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on 26 January 2014
I was given this book 2 weeks before I was going away, and I was supposed to bring it with me as a holiday read.
The fact is, I couldn't! Because I had a sneak at the first chapter, and I was hooked!
And, as usual, it took me only a weekend to read it.
It's been a long time since I bought my very first Carole Matthews' novel, and it's been a crescendo of laughter, emotions, tears, more laughter, more emotion, captivating, beautifully written stories that you can't possibly put down until you reach the end. This book is no exception.
Away from a beating husband. Away from a hurtful past. Away from a shallow working life. Away from two overseas beloved sons. Four adults found themselves sharing a house and transform it into a home, and become as unite as a family, even more than a family, showing once again that the bond that links one's true family is not necessarily one of blood, but one of Love.
Solidarity, kindness, generosity, good will. There's plenty of those, and you get the feeling that the world is a fantastic place, after all.
Even if and when bad things happen.
A most welcome positive approach to life and its hard challenges.
What can I say?
If you are one of Carole's loyal readers, this is Carole at her very best.
If you don't know her yet, and are reading this, buy this book, you have my word, you'll love her.
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Ayesha is a young mother married to a violent monster of a man, who controls her every move.

A year after a vicious assault that was witnessed by her young daughter Sabina, Sabina no longer talks, unwilling to speak. Ayesha decides that enough is enough and plans her daring escape.

Ayesha gives her husband sleeping pills without him knowing, then slips out into the dead of night taking Sabina with her, in a bid for freedom.

After travelling through the night, the next morning Ayesha goes to a Women’s Refuge for help only to find out that they are full and she has no-where to go.

After refusing to leave, one of the staff member calls in a favour from an old friend who is housed up in a temporary home. The place is rarely used but in exceptional circumstances. It is owned by Hayden – an ex pop star.

Hayden is a sad and lonely man, haunted by a past that he can’t let go of, even if it is making him depressed. His two house guests are Crystal the pole dancing. She is outgoing a bit of a loud mouth but with a heart of gold. Then there is Joy, an ageing, timid woman who seems to be frightened of life and is happy to be just left alone.

Ayesha loves it, and the rest of the occupants just adore both her and Sabina, taking them under their wings.

Meanwhile Ayesha’s husband is on the war path and wants his wife home, no matter how.

Ayesha and Sabina are two wonderful characters. Sabina brings so much joy to the residents, and to the readers, even if she doesn’t talk.

Although the focus of the book is on Ayesha’s life, We also follow the life of the other occupants. We discover why Hayden is haunted by his past, Joy is so lonely, and how Crystal ended up working in a seedy men’s club.

Having been a long time fan of Carole Matthews, I couldn’t wait to read ‘A Place to Call Home’ as its subject was something I was very familiar with, even if it was many, many years ago.

Domestic violence isn’t an easy subject to tackle in a romantic novel, but I thought it was cleverly dealt with, not only in making it understood what it really is, but it was written in a way that doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable.

Although the underline of the story is about why Ayesha had to leave her husband, it is more about a persons determination to survive, and show people that, even if it is a fictional story, help is out there and there is more to life than being in a relationship with someone who continuously hurts you.

Carole once again has written a novel that grips you, and plays with your emotions. It will have you laughing one minute, then reaching for the tissues the next.

The characters all have strong personalities that bounce off the page, and work in harmony with each other. Carole’s eye for even the smallest detail gives the reader a vivid insight into the hearts of each of them.

It is a heart warming, gut wrenching book that is dealt with so sensitively that I couldn’t wait to return to the book every time I had to put it down.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough, a truly magnificent read!

Reviewed by Stacey at Whispering Stories Book Blog
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on 13 January 2014
Yet another wonderfully written book from Mrs Matthews
So easy to read with likeable characters you become to
Care about.
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on 9 January 2014
I was lucky enough to win an advance copy of the new Carole Matthews Novel 'A Place to Call Home'. All that was requested was that you read the book and then wrote a review. Not a hard task to do......... or so you may think.

How does one put in to words how the brilliant Carole Matthews takes us from the depths of domestic violence to the joys of truly finding that place we call home?

