This is my first book by Meredith Appleyard despite having one or two on my bookshelf. I was struggling to stick with a book when I picked this up, and thankfully it was a great decision because I couldn’t put it down.
Set in Broken Hill, an outback town I’ve only seen or heard of in books and movies, it’s nevertheless a place I can easily imagine especially after living in the WA Pilbara for a while.
Home at last is a story of new beginnings, new opportunities, new friends and relationships, about not letting the past dictate our future, taking responsibility for it but not letting it define us. It is also a story about secrets and who really benefits from keeping them.
I really enjoyed this book, Meredith did a great job of giving me a glimpse into the life of the people who work in the RFDS and the good and bad that they can experience everytime they are called out to a new patient. Anna is a pilot and her love for her new job and its challenges is clear, though it’s not always an easy job. Nick is the flight nurse, who does an incredible job and has given me a new appreciation for the job these nurses and doctors do with very little support.
I really loved Nick’s character, and I thought the way he knew what he wanted when it came to Anna and the way he wouldn’t give up was lovely. I enjoyed Anna’s character, I thought the choices she’d had to make as a single mum were hard ones, but she made them for the right reasons. I didn’t get however why she was so secretive about being a single mum, I started to get a little annoyed at her for this, especially when it came to Nick. Anna’s daughter Izzy was an interesting teenager and the relationship between them and Anna’s sister Teresa was definitely a supportive one, both were very lucky that Teresa was so willing to help with the responsibilities of caring for Izzy, something many other single mum’s wouldn’t have as part of their support system.
This story also highlighted some important matters, such as mental health, especially of those living in remote places, and the lack of close by support.
Another aspect was that of homelessness, especially in women over 50, which is becoming one of the biggest groups of people currently finding themselves homeless. Nick’s mother Marlene was quite a character and her homeless status was part of her own making and the lifestyle choices she’d made. It was interesting though to hear why she now said she chose to live in her car rather than go into a home and lose her independence. I loved how Anna formed a relationship with Marlene and the benefits each got from that relationship as the story developed.
I began to wonder as I neared the end if the story was going to have the happy ending I wanted it to have, there were so many secrets, misunderstandings and issues still to work through, part of me was afraid to keep reading, I do love a happy ending.
A really enjoyable read with some great characters, I will definitely look at getting my other Meredith Appleyard books read after enjoying this one so much.
Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Australia for providing me a digital copy to review.
Available 18th March 2019