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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Book Review: Home by Karen Wiesner

This story has an emotionally struggling protagonist.

by Karen Wiesner
Inspirational Romantic Fiction
978-1-921636-76-9 (electronic);
978-1-105-20118-9 (trade paperback)
Available now in electronic formats by
Writers Exchange E-Publishing
and trade paperback by
Download from Smashwords
Download from

Genre: Inspirational Romance
My Rating:  4.0 of 5.0

Small-town girl Ayodele "Della" Flynn lives in a city she abhors, where danger seems to be lurking around every corner. When her husband dies very unexpectedly, she's confronted with figuring out where her home is with her young son River and trying to come to terms with the loose ends her husband left their lives in.

Review: If you like emotional drama, this book has some to share.
Della was born in small town, Peaceful, Wisconsin and she wasn’t happy about moving to Chicago when her husband, Declan, pushed her to do so for his business.  She always hoped the move would be temporary. When she became pregnant with their son, River, he became the focus of her love. The family lives in a ramshackle apartment in an area that is unsafe.  The money that Declan and his partner, Hannah, made from the sale of the business was reinvested in a new business that is failing. Della has to walk to a nearby waitress job just to have money to keep food in the house. All of this leads to resentment and a deterioration of Della and Declan’s relationship.

When Della discovers that Declan has betrayed their seventeen year marriage it is the last straw.  Della announces that she is taking River and moving back “home”.  As Della prepares to leave town, she gets a call from Hannah advising that Declan is dead! Hannah is understandably distraught and she keeps harping about having a share of the insurance.  Della is less than sympathetic to Hannah’s situation and has to cope with her own, and River’s, shock and grief.

Declan’s parents and a nephew, Cade, drive in to bring Della and River home to Peaceful. Cade has always been interested in Della, but Declan got to her first. He quickly bonds with River and is a huge help but Della is too injured to consider a new relationship.

There are some interesting details regarding Declan’s death that add intrigue and vengeful actions by Hannah bring a bit of suspense. Primarily though the story is focused on Della’s emotional turmoil. Some of her thoughts made me contemplate. For example, which comes first: the husband’s loss of self-esteem or the wife’s loss of respect when he doesn’t do more to support the family?  Either way it is a downhill spiral unless someone takes steps to stop the disastrous cycle.

I liked Della’s fierce love for her son and her steadfastness. However, I thought she had been too weak for so many years and part of the decline in the relationship has to lay on her shoulders. She eventually recognizes she needs to be less self absorbed and she needs to rely more on God than in her own strengths.  Particularly she has to allow God to heal her issues of extreme distrust and fear if she is ever to be able to love again.

This story is told in first person by Della.  Although technically well written, I thought this presentation resulted in a bit of  “telling” rather than showing. I honestly prefer stories with less drama and more action.  Ms. Wiesner has the ability to create real to life characters and situations but the protagonist here is not my favorite. Although Della’s emotional trauma is very real, I was annoyed that she had such a struggle to get beyond the past betrayal and pain of loss.  This is an easy enough read but the pace was less motivated due to the weight of the unhappy emotions. Readers who enjoy emotional drama might well like this story a bit more than I did. Ms. Wiesner is a wonderful author with many stories to choose from and enjoy and I look forward to reading more of her works.

 Thank you to the author for this book to read and review.
I will add this to Chicago for my Where Are you Reading Challenge and to my ARC challenge.

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