I’m thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for the gorgeously written and poignant How To Belong by Sarah Franklin. Thank you to Tracy Fenton and Zaffre Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this fabulous book.
About the book:
A moving and courageous exploration of belonging and finding home in a rapidly-changing world from the critically acclaimed author of Shelter.
Jo grew up in the Forest of Dean, but she was always the one destined to leave for a bigger, brighter future. When her parents retire from their butcher’s shop, she returns to her beloved community to save the family legacy, hoping also to save herself. But things are more complex than the rose-tinted version of life which sustained Jo from afar.
Tessa is a farrier, shoeing horses two miles and half a generation away from Jo, further into the forest. Tessa’s experience of the community couldn’t be more different. Now she too has returned, in flight from a life she could have led, nursing a secret and a past filled with guilt and shame.
Compelled through circumstance to live together, these two women will be forced to confront their sense of identity, and reconsider the meaning of home.
About the author:
Sarah Franklin grew up in rural Gloucestershire and has lived in Austria, Germany, the USA and Ireland. She lectures in publishing at Oxford Brookes University and has written for the Guardian, Psychologies magazine, The Pool, the Sunday Express and the Seattle Times. Sarah is the founder and host of Short Stories Aloud, and a judge for the Costa Short Story Award. Sarah lives in between London and Oxford with her family.
How To Belong by Sarah Franklin is a beautifully written, gently paced story about friendship, identity and exactly what it means to truly belong. It’s the first book I’ve read by this author, but I really enjoyed her writing style and will definitely be reading more by her in the future.
Told in alternating chapters from the point of view of Jo and Tessa, the two female protagonists, I couldn’t help but fall in love with these characters from the outset. Both women have returned to the Forest of Dean after a period of time away. Jo has returned to try to save her families legacy after her parents retire, whilst Tessa is nursing a secret past filled with guilt and shame. Both women return home to find life in the community much different to how they remembered it, leaving them feeling lost and alone. So when circumstances bring the two women together, they must reevaluate everything they thought they knew, confront their identity and reconsider the meaning of home.
Although not a fast paced read by any means, How To Belong drew me in from the very first page, the story heartwarming and rather poignant at times as Jo and Tessa grow closer in their quest to find their place in the community. I thoroughly enjoyed this lovely story of family, friendship, identity and how Jo and Tessa finally come to find their place in the world where they truly belong.
A gentle read with a big heart, this is a book I would highly recommend.
How To Belong by Sarah Franklin is available to purchase now: Amazon UK
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