Coming Home

Paperback edition released 28/06/2018

by Fern Britton

Family Drama Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel eBooks of the Month

LoveReading Expert Review of Coming Home

Just gorgeous. I do love a feel-good read, add biting realism and aching intensity, and you have a winner in your hands. Ella and Henry have a deep and loving connection to Cornwall, when their grandmother dies the past throws up new possibilities, not all however, are welcome. Fern Britton writes so beautifully about Cornwall, the warmth and love is felt, bringing the houses and villages to life. The story is set in three main time frames which allows you to properly meet and get to know the three generations who walk through the pages. None of the characters are perfect, which is perfect, as they feel relatable, touchable, real. There is an exotic addition, which adds an extra glow, and as the story comes to its conclusion I had my fingers and toes crossed for a joyful ending. Coming Home is a truly lovely read, deeply rich and emotional, it is easy to sink into, easy to become a part of, and warmed the cockles of my heart.

Liz Robinson

Coming Home Synopsis

From Sunday Times bestselling author Fern Britton comes an epic tale. Three generations of women, their lives, their loves and their longing to come home to Cornwall. 'A heartfelt novel about family secrets and atonement' Fanny Blake, Woman & Home Three women. A lifetime of secrets. The only place to be is home. Ella comes back to the beautiful Cornish coast to heal her heart after the death of her beloved grandmother, Adela. There she finds her home again and discovers a new life, but she also opens a treasure trove of secrets. Twenty years ago Ella's mother Sennen ran away from Cornwall. Sennen had been a young single mum and, unable to cope, had left their children with her mother Adela...and a part of her with them. She's spent the years since hiding from her past, hiding from herself. Now it's time to come back to Cornwall. To face her mistakes. To pray for forgiveness. And to hope for a future with her long-lost daughter and son. Will she be welcomed back with open hearts? They say home is where the heart is. It's time to come home... Pendruggan: A Cornish village with secrets at its heart

About This Edition

ISBN: 9780007563029
Publication date: 28th June 2018
Author: Fern Britton
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 416 pages
Primary Genre Family Drama
Recommendations:

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Coming Home Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

For me, this was the best book Fern has written, and I liked all of them! Give yourself a treat, curl up, with ‘Coming Home’. Time will stand still, your cuppa will go cold, but you will have a smile on your face as you read...

Having read all of Fern's other books, I was delighted to be given a copy of her latest book to read. Ella and her brother Henry have lived with their grandparents for nearly all of their lives, after their mother Sennen walked out the door never to return, and now both grandparents have died, leaving both brother and sister, feeling a deep loss. A loss that has Ella wanting to find their mother, and it’s not long before Sennen is back!  

Twenty years have passed since she last stepped foot in Cornwall, will her children want to know her? Will they understand why she walked out?  Alas for Sennen as Henry, who has a lot of memories of his mother singing and playing with him, cannot let go of the feeling of being abandoned. While Ella has no memories.

 As I read the book and the story unfolds be prepared for your feelings and emotions to take a ride on a Roller-Coaster.

Angie Rhodes

This is not a book that I would recommend to a friend!

This story starts in Cornwall where Sennen (the heroine who is named after the Cove) lives with her parents. Whilst she is still at school she gives birth to two children in fairly rapid succession and then disappears leaving her parents to raise them. Many years later she returns to Cornwall when a local solicitor manages to trace her with the news that her parents are dead and she is their beneficiary. At this point she is living in India and married to an Indian man who knows nothing of her previous life. She also has two more children. The story develops by describing the time spent after her departure from England and her relationship with her husband. Upon her eventual return to England the main emphasis is on her relationship with her abandoned children and other characters from her past. She does try to make amends, but her character is such that it all seems very shallow. 

Pam Woodburn

It’s an easy read and I did find myself drawn into the story.

This is the story of a mother being reunited with her two children many years after she abandons them to the care of her parents, and the difficulties surrounding their acceptance of her and the building of a relationship.   It’s a good basic story, and the characters are all well drawn and credible, but at times the writing style jarred with me.

Doreen McKeown

I was gripped by this book from Page 1. I thought it was a great story, with the cast of characters really brought to life by the author.

