Book review: Bring Me Home by Alan Titchmarsh

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Yorkshire-born Alan Titchmarsh heads north of the border to bonnie Scotland for a romantic novel steeped in lochs, lairds and dark secrets.

TV presenter, celebrity gardener and now flourishing author, Titchmarsh uses the magnificent backdrop of a Highland castle for an intriguing family saga full of his trademark warmth, exuberance and wisdom.

They seem to be the perfect family but looks can deceive. Standing at the door of his grand lochside castle, Charlie Stuart welcomes his guests to the annual summer drinks party.

Conversation, laughter and the clinking of glasses soon fill the air as friends, neighbours, Charlie’s three married daughters and handsome bachelor son Rory come together to toast the laird’s happiness and prosperity.

Castle Sodhail has been the family seat for generations and in Charlie’s keeping for the past 30 years… every grey stone and strip of ancient mortar is his to love and cherish till death parts them.

But Charlie is nervous. He sees the truth behind the glittering façade and intends to make a shocking revelation that is likely to bring the world of his children crashing down around them.

Charlie was just a schoolboy when his beloved mother died and his father remarried a woman who was everything his mother wasn’t – extrovert, impetuous and insensitive.

Since then, 50-year-old Charlie has had to make sacrifices to safeguard the estate. Devastating losses have haunted him for decades and a terrible, hidden guilt lies at the heart of it all. In a few hours, the perfect afternoon will come to an end and the past will finally catch up with them all…

Titchmarsh provides a vibrant cast of characters, a slow-burn, tantalising mystery which weaves between the past and present, and a charmingly evocative backdrop for a story of love, death, loyalty and betrayal.

Bring Me Home is the ideal read for autumn nights… warm-hearted, entertaining and delightfully escapist.

(Hodder, paperback, £7.99)