Book review: Someone Close to Home by Alex Craigie #RBRT # romance #social commentary #mental health

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I had never read any of Alex Craigie’s books, the premise of this one was enticing. I was not disappointed – what I read stuck with me long after I read the last page. The author is a compelling author. She wrote the book in response to her experience with care homes – what we call retirement homes here in the US.

Megan Youngblood’s family is dysfunctional. Her mother is a grasping, ambitious and manipulative person. When Megan becomes an international star as a pianist, she takes over her life, including removing Megan’s best friend and soulmate, Gideon, from her life. Then she forces Megan to marry an abusive but popular actor. The final blow occurs when she suffers a stroke and her children banish her to a horrific care home, where she is unable to communicate her needs. Totally dependent on others, she experiences institutional neglect. And then she faces her greatest enemy – Annie, a sadistic nurse with a reason to hate her. How far will Annie go? Can anyone rescue Megan?

I can’t say enough about this book. It may reflect the care home situation in the UK but it could just as easily be set in the US. The characters are so beautifully drawn and reflect the best and the most venal of human nature. And the mixing of romance (will Megan and Gideon ever reunite?), suspense (who else will Annie hurt of kill before she is stopped), and social commentary is compelling.

I highly recommend this book – it was a page-turner – and look forward to reading more of this author’s books.

About the Author:

Alex Craigie is the pen name of Trish Power. She has lived for many years in a peaceful village between Pembroke and Tenby in southwest Wales, with a wonderful family all living locally.  She was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and written in pencil in a book with imperial weights and measures printed on the back. When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines before returning to the teaching job that she loved.

Trish has had three books published under the pen name of Alex Craigie. The first two books cross genre boundaries and feature elements of romance, thriller, and suspense against a backdrop of social issues psychological thriller. She wrote Someone Close to Home because she was angry and distressed by the institutional neglect that goes on in far too many care homes. Someone Close to Home has won a Chill with a Book award and a Chill with the Book of the Month award.

You can find Alex Craigie

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012230628350

Close to Home and the author’s other books can be found on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Alex-Craigie/e/B01GACW5IG?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1645981603&sr=1-1

41 thoughts on “Book review: Someone Close to Home by Alex Craigie #RBRT # romance #social commentary #mental health

  1. That review makes the book compelling, thanks Noelle. (Incidentally – nothing to do with your review! – when my mother was paralysed and speechless from a stroke (from which she recovered) she was clearly troubled about something. My brothers and sisters brought every thing from her bathroom and a good deal of other stuff. It turned out that what she was trying to say was that “Bruce is not to waste money coming over from the USA!”)

    Liked by 4 people

  2. As someone with a close family member currently transitioning to nursing home care (and having had to deal with this in the past), I’m not sure I could read this book just now, at this point in my life, but I do have another of Alex/Trish’s book coming up on my TBR. In fact, it’s next on my read list. I’m sure I will find it every bit as compelling as you found this one!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. petespringerauthor

    I second your recommendation, Noelle. This was a terrific read. As I read it, I thought of the many levels of care I saw for my mom in assisted living. She had some fabulous care workers and some that should have been doing something else. (I was not aware of any physical abuse in Trish’s book.) The crucial thing is to make sure we go out of the way to meet all of the workers so that they understand we’re advocates for our loved ones.

    Liked by 3 people

    • We faced some of these problems as my mother moved from an apartment to assisted living to total care at a retirement home. Thefts, bad food – a good thing my brother was nearby. It was so hurtful for my Mom, but she adamantly refused to come live with us. Stubborn woman, like her daughter!

      Liked by 1 person

      • petespringerauthor

        We went through the same phase. Understandably, Mom wanted to live in her own home for as possible. She’d fall and end up in the hospital, once fracturing her pelvis. I had to hire caregivers to come in for her, but Mom didn’t like having them in her house. They’d quit when she’d threaten to call the police or wouldn’t let them in. It was a very challenging time, so I have great respect for skilled caregivers.

        Liked by 2 people

      • petespringerauthor

        I’ll be blogging about this soon, but I started volunteering by reading to residents in my mom’s old assisted living center.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Noelle, thanks for bringing to light this book. Alex Craigie could just as easily set this story in the U.S. On a personal level, I know this to be true. My mom was left in a nursing home by my brothers. Mom and I lived 2200 miles apart; she in TN, and I in OR. At age 86, mom was dependent on others for her care. She often had UTIs which can leave the mind muddled. She would try to tell me something was wrong, but it was never clear. Remembering an episode of 60 Minutes where families were warned to make surprise visits to these facilities if you were suspicious things weren’t going well. I did just that and found my mom was being not only neglected but physically abused. I could not get her out of there fast enough. Please everyone be aware of the abuses and neglect that go on in nursing homes and care facilities. Those residents who are never checked on by family (my brothers never went to see our mom) are those neglected and abused because no one is watching. I don’t think I could read this book even though my experience is in the past. I’m still emotional about what I found.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I second your comments, Sherry. My brother and I moved our mom to a retirement home and although he visited her regularly, and I every two weeks (because of distance), she had some of her belongings stolen and the food was frequently less than edible. She kept food for herself in her room and we took her out for meals often. It was a depressing place but she refused to come and live with me. Stubborn woman. I completely understand your reluctance to read the book.

      Liked by 2 people

      • alexcraigie

        I’m sorry to read about your mother’s experience in the retirement home, Noelle. Sadly, that kind of situation is commonplace. When my mother needed a care home we turned up at the nearest one unannounced in the hope of getting a more honest picture of the place before agreeing to her going there. Many people are rightly anxious about the costs. I don’t know what the situation is in the US but here the average weekly cost is £704 (or £888 if it’s a nursing home). For that, most residents end up in a room the size of a garage. I would hope that at the very least the food would be something to look forward to.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. alexcraigie

    Noelle, I’m beyond delighted and touched by this review. I almost missed it altogether and am so glad that someone directed me to it. I really do appreciate the trouble you’ve taken in writing it and I’m sure you must know how buoyed I am by it. Bless you!

    Liked by 2 people

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