I know Cornwall well and could envisage the locations quite vividly – always a bonus. I found it a well-constructed book, with chapters just the right length, inviting me to read ‘just one more’. Perhaps the ending was a bit too predictable and ‘happy ever after’ but it didn’t spoil the book for me – I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve never read anything by Fern Britton before but wouldn’t hesitate to read another.

Jo Cooper

A romantic, easy read for Fern Britton fans.

In search of her first love and unable to cope as a teenage mother of two young children, Sennen abandons her home and family in Cornwall. However, a change in circumstances forces her to return home where she attempts to heal the cracks in her relationships despite putting her own current situation in jeopardy. 

I took this novel away with me at Christmas as I thought it would be a relaxing and easy read, completing it within two days. The most positive thing I can say about it is that it was indeed easy to read and made a pleasant diversion from my usual genre. 

However, this type of novel is too lightweight for me and I found the storyline overly sentimental and predictable. The characters seemed stereotypical and the dialogue frequently felt awkward and unnatural. As she is already a published author, Fern Britton must have a loyal following of readers but the cynical part of me makes me question whether she would have gained success had she not been a household name. 

Val Rowe

A perfectly reasonable light read.

Archetypal beach book - ideally read on a Cornish beach, of course.

Sue Redgrave

A disappointing Cornwall-based family saga with great promise which failed to deliver. The lack of insight into the characters' motivations left me cold and the resolution was trite and formulaic.

The premise was promising - a heartwarming, Cornwall-based family saga following the lives of three generations of free-spirited artistic women, sadly, it didn't deliver.  The story lacked the essential tension and conflict to deliver the necessary emotional punch at its resolution and was instantly forgettable.  The characters were flat and unsympathetic and there was insufficient emotional insight into their actions and motivations.  It was also really poorly crafted in parts - for example, there was both repetition and inconsistencies in the telling of Bill's death.  It felt at times like it had been pushed out in a hurry to meet a deadline.

Ann Alderton

This emotional roller-coaster will have you in tears on more than one occasion but is a feel good story. Fern Britton is a great storyteller and Coming Home is definitely a book that needs to be on your 2018 reading list.

‘Coming Home’ is an emotional roller-coaster that will keep you reading. Can decades apart keep a family separated or can they overcome the past and rebuild their relationship that was once shattered? 

‘Coming Home’ is a heart-warming story on a young mum (Sennen) who decides to leave her children, her parents and her home in search of her children's father as well as herself.

When things don't go as she envisioned, Sennen decides she can't return home. How do they all cope with her not returning? Her children now being raised by their grandparents parents (Sennens parents), see how they cope with the loss of their daughter and how her children cope without their mother.  Find out what Sennen goes through to survive. 

It's not until years later, when family tragedy strikes that she then makes the journey home to Cornwall. 

But….How will her children welcome her? If at all. How will her return affect her new life she has built as well as the lives of her children? How does Sennen cope with facing her past after hiding from it for so long? Will she get the forgiveness from her family that she so deeply graves? This family saga goes through the various perspectives of Sennen, her children and her parents and how they all adjusted to her running away and how her leaving years before and then just now returning impacts them all. 

Will Sennen be able to rebuild a relationship with her son and daughter? Or is there no way to repair the damage that she caused all those years ago?

What do you do when the only place you want to be is home but pride, shame, family secrets and lies keep you from returning?

Ailsa Anderson

This is the first book I have read by Fern Britton. The story gripped me from the start and the momentum carried you through right to the end. It was a real page-turner and would be an ideal book to take on holiday.

I had mixed feelings about Sennen and found it a bit difficult to believe that such a young girl could have disappeared for so long. I really felt for her parents having to cope with the loss of their daughter and take on the full responsibility for two very young children. They did a good job but I found it difficult to believe they would not have made wills in favour of those children. Ella and Henry came out well and were likeable but it was not surprising that Henry was so reluctant to meet his mother. I also thought the Indian characters all came out very well and I particularly enjoyed that part of the story.

All in all it was a good book, if a little too far-fetched in some parts.

Christine Waddington

‘Coming Home’ was the first book or short story that I read by Fern Britton and I thought she is quite an accomplished writer.

