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March is moving right along and so are we with our “March Book Madness” as I like to call it, ha. Home at Last is third (out of 5) book that I am sharing with you guys this month. That’s many pages to enjoy, just let me tell ya! As always before jumping into more about the book and my review let me share my legal disclaimer below. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I was giving a free copy of this book to read and review here on the blog. I always share my honest opinions 100 percent of the time. All thoughts expressed in the “My Personal Review” section are all my own.
About the Book:
Why did their differences matter so much?
Link Whitman has settled into the role of bachelor without ever intending to. Now he’s stuck in a dead-end job and, as the next Whitman wedding fast approaches, he is the last one standing. The pressure from his sisters’ efforts to play matchmaker is getting hard to bear as Link pulls extra shifts at work, and helps his parents at the Chicory Inn.
All her life, Shayla Michaels has felt as if she straddled two worlds. Her mother’s white family labeled her African American father with names Shayla didn’t repeat in polite-well, in any company. Her father’s family disapproved as well, though they eventually embraced Shayla as their own. After the death of her mother, and her brother Jerry’s incarceration, life has left Shayla’s father bitter, her niece, Portia, an orphan, and Shayla responsible for them all. She knows God loves them all, but why couldn’t people accept each other for what was on the inside? For their hearts?
Everything changes one icy morning when a child runs into the street and Link nearly hits her with his pickup. Soon he is falling in love with the little girl’s aunt, Shayla, the beautiful woman who runs Coffee’s On, the bakery in Langhorne. Can Shayla and Link overcome society’s view of their differences and find true love? Is there hope of changing the sometimes-ugly world around them into something better for them all?
My Personal Thoughts and Review:
Home at Last is book five in Raney’s Chicory Inn series. Unfortunately, I have only read book four before receiving this one. Though I believe the book could be read as a stand alone novel, I kinda wish I could have read the complete series before reading this last story. I like to really dig in and feel connected with the characters in the books I read so I think not reading all the series first caused a slight disconnect for me. However, I didn’t feel lost as I read the story at all. I think the author did a nice job of giving enough background on Link Whitman and his family to make the book easy to follow.
While reading two books from the Chicory Inn series, I can see that the author does a great job of covering delicate and tough issues that arise in life. The books both had a sturdy story line that will keep you wondering what could happen next. In this fifth book, the last Whitman sibling, Link is ready to the find love and marriage like all his sisters have. He finally decides to act on his interest in Shayla, a beautiful woman who has sparked his attention. Shayla is a biracial woman working with her father at the family bakery while raising her niece. As you can imagine all these factors begin to play a part in their relationship. As they begin dating and the process of working through the ups and downs of their relationship as a biracial couple. They face many obstacles along their journey together that are rough and a source of much pain and resentment. From racism and a crazy stalker to dealing with resentment toward Shayla’s imprisoned brothers this book is full of mountains for this couple to climb if they are going to find a way to find a life together.
Deborah Raney does a good job at facing tough issues, like biracial dating. In this book, she takes us along as the main characters Link and Shayla work through the obstacles they face as a new couple. If you are someone who likes deep thought provoking fiction and an author that addresses some tough issues in her writing then I believe you will love Home at Last. I would also recommend reading all the Chicory Inn series, Each book follows all of the Whitman siblings and their journey to finding their happiness.
On a more personal note, I felt like the book was a little more tension heavy than the books I normally read. I use reading as a time for me to relax and escape some of the tensions of my day I tend to lean toward lite hearted reads. So though I enjoyed the book and the diverse topic Raney wrote about, it did feel a little too weighted for me. But that is just my personal preference coming through. I urge you to check out the series for yourself.
About the Author, Deborah Raney
Deborah Raney’s books have won many awards including the RITA, National Readers’ Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. She and her husband, Ken, recently traded small-town life in Kansas-the setting of many of Deb’s novels for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita.