25/05/2011

AT HOME WITH THE TEMPLETONS - BOOK REVIEW

Another Australian writer, a best-selling author, I've come to read thanks to my very active blogger life. Thanks a lot to the web and the Internet for the incredible richness and variety of contacts I've got so far, and especially, to Monica McInerney's publicist who thought I would like this novel and sent it to me. I did!
The main characters of this gripping novel are numerous and skillfully depicted but the real protagonist is a stately mansion in Victoria, Australia , which I imagine as enchanting, mesmerizing, impressive: Templeton Hall. 
Everything is not as it seems in this entertaining exploration of  family links and relationships, with romance and turmoil, and you need to get as far as the epilogue, through its 471 pages, to get hold of every hidden detail of the story you were told before.
A warm and captivating family saga that spans about twenty years - from 1993 to 2009 - and three continents in which the main theme explored is: how the things we do to protect our children may really just protect ourselves - with unintended and potentially devastating consequences. Other themes are redemption and forgiveness. Difficult to say which the lesson here is ultimately. Certainly, more than one. 
What is extraordinary is how deeply you get to know each one of the many characters. My favourite one is Gracie. Impossible not to love such a strong, sensitive, intelligent, precocious and earnest young girl. Especially in the first part of the novel.
The novel is actually divided in three parts characterized by a different narrative technique - 1.third person narration mostly from Gracie's point of view 2. letters and third person narration, again mostly from Gracie's point of view 3. third person narration fragmented among several points of views, sort of indirect interior monologue. Such a richness gives the reader a real in-depth look into the characters as well as into the plot itself. Nothing remains unexplained.

The plot

When the enigmatic Templeton family takes up residence in a stately  country home in Australiamoving from England, they set the locals talking - and with good reasons. From the outside, the seven Templetons seem unusual, particularly when they start giving guided tours of Templeton Hall in period costume. No one is more intrigued by the family than their neighbour, 12-year-old Tom Donovan. Despite his single mother Nina's cautious reluctance, the two families'  lives become entwined in unexpected ways, much to the delight of Gracie, the youngest of the Templeton daughters. In that years that follow, as the Templeton siblings begin to leave the nest and learn that the world their father created may have been more fiction than fact, the relationships between the Donovans and the Templetons twist and turn in unpredictable and life-changing directions ...

About the author

Monica McInerney is the internationally bestselling author of Upside Down Inside Out, Greetings form Somewhere Else, The Alphabet Sisters, Family Baggage and The Faraday Girls. McInerney grew up in a family of seven children in the Clare Valley in South Australia, where her father was the railway stationmaster and her mother  worked in the local library. Before beoming a full-time writer, she worked in children's television, tourism festivals, book publishing, arts marketing, the music industry and as a waitress, a hotel cleaner, a Kindergym instructor and a temp. She lives in Dublin with her husband.

Visit her website at www.monicamcinerney.com

4 comments:

Mystica said...

This sounds gorgeos and since I am in Australia right now lets see whether our library has it here!

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Mystica
I hope you'll find it. This book was released in April, I think, not long ago.

Marg said...

I have read a few of Monica's books and enjoyed them all. I have this one, even got it signed when I saw her when she was on tour, but haven't read it yet!

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Marg
It's a very pleasant reading. It's my first read by Monica McInerney. You were lucky enough to meet her, then! Was it during her US tour in April?
Thanks for dropping by and commenting.