The subject was unusual. Which very young mother leaves her parents and such young children and tries to find the children`s father in Spain? Of course she was very young and naive, no life experience. It would have been better to confide in her very loving and caring parents who would have shown understanding and given good advice.

I felt when Sennen was in India she became a different person and of course meeting such a kind, understanding man was a great blessing. You had to admire how she carried on even when life looked bleak.

All the characters were drawn very well, I though. Sennen was in my mind a bit unbelievable but Henry, Kit and Ella were very well described.........believable and they came to life. And there is a familiar Cornish atmosphere, very well described.

The whole story was even "thrilling", you wondered how it would all end. Of course, you assumed there would be a big coming together, coming home in the end. And it did, and it left you well-pleased. Well done, Fern - I am sure the book will be a success and well-liked by many readers.

Heide MacKenzie

Beautifully descriptive, realistic characters and I can imagine coming back to this tale many times. loved it and would recommend it as gentle escapist reading. Will have to read another of Fern’s efforts!

Never having read a Fern Britton book before (and having worked in TV with her many years before) I was particularly interested in reading this. It was an easy to read and enjoyable tale though I do tire a little of successive “generations” being written about which has become so popular over the last few years. It can be confusing.  Still I loved the Cornish setting and the people involved kept me absorbed to the end which was great. Beautifully descriptive, realistic characters and I can imagine coming back to this tale many times. The story could echo many families in many locations hence its attraction.

Jan Kirkcaldy

Set against the calming backdrop of Cornwall this book is a delight to read. One may initially be judgemental of the decisions made by a young Sennen, but can only hope that things will work out.

This book is enchanting. It has the ability to conjure up in your mind clear pen pictures of the characters and to go on their journey with them. It centres on the struggles of Sennen, who as a young girl makes a life changing and morally difficult decision which could cost her the chance of future happiness. It is hard not to sympathise with Sennen even with her poor judgement and it is captivating to watch the relationships that she has found and lost.

Each chapter is short and covers a small part of the story which makes the book both easy and enjoyable to read. I can truly say I was very keen to see how life turned out for everyone involved.

Julie Watkin

'Coming Home' landing on my mat just before Christmas, was like an early present. It was wonderfully readable with a feel good factor that made it perfect holiday fiction.

Unusually for me I enjoyed all the different story lines from the naïve and vulnerable Serren, to the angry and hurting Henry. Its simple plot with the descriptions of Cornwall and India were both vivid and beautifully portrayed. 

As a lover of Cornwall I could associate with Ella and Serren and their need to be near the sea. I feel sure I have visited some of the beaches mentioned.

The story was very simply told which made it, if not thought provoking, both relaxing and comforting.

I have to say however, that the blissful outcome made me realise why I read for escapism. Ella's character really is too perfect and unbelievable; beautiful, a wonderfully supportive partner, loved by everyone she meets and with a mother who comes back into her life with the greatest of ease  and a cheque book, most definitely fiction!

Rosie Watch

The heart-rending, thoroughly absorbing story of a family torn apart by a young girl’s reckless behaviour.

This heart-rending and thoroughly absorbing story held my attention from the first chapter to the last. I was first attracted by the Cornish setting, but Coming Home effortlessly transports the reader from the quaint coves and cobbled streets of Cornwall to the bustling, colourful markets of India. Not only does the story traverse continents and cultures, it takes us on a fascinating journey from the 1970s to the present day. We first meet the lead protagonist, Sennen, as a naive, young teenager, who falls for the ‘charms’ of a travelling magician, whose declarations of ‘love’ quickly prove to be an illusion. Years pass, and Sennen eventually meets and marries a handsome Sikh in Agra - home, symbolically, to that memorial of everlasting love, the Taj Mahal. On hearing of her mother’s death, however, Sennen returns to Cornwall. Everyone loves a ppy ending, which Coming Home, ultimately, delivers. Time, it sees, does heal.

Gillian Varley

The novel is set in Cornwall and the idyllic location does make you want to actually be there among the locals.

This is a simple easy to read family story, albeit not particularly original, and with a fairly predictable ending. 

The characters and their personalities are given a lot of detail and you immediately feel an interest in getting to know them. The main character's actions is given much background information to develop her personality and explain the reasons for abandoning her children whilst she was still practically a child herself.

