Closer Home, Kerry Anne King
Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction
Somehow I got the idea this was a romance novel… it is and yet it isn’t. It’s more a tale that’s got romance in it 😉 but that doesn’t take over the story.
Poor Lise, a small town country girl she’s never embraced her sister’s celebrity life and status, they’ve not spoken for years and Callie told the media her family was dead. Now its Callie that’s died and sister Lise inherits most of her estate, and is made guardian to her 16 year old niece. Ariel acts so old at times but at heart she’s just a kid, trapped by her mothers career in this fishbowl lifestyle. Her mum’s family being alive is big news to the media, and they’re determined to wring every drop of the story out.
Its a horrible story that – the way the media jump on people’s grief, want to make their tears viewing for everyone, the false lowered voices “ how are you Really feeling though?” wanting a scoop for their company. I hate it all, but sadly stuff like that happens all the time and sells 😦 and poor Lise and Ariel are trapped in it. Of course Callie’s team make money from her so they too are out to push the story as far as it will go. Ricken, her Agent/publicist – can’t recall which – is a typical money grabber, organising memorial charity events, a biography of Callie and TV/Magazine articles for Lise. She’s way out of her depth and when Ariel announces she’s off to find her father she goes with her, she’s needs someone and she’s going along of Lise doesn’t step forward right now!
I really felt for Lise, she’d spent her life caring for others, trying to support them, to do the right thing, and now all this is heaped on her. She doesn’t know Ariel, and Ariel doesn’t seem like she wants to know Lise. They start their journey though, aided by Callie’s diary from when she got pregnant, Ariel is determined to search out would be fathers and find out the truth. Callie had refused to tell her, now she’s got a Wal-mart DNA kit and she’s not afraid to use it.
This covers the largest part of the novel, finding out people from the past, asking Lise about them and Lise having flashbacks to events so we see them as they happened through her eyes. Its tough keeping away from the media though, they manage for a while but get let down by someone close. Lise is learning quickly about fame and all it brings, and doesn’t like it, Ariel is learning the its not the same when its not an organised photo shoot, but a tornado of cameras and people dogging her every move, capitalising on her grief. She and Lise slowly start to thaw, to see that perhaps there’s more to the past than they know. I found the first part of this novel dragged a bit for me, but then it gathered pace and emotion, and as more things came out I so felt for the key characters, and got wrapped up in the issues they faced.
I enjoyed the final part when they’re back in the small town where Lise lives, where she and Callie grew up. There’s a lot of surprises come out, things we don’t know, things Lise doesn’t know and slowly all gets revealed. Dale, he’s a wonderful guy, one of the quiet, solid types with a big emotional depth to him. I loved him, they’ve known each other since childhood and he’s still a close friend, but somehow after the funeral the press have got the idea they’re a couple and run with it. Like everything about this issue Lise seems to have a head in sand approach, put it away for another day, so she ignores it and she and Ariel start their search, and she doesn’t do anything about it. She doesn’t contact Dale, seems to not know what to do, so she opts for dealing with what she can and just putting that one aside. He’s been a great support, known Lise and Callie since they were kids, but he’s now caught up in the story too and doesn’t want to be. He’s got his own reasons for holding back, but keeping quiet about them.
His parents and sister were great, George the dog a real hero! I loved when Lise gave in full flow to her grief and rage, and tell the busybody neighbour/teacher who’d picked on her all her life what she really though. Sadly there’s too many people like her, the judgemental sort, those who hold themselves up as Christian, toddle off to church each week etc, and yet turn a blind eye to what’s really happening, let kids get hurt, used and abused, without saying anything except criticism of them. Rant over!
Dale came into his own at the end, I was so on edge, how would they get over the past, the problems? Could they? Did they want to even? and Ariel, poor girl, she’d not had a great upbringing, lots of material things but fame is a machine that demands worship, and Callie was a fervent believer, Ariel didn’t lack for material things but didn’t seem to have had much one to one love and support.
Its a story that unfolded gradually, drawing me in and moved me much more than I thought it would. It covers so many issues, and made me thing “what if?” so many times. At the start I felt a bit detached, and wasn’t sure I was going to like it but I did, it was a perfect read and contained a lot of emotion, from the past and the present.
Stars: Five, its a great read, I really enjoyed it but not one I’d reread though now I know the story.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers for honest review