The answer? With her never ending talent of being able to draw you in so you are totally immersed in all of the eclectic characters in this emotional roller coaster of a read. From the first page to the very last you will find yourself unable to put it down!

Find your favourite reading position, grab a glass of something (or a cup of tea!), and prepare to lose a few hours of your life, trust me, you won't be able to put it down!
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on 12 January 2014
I'm a big Carole Matthews fan and think this book is her best yet.
Thought provoking and sensitive subjects mixed with drama and of course some humour, make this a book you won't want to put down!
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on 9 January 2014
OMG Carole Matthews dose it again. A Place to Call Home, a story of four strangers who end up living together. All with their problems and how they over come them.

I was lucky enough to win a copy and from the first page you get drawn into the eclectic mix of characters. You soon become part of their lives and you are soon laughing with them and feeling their pain. Ayesha our main character has lots to over come and has to learn to live outside her caultral boundries and demanding husband.

Carole's book is a way of loosing yourself as this bad weather contines. A real warm feeling from each page. Another sure fire winner.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 September 2014
I have wanted to read this latest Carole Matthews book for ages and finally decided to bump it up the list. As usual Carole’s covers are enough to make you want to pick them up and when I read the synopsis I was even more eager to get started. We meet Ayesha and her young girl Sabina as they make their escape from their home leaving her brutal husband behind. As they board the bus to London Ayesha has no idea what will happen to her when she reaches her destination.

Immediately you feel empathy for Ayesha and as the chapters progress you get a real idea of how bad life has been for her. Her only daughter has been rendered mute due to the horrible home situation she has been subjected to. What Ayesha doesn’t realise is that she will end up sharing a house with a former pop star who has now become a recluse, along with the bubbly and caring Crystal and the elder lady Joy.

I just fell in love with Ayesha and Sabina and was egging them on from the very first chapter. What I didn’t account for was how much I would fall in love with the other characters. Hayden is the Popstar who has now become a virtual recluse, Crystal is a dancer who has her own murky past, and Joy is the slightly grumpy one of the three who underneath it all just wants her family.

The story itself is told at the perfect pace as we learn each characters story and their circumstances. It seems like the most unusual grouping of characters but it just works. I found myself reading this in just under a day and was truly disappointed when I had finished. If I am being 100% honest (and the only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars) the ending came as quite a surprise. I felt like there were another 4-5 chapters we could have done with to give it a less ‘abrupt’ ending. That aside, it is one of my favourite CM books I have read in a while and a thoroughly enjoyable read.
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on 10 January 2014
This book is another great read from Carole Matthews. Could not put it down. The story grips you from start to finish.
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on 13 January 2014
I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this book and I absolutely loved it. I've read all of Carole's books and I honestly think that they just get better and better.

This book is about a lovely lady called Ayesha and her daughter Sabina. One night Ayesha decides she has had enough of the abuse her husband metes out and decides to take her daughter and find somewhere safe for them to live. In the book we follow them on their journey and the characters they meet are very real. Hayden, the former pop star who becomes a recluse after a heartbreaking tragedy, Crystal, making her living the only way she thinks she can after a traumatic past and Joy, a sad and lonely old woman who is fiercely proud, very conservative and misses her family like crazy.

They all help each other to reach peace and happiness. There are some surprising incidents in the book and I love the way Carole weaves real events into her fiction.

This book tugs at your emotions and you feel you know the characters. I was very sorry to come to the end of this book as I didn't want to leave these people!

Fantastic book that I highly recommend.
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on 9 January 2014
Domestic violence and homelessness are not subjects I'm used to encountering when picking up a Carole Matthews book, but both of these are dealt with honestly and compassionately. With the usual flavouring of Carole Matthews' wit and humour, this delightful read provides hope for women in situations which may seem hopeless. After all, isn't that what January is all about - a New Year and the desire to change and improve our lives? Or at least to have a good read to tuck into and lose ourselves from our own lives for a while. This book certainly provides all this as well as a joyful, warm feeling. Warning though, this book is hard to put down!
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