Set in a small town along the Murray River, A Home Like Ours from Fiona Lowe is captivating from the first page. The drama of homelessness, the fear of bullying, the tragedy of a life once considered as normal, now reduced to a few belongings: a car that is home and the endless fear of never finding anywhere to finally be able to call home, sets the scene for a compelling read that has captured to perfection, life in a small town that like many small towns is full of prejudice, thinly disguised.
Life for Helen Demetriou is terrifying, unstable and balancing on the knife edge of hope and acceptance in the small town of Boolanga. After a more than terrifying experience sleeping rough, her luck seemed to change as she had not only found a small part time job but also accommodation in the town; two things for which she was truly thankful .
Tara Hooper, young attractive, married to the love of her life, Jon, mother of two beautiful children, was watching her marriage slowly dissolve in front of her eyes. She had tried every trick in the book to get Jon to desire her once again, but everything failed. He seemed so tired, pre-occupied but still so damn sexy. Their new neighbours just simply topped off the whole sorry mess. They were unwanted and certainly, Tara did not want them living next door.
Single, well almost single teenaged mother Jade is barely coping to bring up her little boy Milo. His father is hardly ever there, away for weeks on end. Her life has been nothing but struggle-street since she was a small child. She is intelligent, has a massive chip on her shoulder and an overwhelming love of Milo, who she is determined to bring up well. The town library is her salvation.
The Community garden is the place that brings the three women of vastly different walks of life together, along with the other marginalised sector in town, that of the refugee women who are looking to find a small plot of land to grow their vegetables. It is the one place the women can all gather together, to learn, to heal, to share, to grow flowers and traditional vegetables.
Helen, the caretaker of the Community garden which is overseen by local residents who have lived in the town for many long years; women who find change confrontational, have no time for refugees, fear the unknown of different cultures and have an outdated understanding of what is community. Small town prejudice is alive and well in Boolanga.
When Helen uncovers what appears to be underhand dealings within the Council in regard to the garden, can their many issues be put to one side to unite for a common cause; to save the Community gardens and the historic cottage Helen once called home.
Starkly portraying prejudice, small town politics and corruption, A Home Like Ours draws beautiful portraits of each of the women that portray a real understating of the value of friendship, acceptance and when the going gets tough, just what does make up true friendship.
As with all Fiona Lowe novels, the characters come alive on the pages, becoming beloved friends and as the pages turn capture the emotions which enriches the moment with the raw honesty of the characters.
|Publisher||Harper Collins Publishers Australia|