Coming Home to You
Fay Robinson’s A Man Like Mac is currently up for a RITA award for Best First Book. I read it recently and enjoyed it very much. So when I saw that she had another book out, I was rather excited. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy Coming Home to You to You nearly as much as her first book. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t remarkable.
Kate Morgan is a woman obsessed. Fourteen years ago she briefly met her idol – a rock musician named James Hayes. He was kind to her, encouraging her to keep going during a difficult time, and she has never forgotten it or him. The fact that he died six years ago has not affected her obsession. A journalist and biographer, she’s currently working on a book about him that she hopes will dispel nasty rumors of drug abuse, womanizing, and stolen compositions. To shed some light on the matter she goes to visit James’s brother, Bret Hayes. But Bret is very hostile to her requests for help.
Bret Hayes has spent the years since his brother’s death in virtual seclusion. He now owns a moderately successful horse farm and stays mostly to himself. He has refused Kate’s requests before in writing, so when she shows up unannounced at his ranch, he is very unhappy to make her acquaintance. And when she dogs him around town, he gets downright ornery. He has a secret that he wants to keep secret. But he can’t help but admit that she is somewhat appealing, both physically and intellectually. After a while he is worn down by her persistence and grudgingly offers to share a little of what he knows. And in spending time with her, he becomes more and more attracted to her, and, even though it makes everything much more complicated, Kate herself shares that attraction. But is she attracted to Bret or is she just basking in his memories of James?
I enjoyed most of this book. The beginning irritated me a little. I didn’t like how Kate more or less stalked Bret. But pretty soon the book took off and moved along. Robinson has a style that’s easy to read, and I liked Bret and Kate once I got to know them. The sexual tension between them was well done, and there were some tender, funny moments, several of them involving the orphans Bret works with on a volunteer basis.
However, readers who have a problem with fairly transparent Big Secrets might have a problem with this one, and therein lies the main problem I had with this book. If I could easily figure out Bret’s secret, why couldn’t Kate? Besides the secret-that-really-wasn’t, Coming Home to You runs out of steam toward the end. It’s a brisk read until about the three-quarters mark, after which is starts to sputter. Shortly thereafter it takes a nose-dive and never recovers its momentum. The incredibly neat ending didn’t help. Everyone, every character – primary, secondary, ancillary – gets a happy ending. It simply stretched credibility too thin to think that every single character who had a problem at any time during the story has their problem resolved by the end. So the book finished on an off note for me.
Still, I can’t say that this is a bad book; just disappointing following Robinson’s very impressive debut. Robinson has another book out this fall, and I will probably check it out. But I do hope that it will be more like A Man Like Mac than Coming Home to You or I won’t really want to bring it home for me – to read, that is.