Review: Homecoming by Kate Morton


Title: Homecoming

Author: Kate Morton

Published: 5th April 2023, Mariner Books

Status: Read April 2023 courtesy Mariner/Edelweiss


My Thoughts:

“Home, she’d realised, wasn’t a place or a time or a person, though it could be any and all of those things: home was a feeling, a sense of being complete. The opposite of ‘home’ wasn’t ‘away’, it was ‘lonely’. When someone said, ‘I want to go home’, what they really meant was that they didn’t want to feel lonely anymore.”

Homecoming is a captivating novel, the seventh from bestselling author Kate Morton.

When London-based journalist Jess Turner-Bridges learns the beloved, indomitable grandmother who raised her, Nora, has been hospitalised after a fall from the attic stairs, she returns home to Sydney after a twenty year absence. Jess is distressed to find Nora in a frail and confused state, and desperate to learn what precipitated the accident.

Jess is stunned when her search leads her to uncover a family tragedy that had been kept from her. Hidden beneath her grandmother’s pillow is a true crime book, titled ‘As If They Were Asleep’, that documents an investigation into the shocking deaths of Nora’s sister-in-law and four young children on Christmas Eve some sixty years earlier in the small South Australian town of Tambilla.

While the narrative shifts back and forth in time, it does so in a unique way. In the present much of the story is related through Jess, and occasionally her estranged mother, Polly, while the events of past unfold from several perspectives, and through excerpts from the book, as Jess reads it.

Impressively, Morton sustains the intriguing mystery of what really happened to the Turner family at ‘Haylcon’ until the very end, slowly teasing out the secrets, deceptions and betrayals that reverberate among three generations. I was genuinely surprised by several of the plot reveals, and though Homecoming is a fairly hefty length it’s well paced.

The meaning of home is one of the central themes Morton explores in her story, along with motherhood, family, and identity. Nora, Polly and Jess are complex characters, whose lives, and relationships with each other, are each shaped by the events in Tambilla in both direct and indirect ways. The author also touches on the issue of mental health, and the joys of literature.

With vivid description and evocative prose, Morton brings her settings to life. I felt as if I could find my way around Darling House, on the cliff-edged of one of Sydney’s most exclusive suburbs, Vaucluse, where Nora raised both Polly, and Jess; and through the grounds and rooms of the grand stone hall of ‘Halcyon’ in rural Tambilla where the Turner family lived.

An enthralling and atmospheric tale, beautifully told, Homecoming is a stellar read, I recommend.


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7 thoughts on “Review: Homecoming by Kate Morton

  1. THAT is an excellent review, well written! I have it on hold at the librarry and they don’t have it available yet, it’s a preorder. I love her books and I hope I live long enough to read another on i the future! She don’t crank them out and I’m 67 but when she does publish a book it’s always a great story.

    Liked by 1 person

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