‘Sometimes you have to confront your past before you can work out the shape of the future…’
– Make Yourself At Home
[ About the Book ]
When Marianne’s carefully constructed life and marriage fall apart, she is forced to return to Ancaire, the ramshackle seaside house perched high on a cliff by the Irish Sea. There she must rebuild her relationship with her mother, Rita, a flamboyant artist and recovering alcoholic who lives by her own rules.
Marianne left home when she was fifteen following a traumatic and tragic incident. She never planned to return, and now she has to face the fact that some plans don’t work out the way you wanted them to. But she might just discover that, sometimes, you have to come to terms with the story of your past before you can work out the shape of the future…
Set on the wild Irish coast, with an unforgettable cast of characters, this deeply emotional novel is full of Ciara Geraghty’s trademark heart and poignancy.
[ My Review ]
Make Yourself at Home by Ciara Geraghty was just published February 4th with Harper Collins Ireland and is described as ‘the new most emotional and uplifting book of 2021’ It is very much a story about self-discovery, and about finding out what is really important in life, as seen through the eyes of Marianne Cross after her perfect and ordered life comes off the tracks.
Marianne was a very successful accountant, a hard worker and married to Brian. But at thirty five, her life came crashing down. Brian left her for another woman, Marianne lost her job, defaulted on her mortgage and, with her professional reputation in tatters, had no option but to return to the home of her childhood, Ancaire, where her mother Rita lived. Marianne had not lived with her mother since she was fifteen, having left for boarding school and never returning. Marianne’s path had changed forever following an incident in her teens, one that had a huge impact on her choices and the trajectory of her life. Marianne studied hard and kept herself to herself developing a reputation as a loner through her subsequent college years. Finishing top of the class, she could have had the pick of jobs but Marianne chose one that allowed her the luxury of working from home. Marianne did not like the company of others. Structure was very important to her and locking herself away from the outside world as much as possible helped to protect Marianne from any potential hurt and pain. When her company brought all their workers back into the office, Marianne had to succumb and it was there that she met Brian. He was a like-minded spirit and it made sense for them to connect up. They lived a very ordered life which Marianne thought suited Brian but, one day, Brian decided he wanted more. Suddenly Marianne was left with no choice but to return to Ancaire.
Ancaire was a crumbling home located very close to a cliff edge off the east coast of Ireland. Marianne had lived there with her tempestuous and eccentric parents and her younger sister Flo. Her parents partied hard and fought even harder with a passion that left very little room for anything else. But now Rita, Marianne’s mother, although still an eccentric, has given up the drink and runs an alcoholic anonymous group from her home, the Get Well Soon programme. A small number of regular attendees come to meetings daily, all soaking up the positivity that Rita now exudes. Her home is a haven, a place these people can do a variety of activities and be comforted by others who are all suffering in life.
Marianne wants absolutely nothing to do with this rather eclectic bunch of people. She is only back living in Ancaire while she figures out her next move. But what is it out of life that Marianne really wants? Marianne is a wonderfully drawn character. She is socially awkward following years of introverted behaviour. Her relationship with Rita is cracked, scarred from those early childhood years but Rita attempts to fill those cracks and repair some of the damage caused. But is it too little too late?
Make Yourself at Home is a beautiful uplifting read with a host of personalities that will warm your heart. It was very easy to get caught up in the story of all their lives, gradually getting to know them all a little better. Rita’s history as a mother leaves a lot to be desired so not only does she need to convince Marianne that she has changed, she also has to convince the reader. Rita is a recovering alcoholic who wants to make amends for her previous ways. Aware that Marianne’s visit to Ancaire may only be fleeting, she sets about doing her best to involve Marianne, to open her up and break that shell that is a permanent fixture of protection surrounding Marianne. Their relationship is very fragile and as they tentatively step into each other’s bubble, the world opens up a little. Ciara Geraghty is very much drawn to the sea and her passion for it shines through in the stunning descriptions of the wildness of an Irish beach no matter the season. The saltiness emanates off the pages as does the tantalising smells from the kitchen. Rita is an avid cook who loves nothing more than feeding anyone who arrives through her front door. There is a gorgeous treat for all readers at the back of the book so get ready to shake out your aprons and dust off your sieves!
Make Yourself at Home is a heart-warming and emotional read that you will get lost in. A bewitching cast of characters and a wonderful storyline, Ciara Geraghty has written another stellar read that will capture your heart as you root for Marianne and Rita and hope they find the peace and the love they both so crave. Packed with humour and many thought-provoking moments, Make Yourself at Home is a truly beautiful read, a feel-good read.
[ Bio ]
Ciara Geraghty was born and raised in Dublin. She started writing in her thirties and hasn’t looked back.
She has three children and one husband and they have recently adopted a dog who, alongside their youngest daughter, is in charge of pretty much everything.
Twitter ~ @ciarageraghty