There were good people in The Homes. But there were also some very, very bad ones…
A thousand unwanted children live in The Homes, a village of orphans on the outskirts of Glasgow. Lesley was six before she learned that most children live with their parents. Now Lesley is twelve, and she and her best friend Jonesy live in in Cottage 5, Jonesy the irrepressible spirit to Lesley’s quiet thoughtfulness.
Life is often cruel at The Homes, and suddenly it becomes much crueller. A child is found murdered. Then another. With the police unable to catch the killer, Lesley and Jonesy decide to take the matter into their own hands. But unwanted children are easy victims, and they are both in terrible danger.
This was a Twitter competition win from the generous folk at Viper Books – thank you!
Now you have read the blurb, I had no idea such places existed, did you? Essentially a closed community for orphaned children is the location for this book, based on a real setting. Lesley is an incredible protagonist, intelligent, resilient and inquisitive. She lives in The Homes but is one of only 4 children who travel out to attend the local grammar school. She lives in a house with about 25 other girls and shares a room with 6 girls her age. Cared for by their house parents Mr and Mrs Paterson. Their carers are mostly kind but physical chastisement does occur and ‘beatings’ are not uncommon.
A girl is murdered, her body found in the woods adjacent to The Homes and the children are fearful for their safety, particularly when another girl is killed, and then another. Lesley takes it upon herself to investigate and we follow her on this journey of inquiry as well as experiencing her life as a resident of The Homes.
For me this book was a real page turner, fortunate for a sunny day I powered through this one whilst relaxing in my back garden. A strong plot and excellent characters, combined with short chapters and decent size font made this an engaging read. The day to day experiences of the children were described well and fascinating to read about and the murder mystery added tension and intrigue.
Lesley was a superb sleuth, but I found myself convinced by her findings and like her failed to consider alternatives, between us we didn’t really work it all out until it was too late but the journey was interesting.
This is a book about orphaned and unwanted children and so the theme is sad, we are aware of abuses in establishments such as these and the fear and beatings don’t make for easy reading, but are balanced with moments of warmth and compassion and some really nice relationships feature.
An excellent read and one I would recommend, a page turner; so a quick read at just over 300 pages. A great book but a story which could translate well on to the big or small screen I think.
About the Author
J. B. Mylet was inspired to write The Homes based on the stories his mother told him about her childhood. She grew up in the infamous Quarrier’s Homes in Scotland in the 1960s, along with a thousand other orphaned or unwanted children, and did not realise that children were supposed to live with their parents until she was seven. He felt this was a story that needed to be told. He lives in London.