Home Sweet Home
I know from visiting our message boards here at AAR that the whole “woman abandons big city life for glorious small town living” is a pass for a number of people. If you are one of them, save yourself some time and effort and stop reading now since I’m fairly certain you will not care for this book. Personally, I don’t mind those type of stories. But I must say that I have read many books with this theme that are far better than this one.
Andi Powell left small town Emerald Lake for the big city ten years ago and never looked back. She built a successful career for herself in New York City working as a management consultant. Recently though, Andi has had difficulty coming up with ideas that her clients love. Feeling slightly desperate and fearful she is about to be terminated, Andi pitches her hometown of Emerald Lake to her current clients who are looking to build a group of upscale condominiums in the perfect vacation town. Her clients love the idea and Andi returns to her hometown to work through the logistics. While there her grandmother falls ill and Andi is pressed into working at her family’s knitting shop.
Nate Duncan is the mayor of Emerald Lake and Andi’s high school beau. He was devastated when she left for New York City and still holds some resentment toward her. When he was 18 his mother passed away in childbirth. Then his father, unable to cope with caring for his infant daughter, took his own life, leaving Nate to raise his sister Madison. Understandably, Nate feels like Andi abandoned him when he needed her most. With Andi’s return to town old hurts rise to the surface as they find themselves on opposite sides of the issue of bringing new development to the area. Nate will have to decide if he will let his baggage concerning Andi go or if he will allow those wounds to come between him and his high school sweetheart. Andi also faces the choice of walking away from Nate again or staying at Emerald Lake and building a new life for herself.
Really though, there is no great mystery as to what the outcome will be. This book has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. I felt like the whole thing couldn’t have been any more obvious if the conclusion had been printed on the front cover.
And the story is one cliché after another. We have the high-powered female executive who returns to her sleepy small town to broker a business deal and finds herself drawn to the slower pace. Then there are the well-meaning small town busybodies. There is knitting as a metaphor for life. There is the high school sweetheart she left behind after parting on bad terms. The clichés know no bounds.
The knitting, oh the knitting. This book has so many descriptions of yarn, colors, acrylic blends, washable merino wool, scarves, shawls, and booties that it made my head spin. But I just couldn’t bring myself to care. Admittedly, aside from my amateurish efforts at quilting, I’m not an extremely crafty person, so that could be why I didn’t get the knitting angle. But rather than the charming effect the author was probably going for, it felt contrived and forced. It just didn’t work for me.
The book is written in an overly simplistic style that annoyed me to no end. The writing style reminded me of Danielle Steel, who has written some of the most spectacularly crappy novels I have had the displeasure to encounter. The occasional hilariously bad simile had me shaking my head and wondering what the author was thinking. Example A: “But before she could find the breath to say the words aloud, sleep came at her like a runaway freight train.” And (my favorite) Example B: “Jealousy rode Andi like an out-of-control Mustang hell-bent on escaping its pen.” Egads. The overall effect is just so bad.
This is billed as “an Emerald Lake novel,” so I suppose future novels will be forthcoming. I’m sorry to say this series will be continuing on without me.