Daniela Sacerdoti - Take Me Home (3 stars)

Daniela Sacerdoti - Take Me Home

A predictable chick-lit romance develops into a moving study in grief

Take Me Home begins like a predictable romantic comedy: the ditzy heroine Inary, the token sensible flatmate and the best-friend love interest. Then there’s a dramatic shift: bland London is left behind for the atmospheric hills of Glen Avich and chick-lit clichés exchanged for family tragedy as Inary learns her sister Emily has a week to live. Her death robs Inary of her speech but returns her childhood gift of ‘The Sight’, an ability to see spirits.

Any cynicism associated with the notion of a sixth sense passed through maternal lines in Highland families is effectively quashed by the vivid descriptions of a vengeful ghost. Sacerdoti’s ability to create haunting depictions of restless spirits in states of decay in a modern setting is one of the story's greatest assets. Inary’s varied experiences of loss are also well portrayed. She is selfish in her grief, focused on her unwanted return to her old community and deliberately sabotaging her creative writing and close friendships – yet she is also selfless in her decision to stay in Glen Avich to help her brother. She is in turns rational, understanding her voice loss to be a symptom of trauma, and yet increasingly obsessed with the stories of the spirits that visit her.

The predictable romantic thread continues but what resonates are the moving studies in grief and the chilling ghost stories, be they real or a coping strategy for Inary's loss.

Published by Black and White Publishing on 18 Dec 2013.

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