The Inconvenient Need To Belong by Paula Smedley – Book Review


In the summer of 1953, twenty-year-old Alfie steals away from his troubled childhood home in London to start a new life in Exeter. His own life. And at first it’s everything he ever dreamed it would be. For the first time in his life Alfie feels like he belongs.

Today, in a care home in the Midlands, eighty-six-year-old Alfie is struggling to come to terms with his dark past.

Alfie’s story is one of regret, the mistakes we make, and the secrets even the most unassuming of us can hold. But it is also a story about family, friendship, the things we should treasure and protect, and how the choices we make can shape our lives and the lives of others.



Alfie is a resident in a care home, he really doesn’t like other people and he’s a grumpy loner. But, every Saturday he sneaks out and visits a local park to feed the ducks. Here he meets Fred, a young man and Alfie starts to tell his story….

Alfie left his home, parents and sisters in London in the middle of the night, he needed to make a life of his own. At the toss of a coin he arrives in Exeter.

It’s here he meets Grace, but when things don’t go as he dreamed, he turns to drink…

He runs away and joins a travelling funfair and life is good…….but will he stay sober?

This is a tale of a lonely man….as an old man he’s looking back at his life and how his behaviour has left him alone. It is about love, loss, guilt and regrets.

I found the detail as of life in a care home heartbreaking, the monotony and loneliness just so realistic…( my mum is a resident of a lovely care home, but is bed ridden and days are spent alone in a room with only a tv for company….apart from her wild adventures in her mind due to dementia). 

Alfie is a complex, troubled man and I really felt for him…..

A beautifully written story that I couldn’t put down. I loved every emotion packed moment.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and an eARC of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.


Purchase Link:




Paula Smedley lives in London with her husband.

She began writing at a very young age, winning acclaim and awards for her poetry and short stories.

The Inconvenient Need To Belong is Paula’s debut novel.

 An extensive traveller, Paula has encountered vigilantes in Nigeria, escaped post-tsunami radiation in Japan, partied in a favela in Rio de Janeiro and left her debit card in a cashpoint in Sri Lanka. 

4 responses to “The Inconvenient Need To Belong by Paula Smedley – Book Review”

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