Book Review

Home by Cailean Steed | Book Review

Home by Cailean Steed
Release Date: 19th January 2023
Genre: Adult, Thriller
Source: Publisher, NetGalley
Rating: ★★★

Someone has broken into Zoe’s flat. A man she thought she’d never have to see again.
They call him the Hand of God.

He knows about her job in the cafe, her life in Dublin, her ex-girlfriend, even the knife she’s hidden under the mattress.
She thought she’d left him far behind, along with the cult of the Children and their isolated compound Home – but now he’s found her, and she knows she must go back to rescue the sister who helped her escape all those years before.

But returning to Home means going back to the enforced worship and strict gender roles Zoe has long since moved beyond; back to the abuse and indoctrination she’s fought desperately to overcome.

Going back will make her question everything she believed about her past – but could also risk her hard-won freedom. Can she break free a second time?

One – My name is Zoe
Two – I am here to rescue my sister Amy
Three – Nothing anyone says here is true
Four –
Four –
What is my fourth true thing?

Home caught my eye due to three things: 1) it’s about a cult, 2) it’s a debut and I love supporting debut authors, 3) the cover is pretty cool. I think it had a lot of potential and I was really excited to read it, but I unfortunately came out of it feeling pretty meh overall.

I think the concept was a good one, but the execution was a let down. The story is told in alternating chapters between Catherine in the past as she’s just learning that her community is a cult and not normal, and Zoe in the present after she has left the cult but is suddenly having to go back in.

This style really didn’t work for me, as a lot of the tension from Catherine’s chapters was lost because we knew she would escape, only to have to go back in. And while Zoe’s chapters were a little more exciting due to the task of rescuing Amy, we were immediately flung back into the cult setting without much build up.

I think this could have been improved by telling the story in parts rather than alternating flashback chapters. Part one could have ended as Catherine was escaping the cult, and part two could have Zoe already settled and going back in, with flashbacks to show her coming to terms with society and the real world.

I didn’t hate Home by any means but it was fairly average. It was fast paced and intriguing, yes, but I think it should have been structured differently to make the most out of the setting, the characters, and the plot.

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