‘Home Truths with Lady Grey’ by Katherine Blessan

What a long time since I posted on Dear Reader! But I have been busy, DR, doing a lot of reading actually.

Buy it here: Home Truths with Lady Grey

Confessions first. I know Katherine Blessan, well, but my review, as always, will be honest.

I bought this in paperback from the bookstall at the Association of Christian Writers Jubilee event last June and I started to read it as I boarded our flight to Seville late last month. (It’s my experience that air stewards don’t like you reading from a tablet because they don’t entirely trust you not to be connected to the internet during take off and landing.) And, DR, once I started, I couldn’t stop reading and I was reading throughout my stay in Seville.

The novel concerns the relationship between Jennifer, who was until very recently a GP surgery practice manager, but is now suffering from an aggressive progressive disease, and her carer, Mona. As the cover art suggests, the pace is reflective, but the author moves with consummate ease from the painful present to the back story and back again, Jennifer’s childhood in the Near East, an unfortunate incident during her student years which put her off relationships with men, and the professionalism she brought to her practice manager job. Mona is an Iranian Muslim (not particularly devout) living in Yorkshire, married to a white non-believer and they have a little daughter, a poppet who lightens the mood when necessary. The husband has a betting addiction. Although Katherine managed her timeline very effectively, towards the end of the story, I did become a little confused about what was happening when.

The action takes place in Sheffield, where the author lives. The advantages of placing your novel in your hometown are obvious: you can describe the setting in greater detail and with more realism if it’s there ready for you (in other words, you don’t have to invent it); you have an awareness of distance and landmarks which make that place feel like it is. Katherine made Sheffield work for her.

Katherine has written one other novel, Lydia’s Song, which is set in Cambodia, and she is currently working on a screenwriting project.

Thoroughly recommended.


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