The novel is set in Cornwall and the idyllic location does make you want to actually be there among the locals. This adds to the simplicity of the novel and adds a certain charm. 

This book is enjoyable to read but does not allow for any surprise element.

Fiona

A brilliant story of so many wasted years of heartache, family, love and loss. In the beautiful settings of English countryside and India.

Thank you Lovereading.co.uk for giving me a copy of this book. This was my first book by Fern and I have to say it definitely won’t be my last. I thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve often holiday in Cornwall and there is this real pull to always go back there visit the same places so the want in Sennen is very believable. I loved the twists and turn Sennen faces you feel the emotions from everyone pouring out of the pages. I like how the book really built up the background on all the events that have shaped them. 

A brilliant story of so many wasted years of heartache, family, love and loss.

Tasha Potter

A heart-warming, gentle read. This book is perfect for lazy summer days on a beach. Or read it curled up under a blanket in front of a roaring fire on a winter’s evening - in a Cornish cottage!

This is the perfect comfort read; not too challenging but enjoyable. I found it good to help me unwind during the Christmas holidays. 

To start with I found the characters of Sennen, Ella and Henry rather two-dimensional and the plot-line not very convincing. Would the child from such a “nice” family unit really go so badly off the rails? Would a “bohemian” couple send their child to a boarding school? Would Sennen really have been so naive? And would Henry really have any memories of the mother who left when he was two?

However, once I had pushed these questions to one side I began to enjoy the story and want to find out how it would all end. I thought the contrast between the Cornish setting and India worked well and added depth and colour. I was reminded of trips to Cornwall and the novel made me want to visit there again.

Overall, I think this is a good holiday read, or one for the dreary winter months. I would recommend it, and look forward to reading Fern’s other books, and meeting some of the characters again.

This novel would appeal to fans of Phillipa Ashley, Jenny Colgan and Jane Linfoot, writers of gentle Cornwall-based romantic fiction.

Sarah Hamid

A great, easy read from Fern Britton, ‘Coming Home’ weaves a tale of generational relationships set amongst the stunning Cornish scenery that Fern is famous for writing about.

‘Coming Home’ by Fern Britton was sent to me to review by Lovereading. This novel was a light hearted easy read based in Cornwall. A story of three generations of a family, one of whom is estranged and returns when her mother dies. The events from them on become complicated with a reunion with her children, one of whom initially does not want to know and an estate to sort out that Sennen feels guilty about.

The story evolves with a look at the relationship between brother and sister, between mother and children and between Sennen and her life abroad with her husband.

Lovely descriptive passages about Cornwall with its stunning scenery and quaint coastal villages all aptly written about by Fern. The characters are all believable, the wording easy to read and is a real feel good book, ideal for a holiday read or when travelling. I may now have to read some more of Fern's novels!

Glenda Worth

I always get excited when I see that Fern Britton has a new book out and I could not wait for this one. Fern's books are pure escapism and wonderful to read.

I managed to read this book in a day and a half, I just couldn't put it down. I found the story intriguing and had to know if Sennen would ever come back to her children. The last few chapters bought tears to my eyes I won’t say if they were happy ones or not but this is one book you won’t want to miss out on reading.

Hannah Ward

An interesting story, but fairly light reading

I found the mother annoying, the son a bit of a spoiled brat subject to histrionics, and the daughter a bit dull.....I spent most of the book worrying about what was happening to their dogs.

If you’re looking for a book with an interesting story, but fairly light reading, this may be one you could slip into your holiday luggage the next time you go away, especially if you are heading west to the Cornish coast.  It’s easy, but for me, not one which will become a re-read favourite.

There seems to be a plethora of similar chic-lit type books set in Cornwall, although why that is I’m not sure, as like so many, this could really have been set anywhere.  I was delighted to turn a page to find a section set in India, but sadly was merely a tourist guide to the Taj Mahal.  Later chapters returned to India, but again, I felt the surface was merely scratched and I was offered a very small taste of India rather than something to get my teeth into.

