Desert Isle Keeper
Walk Me Home
Well-written and touching, Walk Me Home is a good character study, a worthwhile comedy and a moving romance, all about the importance of forgiveness and healing.
Wealthy Charlie Nash is back at Silverlake Ranch to attend the wedding of her cousin, Will. The last thing she wants to do is be there at the ceremony; the bride is slowly turning into a bridezilla, and being back in Silverlake after a tragedy drove her family away from the town is tougher than she anticipated. Worse, Charlie is expected to be a bridesmaid at the wedding and she’s utterly dateless. When her mischievous friend Lila suggests they ask her brother Jake Braddock, Charlie’s ex-boyfriend, to help with the wedding, Charlie instantly resists.
Jake and Charlie’s youthful relationship resisted class differences (Jake’s family was poor and he lived with the Nashes as an adopted son), but didn’t survive a horrible fire which took the life of Charlie’s grandmother and for which Jake was blamed. The Nashes left Silverlake and Charlie and Jake separated, Jake becoming a fireman and remaining bitter that Charlie didn’t stand by him.
When Charlie tumbles off a ladder while stapling up wedding decorations, she realizes just how much Jake has grown. And Jake – called into service when the groom’s best man is unexpectedly sent overseas – is suddenly stuck in the wedding party and in close quarters with Charlie. Do the two of them still have a chance, or will the death of Charlie’s grandmother always stand between them?
Walk Me Home is one of those beautiful, lyrical pieces that manages to make faith – in oneself and a new faith in one another – a literate, understandable concept.
Jake is still clearly troubled about the fire; from the one rescue he couldn’t make before he became a professional firefighter. His life has been a combination of clinging to his own dignity about his innocence of the accusations of arson flung at him by the Nashes and feeling horrible guilt over Babe’s death. That he saved Charlie’s father (and Babe’s dog) seems to mean nothing to them.
Charlie, too, is suffering from the loss of her grandmother, even so many years later. She also has a fear of heights that she ultimately has to overcome with Jake’s help, and a mystery to help him solve.
Jake and Charlie conduct their funny, sweet-natured, banter-filled second chance romance with sadder, wiser eyes and a knowing sense of affection. They understand what they’ve lost, and know how impossible the idea of loving each other is – but still, they remain connected, in spite of it all.
I loved sassy Lila, who’s a great supporting character, as are Jake’s fireman colleagues and Charlie’s father.
Everyone feels really well-rounded, with the exception of one character (who only has two lines.) Even the minor animal characters are amusing. And while the novel is labeled as an inspirational, there are only light elements of faith on display.
The book’s only real problem is that sometimes its light, humorous romantic parts clash with the somber nature of the fire trauma. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen often. Also there’s an extremely minor character who comes off as an unfortunate caricature and made me cringe; I dinged the grade a little for that lazy stereotyping.
Walk Me Home is otherwise a near-perfect delight, and a spirited ride toward the joy of forgiveness.