It's the summer of 1939, and after touring an unsettled Europe to promote her latest book, Romily Temple returns home to Island House and the love of her life, the charismatic Jack Devereux.
But when Jack falls ill, his estranged family are called home and given seven days to find a way to bury their resentments and come together.
With war now declared, each member of the family is reluctantly forced to accept their new stepmother and confront their own shortcomings. But can the habits of a lifetime be changed in one week? And can Romily, a woman who thrives on adventure, cope with the life that has been so unexpectedly thrust upon her?
My favouite thing about being a book reviewer is having books sent to you by authors you haven’t come across before and even books that you wouldn’t have necessarily picked up whilst browsing the bookshelves in our local store and this is exactly how I discovered the talented author Erica James when her generous publishers sent a copy of her book to me a year or so ago and now I cannot get enough of her books and look forward to her new release each year.
Her latest release is Coming Home to Island House and what a wonderful read this book is. I was captured by not only the authors beautiful storyline but the wide range of loveable and also loathable characters that entertain us and touch our hearts right from the very first page.
Our central character is author Romily Temple. The storyline opens with Romily returning home from her book tour to find her husband Jack Devereux in a life-threatening state. In the days that follow Jack shares his wishes with Romily that he has made mistakes with his estranged family and wants to reunite them with her help.
The family all arrive to see Jack after receiving a message from Romily but their arrival was too late, but always one for difficult surprises Jacks will dictates that they all need to spend a week together in order to receive their inheritance. With so much history and turmoil running between the family members will they be able to fulfil his wishes especially with the brink of war fast approaching.
The storyline is set around the time of World War II and I hold my hands up and say I have never been one who loves books set heavily around the war but with this storyline I found it insightful seeing how the war effected the day to day lives and relationships of each of our characters.
Romily was such an admirable character, to have lost someone she so desperately loved and to then be lumbered with his family was enough to deal with but then to top it off and help with the adorable evacuee Stanley and still have that sense of wanting to fulfil her duty and do her bit for her country makes her a character impossible not to like.
There are such a vast amount of characters in this book and they all have a detailed and important role in the book not just making brief appearances here and there and yet at no point did I lose track of who was who because they were so well developed. We even have the dreadful Arthur who was such a vile excuse for a human and I really wanted him to get his just deserts!
There really is something for everyone in this book as it follows friendships and relationships, grief and love, hope and desperation. I felt so involved with the characters and with each bit of good or heart-breaking news I felt I was sharing it with the characters and was on a rollercoaster of emotions throughout.
This was a heart-warming, insightful and captivating read with a wonderful group of admirable characters, definitely a book that I would recommend.