The story of a young mother’s abandonment of her baby and toddler and her consequent return into their lives is a heavy subject, which I felt wasn’t given the seriousness it deserved.  None of the characters really gained my allegiance.  I found the mother annoying, the son a bit of a spoiled brat subject to histrionics, and the daughter a bit dull.   The book starts with a young couple walking afghan hounds along a Cornish Beach – all very glamorous – but I spent most of the next couple of days worrying about where these dogs were, how long they’d been left, if anyone had taken them out or fed them. I was totally distracted from the storyline, but needless to say, despite all the psychological trauma of the years of neglect, grief, bereavement, abandonment, etc., ended happily ever after.

It’s a sad book, in more ways than one.

Kathy Martin

A quick and easy read, ideal for a beach holiday.

‘Coming Home’ is the story of a woman who deserts her children, leaving them to be raised by her parents, and runs off to Spain.  She has had two children by the time she is sixteen and then goes abroad, apparently finding work, accommodation and how to live in a foreign county no problem at all.  She does eventually return to meet her children and this book tell the story of that encounter and her life in foreign climes.  

If you want something to read that doesn’t involve engaging your brain, then this is the book for you.  

Susan Wallace

Teenager Sennen has two babies following an infatuation. Leaving the children behind, she travels the world for years. Returning a mature woman, she seeks to mend the broken bonds of the past.

The story centres on a woman named Sennen who, as a young teenager, has two babies in short succession following an infatuation with an older man who works at the local theatre. When he disappears from the town, Sennen runs away to find him.  Without notice, she abandons her children Henry and Ella, leaving her parents to raise them.  The saga begins in Cornwall and then onto Spain and finally to India.  It ends with Sennen’s return to Cornwall for a possible reconciliation with her children.  The reader is faced with a series of questions - Will her children accept her? Why did she really run away?  Has she any regrets?  Is the trauma suffered by all too great to overcome?

I was glued to this book and read it furiously to discover if there were answers to the numerous questions gathering in my head, but I found the tale to be unbelievable on many counts.  Sennen’s personality seemed flawed.  How could she not be curious over her children’s wellbeing in all the years away, and then apparently love them so much by the end? The children’s father was unbeknown to Sennen’s parents, yet they could not calculate when she became pregnant (9 months back and she had a part time job at the theatre!), and then it happened again!

Pat Randall

I have read Fern Britton before and though not literary fiction she told a good story which held the attention throughout.

After the death of her mother, Sennen returns to Cornwall for the first time years hoping to reunite with the children she left decades before.  This is the story of them navigating a difficult path of learning to know and accept each other and establish a relationship to move them into the future.  Will it be possible for daughter Ella and son Henry to forgive her abandoning them so long ago?

I am surprised and a little disappointed.

Dana Captainino

It was well written though, beautifully descriptive of the locations involved whether Cornwall, Spain or India.

Coming Home was interesting and definitely different to anything I would normally read. But as a mother of 2 young children I just couldn’t relate to Sennen and her attitude to family and friends for around 30 years.At no stage did I feel anything other than dislike for her so the story overall felt somewhat annoying and unreal.  It was well written though, beautifully descriptive of the locations involved whether Cornwall, Spain or India. That I did enjoy but I would have loved a more dramatic outcome . It all became too predictable which was a shame. Sorry it’s not for me but no doubt will be much enjoyed by fans of this sort of book.

Victoria Kirkcaldy

I was surprisingly impressed, and read the book extremely quick. I liked the short chapters and wanted to keep reading to find out more.

I hadn’t read any of Fern Britton’s books before and wondered what to expect. I was surprisingly impressed, and read the book extremely quick. I liked the short chapters and wanted to keep reading to find out more. This book is easy to read, has an uncomplicated plot with a few twists and turns, and although the characters seem fairly privileged with little fleshing out of even the major ones, they are believable. The description of the Cornish setting is lovely, easy to visualise and you feel you are immersed in it. My one criticism is it seems to suddenly rush towards a conclusion as though Fern was on a deadline.  Not wanting to spoil the plot, it seems everything is tied up and sorted way too easily in the last couple of chapters. However, it would make a great holiday read and is a novel I would be happy to pass on to any of my friends!

Sarah Dimmock

It's an easy to read book which I read very quickly and it will be ideal for holiday reading.

