Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Review: Longing for Home by Sarah M. Eden (Whitney Finalist 2013)

Title: Longing for Home
Author: Sarah M. Eden
Enjoyment Rating: ***
Source: Digital Copy
This book would be rated: PG

Irish immigrant Kate Macauley has uprooted herself from her job in Baltimore and headed west to the tiny town of Hope Springs, Wyoming in order to earn an almost-too-good-to-be-true salary working as a housekeeper for Joseph Archer, which she will then use to return to Ireland and make amends with her estranged family. However, when she arrives, she discovers that he's a widower who intends that she will care for his children. Kate doesn't watch children-- she hasn't wanted to come close to a child since she was an eight-year-old girl whose baby sister died in her care. And she inadvertently stumbles into a heated conflict between the Irish and the non-Irish residents of the town.

Longing for Home is a romance, I guess, because Kate is courted by both Archer and by the handsome Irish rascal Tavish (who is actually a pretty good guy). However, it strays from the genre in several important ways too-- there's no clear resolution to the love triangle at the end of the novel, and it seems, to me at least, that the arc of the story is much more about Kate discovering who she is and how to overcome the challenges in her life (mainly her sister's death, her father's coldness toward her, and her own illiteracy) than it is about which eligible bachelor she will pick. Kate can be prickly and repetitive and thick skulled at times, but I think she's ultimately a pretty endearing character. I see that there's a sequel and I hope that there will be more character development of Joseph and Tavish in the next installment.

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