In My House

Alex Hourston
Hardback
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In the queue for the toilets at Gatwick, a teenage girl catches 57-year-old Margaret Benson's eye in the mirror and mouths the world help. Margaret's reaction leads to the dramatic rescue of the teenager from her trafficker and Margaret becomes a hero.
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In the queue for the toilets at Gatwick, a teenage girl catches 57-year-old Margaret Benson's eye in the mirror and mouths the world help. Margaret's reaction leads to the dramatic rescue of the teenager from her trafficker and Margaret becomes a hero. But when the story gets picked up by the papers, Margaret is panicked by the publicity, as well as the strange phone calls she begins to receive. Meanwhile Anja makes contact. She wants to thank her rescuer, but she also quickly inserts herself into Margaret's lonely life. As their friendship develops, so do questions: who is Margaret hiding from, and what are Anja's true motives? And what is the cost of living a lie?
 

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A Bit of a Moral MazeReview by Paul
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In My House – A Bit of a Moral Maze

In My House is the debut novel from Alex Hourston is an interesting book full of some excellent observations and in a way rather reflective of modern life of an older woman who befriends someone much younger than themselves. It is also a welcome change to have an older female lead character than the fascination with a more youthful one.

Maggie Benson is a complex person, not your run of the mill single older woman with dog, she is divorces, lives alone except for her dog; and is estranged from her daughter. We learn that she has few people she can really call friends more like associates, she works from home and rarely does anything really interesting. She loves her solitude being able to shut the world out of her life once she has stepped through her front door. She likes to go on walking holidays that usually are guided but she can be pretty anonymous on them.

It is as she is passing through Gatwick Airport that she does something to help a young girl who is being trafficked in to the country and so begins the moral maze. It is through the Victim Support officer that she meets Anja and they develop an unlikely relationship, and not the sort you would normally expect. Anja has a way of peeling back the layers of Maggie’s life and getting her to re-examine her own life and the lies, betrayal and avoidance that takes place and their subsequent consequences.

Written in the first person the reader is often thrown off somewhat and is made to feel uneasy especially about some aspects of another’s life and decisions. It is like being a voyeur at a party but not everything is going to the plan you expect and there are plenty of surprises as you read on. In My House is a compelling debut which shows a bright future for the author Alex Hourston and I am sure there is something of Maggie in all of us.
(Posted on 17/06/2015)

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Additional Info

ISBN 9780571316663
Publisher FABER & FABER
Format Hardback
Publication date 21 May 2015

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