Helen McKenna's Reviews > At Home With the Templetons

At Home With the Templetons by Monica McInerney
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's review
Feb 01, 2012

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bookshelves: aww2012-challenge, great-aussie-reads-challenge-2012, australian

The Templeton family live in a stately home near the Victorian city of Castlemaine. While the other kids get to have fun on the weekends, the Templetons have to dress up in period costume and run tours of their home (Templeton Hall) - which prove to be a surprise hit with tourists. Having only recently arrived from England, they keep very much to themselves. At first their neighbour Nina is happy to maintain a distance. But then, their lives become interlinked and she finds herself drawn into their family and all its dramas, not entirely willingly.

The story is told in Monica McInerney's usual warm and engaging prose and you find yourself immediately involved with the characters and their individual struggles. You can't help but like Grace, the youngest daughter and the only child who is really committed to the whole business of running Templeton Hall. I also really liked the character of Spencer (as a child), as there was a real devil-may-care attitude about him that was quite amusing.

The first part of the story is quite detailed and covers a relativly short space of time, while the later chapters are spread over a bigger span of years. While the earlier part was slower moving, I enjoyed it more as I felt the later part skipped over details a bit, in the interests of moving the story to its conclusion.

As usual Monica McInerney really gets the settings right, you can feel yourself in the Victorian countryside and later in London and Paris, when the story moves there. She also covers the theme of family relationships and all their complexities that begin in childhood and carry through until adulthood - sometimes never being resolved fully.

An enjoyable, engaging read that kept me involved right until the end.
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