Number 11 Bellevue Gardens, is in an Edwardian Terrace in a quiet square in London. It may look like the other houses, if a little more shabby and in need of paint, but to its residents it is a safe haven, a place to call home. Leonie came to the house nearly forty years ago when she needed a place to stay after the breakdown of her marriage, and now lets out rooms to others who need a place to stay and sort out their lives. Rick, works in a supermarket but really wants to write his Graphic Novel. Rosa comes to London from Poland in search of her brother who came to London a few months previously. Steph, who ups and leaves her boyfriend and needs somewhere to feel safe an decide what she wants to do with her life.
When the house comes under threat, Leonie and the other residents have to look at what the future may hold for them all outside Number 11 Bellevue Gardens.
Rachel Hore is one of my favourite authors, her books are always well written with a good plot and characters. I find she excels in her understanding of people and their traits and relationships with each other. The characters in this book are very diverse and all come from very different backgrounds but they all share the love for the house and the safety it offers them.
The book follows Leonie’s story from her teenage years working in her parents shop, to her becoming a model then her marriage and its subsequent demise and her coming to Bellevue Gardens. The plot also includes the story of Rick, Steph and Rosa as their lives intertwine and overcome hurdles in their lives. The book deals with issues such as the slave labour of immigrants, emotional and physical abuse, all dealt with great understanding and knowledge. The book written from the perspective of the main characters so each section is told from a different perspective. I found that this kept my interest, and attention.
I read this as part of bookclub’s March choice and really enjoyed it. I found it a compelling and interesting read that had the message that everyone should should feel safe in their home, no matter what ‘home’ means to them. It is a beautifully written book full of characters you will love.