in the present.
This is a story that is full of sadness and it also involves a bit of a mystery from one of Tom's long ago cases. It is in many ways a depressing story but it is beautifully written and although it is a bit of a difficult read, I found it to be ultimately rewarding.