Sometimes a book is not really bad, and yet it doesn’t have anything positive to offer, either. I had more trouble than usual giving this one a grade, as it isn’t poorly written, and yet, while thinking about the review, I couldn’t think of too many positive things to say. Coming Home is a slow read.
Max Kensington needs to close down the Stillwater plant. The Stillwater plant is located in the small town where his mother grew up, a town that has wonderful childhood memories for him. Although he cares about the people and knows that shutting down the only big employer in the area will hurt the town, as a business man he sees no alternative – if he doesn’t shut down the plant, the whole Kensington empire will eventually fall.
Libby Olinger has returned home to help her father, niece and nephew through a tough time – her sister Maizie was killed in a car accident. She puts her education at art school on hold and takes a job at the Stillwater plant to help make ends meet. It has become more than just a job, however, as Libby feels obligated to carry her sister’s torch – Maizie was organizing the workers to fight management and keep the plant running.
When Max returns to Stillwater to crunch some numbers and search for any solution other than the obvious, he is haunted by the spirit of Libby’s sister. Maizie’s ghost has some work to do to do before she can move on. With the help of Max’s long dead father Gerald, she works on Max for many reasons both to save the plant, and to settle Max and her sister Libby together for a lifetime of happiness. It helps, of course, that Max and Libby are hopelessly attracted to each other.
Coming Home is flawed by a telling rather than showing style. The reader is told how Libby and Max feel. The reader is told how they physically respond to each other. The reader is even told that their relationship had an idyllic first three weeks. I read romances for the developing relationship, and Max and Libby’s relationship development was covered by telling me about those three weeks in one sentence. After reading that sentence twice in shock, I felt robbed – why would I be reading this book if not for the relationship development?
When Libby says to Max “I’m all grown up, Max. On top of that, I wasn’t too upset by what people thought of me as a kid. We both know what this is. I hope we’ll have some fun and part friends. If not, then maybe we’ll just have some fun.” I might be in the minority, but I assumed with this comment that they would be having casual sex. I find out three chapters later that this fun-loving woman was holding sex at bay for the right moment, which implies that she had a more serious motive than just having fun. Not upsetting in any way, just confusing.
What I did like about Coming Home was the secondary romance. When Max’s mother Belle was the focus, I turned the pages much quicker. I also found Libby to be interesting when she was painting, which she didn’t do often enough.
Coming Home is a too-quiet read about a small town dealing with a serious economic situation, which was the focus for too much of the book. Although the characters involved are genuinely nice, there wasn’t enough umph to keep my interest, even with the help of two rather rambunctious ghosts.
|Review Date:||May 11, 1999|