Reviewer: Amy Lignor
Title: Hometown Ties
Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: David C. Cook
Release Date: September 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Inspirational Fiction
Year/Setting: Present day, Clifden (A small sea village on the Oregon coast)
Overall Rating: 4.0
Sexual Content Rating: None/Subtle
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None/Mild
Violent Content Rating: None
Melody's Website/Blog: www.melodycarlson.com
As fans know by now, Melody Carlson has the innate ability to write serious tear-jerkers that lead every reader to close their eyes, nod their heads, and send up a prayer to the highest power, searching for strength in this harsh world.
With this new story, we are spending time with the Four Linda’s. Each woman’s first name is Linda, but they go by their middle names so as not to confuse readers. Caroline comes first. Caroline was the coolest high school cheerleader way back when in her small town. She has recently moved back to care for her mom who is going downhill very quickly as she suffers from Alzheimer’s. Caroline refuses to even think about putting her mom in a nursing home, and she finds herself feeling trapped in a torture chamber – unable to get out in the "real" world and feel alive.
Janie Sorenson is our second "Linda." Janie is a big-time Manhattan attorney who has also recently moved back home to the house she grew up in. Marrying into a wealthy family (unfortunately, losing her husband years before); and, having a high-end attorney practice in NYC, have allowed Janie not to worry about finding the money to restore her childhood home. Janie, however, has her own problems. She’s a very introverted person who is slowly – and with great difficulty – trying to re-enter the world of laughter and joy to find love again.
Abby is the only character we have that is married. Her husband, Paul, and she, have been meeting with a marriage counselor ever since he had a small "indiscretion" with another female. Paul is a good guy; unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to be able to show Abby the respect that she deserves, and the fights ensue from their inability to communicate with each other. Abby wants to buy her old home, a beautiful Victorian in town that’s just come back on the market, and turn it into her own Bed & Breakfast. That’s been her dream for years, and she wants to begin the venture without Paul’s money or help. This is one thing she wants to prove she can do without him.
Marley is our fourth and final "Linda." She’s a painter who lives down by the sea. She spends most of her time fixing up her beach bungalow and producing works of art that are hung and sold at the One-Legged Seagull Gallery operated by Jack. She and Jack have always been friends and done business together, even though his feelings run much deeper. But Marley can’t think about love at all; she spends most of her time trying to get the "next big piece" finished, and attempting to put together the first ever Saturday Art Walk for the small, seaside village.
Soon a stranger comes to town by the name of Bonnie Boxwell, and opens up an interior decorating store. Not only does she end up helping some of the women, but there is also a rumor about that has her hanging out with Abby’s husband a little too often.
This whole story focuses on very adult subjects; very REAL issues that face all of us as we grow older in a strange and sometimes hurtful world. From taking care of our parents, infidelity, death, illness, gay children, and more, the author has a way of weaving together a story with characters that we can all identify with and learn something from. Not to mention, this book soundly reminds us of our girlfriends – our peeps – the people who stand beside us for support; in front of us for protection; and, behind us as we make our way in this world. God bless our girls!
Until next time, Amy
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