by Richard Smith
George is a recently widowed seventy-nine-year-old. He nearly made it as a rock star in the 1960s and he’s not happy. Tara is his teenage granddaughter and she’s taken refuge from her bickering parents by living with George. Toby is George’s son-in-law and he wants George in a care home.
George has two secrets. 1) He’s never revealed why his music career stalled. And 2) No-one knows just how much the disappointment of opportunities missed still gnaw at him. He craves one last chance, even at his age. When it presents itself, through the appearance of a long-lost distant relative – whose chequered past should set alarm bells ringing – he can’t resist.
For Tara, living with her grandfather is a way to find her own path and develop her own musical ambitions. She isn’t prepared for the clash between different generations and living in a strange house full of her grandfather’s memories – and vinyl records.
They get off to a shaky start. George takes an instant dislike to the sounds from her bedroom that seem more suited to Guantanamo Bay than anything he would call musical. But as time plays out, they find there are more similarities – neither know how to operate a dishwasher – than differences, and parallels across the generations slowly bring them to recognise their shared strengths. But when Toby inadvertently sets in motion a chain of events, it leaves Tara with the same dilemma her grandfather faced five decades before with the same life-changing choice to make.
I really enjoyed this book and can’t believe how many similarities to my own life there were in these pages!
George Turnball is 79 years old and he has no intention of moving into a care home. His grandaughter Tara is about to start university and she needs a place to live, not quite ready to move in with her boyfriend Mark. The family are keen to move George out but as a happy compromise, Tara agrees to move in with her grandfather, giving him the support he needs without letting him lose his independence, plus it gives Tara the chance to find her own feet as an adult too.
As you may already have noticed, this book has borrowed its title from Simon and Garfunkel’s 1966 hit, ‘Homeward Bound’. There is a strong musical theme throughout this book and it’s full of names, singles and albums that I fondly remember from growing up with a very musical father. Just like George, my dad has a vast collection of music and I really felt able to connect with the story because of this. If you’re not familiar with any music from the 60s and 70s, some of these references may go over your head, but I definitely wouldn’t let that put you off, this is a book for all ages! If you’re interested in the music covered in this book, the author has put together a Spotify playlist that includes them all and I’d definitely recommend you check it out.
Despite there being 61 years between them, George and Tara have more in common that they first thought. When Tara moves in, she finds out more about her Gramps than she has ever known before. This makes for a heartwarming read and I felt that both characters were really well written, warm and realistic. The story of two generations colliding was one I really enjoyed and I sped through the pages in a matter of days.
“The world is too full of missed opportunities”
Overall rating: “Homeward Bound” is a funny, feel-good read that I’d highly recommend. With music intertwined throughout, this is a story of family, love, hope and dreams and finding your purpose a different points in your life. 5 stars!
Richard Smith kindly sent me a copy of his book in exchange for my honest review. If this sounds like your kind of thing, support the author by picking up a copy on Kindle or Paperback through Amazon UK.
You can also learn more on his blog: https://richardsmithwrites.com/