This is a story  spanning three generations of a Cornish family, focussing  primarily on the women of the family. The author's knowledge and love of Cornwall are evident in the detailed descriptions of the villages in which the story is set.  It's an interesting story which mirrors the changes in attitude and society over a 40 year period, although the issues covered are universal and timeless.  However, I think the book lacked depth because it was trying to cover too much ground and it wasn't always easy to follow the flashbacks, resulting in the story not flowing too well in parts. I also felt that the characters lacked depth and I had no strong feelings about any of them so never got emotionally involved in the story. Really, it's a love story to Cornwall with characters added in but they could have come from anywhere, I didn't get the sense that they were particularly Cornish.

Pauline Braisher

by returning to her old life does she damage the new life she has made and hurt the people in it?

Set in Cornwall the story follows the lives of three generations of one family, broken apart by the disappearance of Sennen, aged 17, in 1993.  Now in 2018 Sennen has returned and is attempting to make amends with the people she left behind.  There are some who are delighted by her reappearance and others who are less so.  And by returning to her old life does she damage the new life she has made and hurt the people in it?  By fixing one wrong will she create new pain for other innocent people? She originally left in search of love, but she did not find what she was looking for until much later when she did not expect it.  Now she must test the strength of this love to put right the wrongs from the past.  We find out what has been going on in Cornwall for the last 25 years in Sennen's absence.  We learn of her plans for the future but not everybody is comfortable with her ideas. In spite of everything it is hard not to like Sennen and when you hear the full story from her point of view, everything starts to make sense and you begin to understand why she left.  When she left she was little more than a child but she returns as an adult.

Dawn Vanstone

An emotionally charged story that moves across continents and time, showing the importance of family and that it is never too late to make amends.

By her late teens, Sennen had 2 small children – Ella and Henry. Living with her parents Sennen had all the support and love that she needed to both finish her studies at school and raise her two children. 

However, one night she sneaks out of the house and never returns leaving her parents to raise her children. Never understanding why she did it, the banish Sennen from their lives and the lives of their grandchildren. 

Nearly a quarter of a century later, following the death of her mother, Sennen returns to Cornwall to try and heal 25 years of hurt and anger. 

Elisabeth Thomas

A really good family-orientated saga set in beautiful surroundings.

Sennen left Cornwall over twenty years ago, on a crazy teenage mission to find her ‘true love’ in Spain. She left behind her family and her 2 small children. Shame, fear and guilt kept her from going home. A letter from her solicitor notifying her of the death of her mother forces Sennen to face up to her past, and the home and children she left behind. Henry has a hatred for his mother for running away and leaving him behind. Now fully grown and living in London, Henry has no desire to see his errant mother again. His sister Ella has settled with her boyfriend in Cornwall. Never knowing her mother, she wishes to meet with Sennen and build a relationship with the mother she never had.

In ‘Coming Home’ we learn about Sennen’s upbringing with her bohemian artist parents in a small village in Cornwall, the story behind what drove her to leave, and her life after leaving Cornwall. We learn about Ella and Henry, Sennen’s children, and their lives with their beloved grandparents. What unfolds is a story about fractured families, secrets and ultimately unconditional love when everyone comes home.

 I enjoyed this story very much. The reasons behind Sennen’s leaving were a little unusual. The secondary characters were an interesting and mixed bunch. The story flowed well and had a good mix of sadness, romance and emotional tugs.  A really good family-orientated saga set in beautiful surroundings. However, names were changing left, right and centre and it was quite badly edited throughout. 

Nicola Kingswell

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9780007563029
Publication date: 28/06/2018
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780007563005
Publication date: 22/02/2018
Format: Hardback

ISBN: 9780008270988
Publication date: 22/02/2018
Format: Ebook

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About Fern Britton

Fern Britton is the highly acclaimed author of six Sunday Times bestselling novels. Her books are cherished for their warmth, wit and wisdom, and have won Fern legions of loyal readers. A hugely popular household name through iconic shows such as This Morning, Fern is also a much sough-after presenter. Fern is deeply committed to a number of charities. She lives with her husband, Phil Vickery, and her four children in Buckinghamshire and Cornwall. To find out more, connect with her at www.fern-britton.com, @Fern Britton and facebook.com/officialfernbritton.

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