CURRENT ISSUE:  OCTOBER 2023

Off the Shelf: Forever Home

Off the Shelf: Forever Home
By Graham Norton Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.  ISBN 978152939-1404 2002 364 pp.
Review by Terrence J. Kenneally

Forever Home is the fourth novel by the broadcaster and acclaimed author to be reviewed in these pages. The previous three, Home Stretch, A Keeper, and Holding were all best sellers in Ireland and England and he returns with another nuanced, funny, and emotionally uplifting novel probing unlikely relationships and meddlesome gossip in small-town Ireland.

At its heart is Carol, a quietly heroic late forty-something divorcee who finds love again with the much-older Declan. The new relationship sparks local speculation: what does a woman like her see in a man like that? What happened to his wife who abandoned him and their two children years ago?

The gossip only brings the couple closer, but Declan is soon moved into a nursing home, suffering from a form of early Alzheimer’s. His children are untrusting and cruel to Carol, forcing her to leave their beloved home and move back with her parents.

Added to this are secrets about Declan’s past, strange rumors that were never confronted and suddenly the house they shared takes on a more sinister significance. Carol’s mother is determined to get to the bottom of things and won’t allow her daughter to suffer in this way.

As in many compelling mainstream novels, there is a murder involved or, more precisely, a dead body. Its discovery could decimate every memory and truth Carol shared with the man she loved. Add to this is the appearance of Declan’s missing wife of twenty years and you have a surprise ending that leaves the reader wondering. A surprising book, which proved interesting and a good read.

*Terrence J. Kenneally is an attorney and owner of Terrence J. Kenneally & Assoc. law firm in Rocky River, Ohio. He received his Masters Degree from John Carroll University in Irish Studies and has taught Irish Literature and History.

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