Monica McInerney writes good, solid books usually combining families in various locations with a bit of romance and drama. In this, At Home With the Templetons doesn’t fail to disappoint. It’s a good book recommendation for your grandmother, mother or sister.
The Templetons arrive from England to country Victoria, Australia and take up residence at the family ‘colonial mansion’. Each weekend, the family dresses up in period costume and opens the house to strangers to relive the gold rush era. There are just a few problems with this:
– Most of the Templeton children don’t want to do the tours
– Their aunt is an alcoholic and often insults the visitors
– The kids do some wacky things (such as underage driving)
– The fellow townspeople think they are attention seekers
The book follows the four children (Charlotte, Audrey, Spencer and in particular, Gracie) as they grow up in this environment. Spencer befriends Tom Donovan and Gracie her mother Nina. Nina is wary of getting involved with the Templetons but their paths meet consistently. So when the Templetons must return to England, Nina takes over as caretaker of Templeton Hall.
Many years are then covered in a series of letters, faxes and emails. Gracie grows up and the Templetons and Donovans are entwined again, with dramatic results, arguments and dramas. Will it have a happy ending? I’ll let you work that one out.
I found the character of Hope (the alcoholic aunt) quite annoying due to her drunken stupidity, but fortunately she is less involved in the later sections of the book. I also thought it was a bit strange for Gracie to lose her drive completely after the Event and be so directionless for years after, but I suppose that’s what gave the book its last 200 pages.
The book is well written and an easy read, good for summer holidays.
8.5 out of 10.