Friday, April 22, 2011

Alice's Review: Already Home

Already HomeSummary:  ALREADY HOME is one of the most emotional stories I’ve ever written, a story of a woman who learns to open her heart and, in the process, discovers that love doesn’t wait for an invitation. Jenna Stevens is still reeling from a recent divorce and recuperating from wounds inflicted by a husband who belittled her at every opportunity. A classically trained chef, Jenna no longer believes she’s capable of the leaps of creativity that once won her praise from her instructors and from food critics, so she moves back to her hometown in Texas to open a retail cooking store.

Just as Jenna’s settling into her new career and beginning to feel like she’s on even ground, her birth mother barrels her way into Jenna’s life. Jenna doesn’t want or need a second mother, especially a vegan mother named Serenity who would have named her Butterfly. But while Serenity listens to signs from the Universe, she easily ignores Jenna telling her to go away. With gentle but insistent pressure, she will find a way to open Jenna’s heart.

And once the heart is open, anything can happen! Susan Mallery (www.susanmallery.com)

Review:  There are a couple things I want to tell you right off the bat.  This is my first Susan Mallery novel.  I actually requested this because my sister is a fan of hers.  I figured it was time I checked her out myself.  I expected your typical “chick lit” type novel, a simple story with a happy ending.  Man was I surprised when I got to the bones of the story. 

Although the story was primarily about the return of Jenna’s birth parents, the highlight for me was the friendships the women shared and the relationships the women had with each other.  They were each so different, yet very believable.  Ms. Mallery has a gift.  She writes in a way that makes it very easy to get invested in the characters.  Thirty pages in and I felt a bond with them. 


I was pretty much set not to like Jenna.  By all accounts, she was just about perfect.  I hate that in a character.  Yet Ms. Mallery did something I didn’t expect, she gave her a touch of insecurity and self-doubt that endeared me to her.  She wasn’t whiny, but real.  She took what was meant to be defeating and turned it into triumph.  She faced trials but never took on a defeated attitude.  I couldn’t help but hope that things turned out for the best.  I especially enjoyed her growing friendship with Violet. 

I loved Violet, I want to be friends with Violet.  I really enjoyed her journey.  I liked that although hers was a supporting role, Ms. Mallery gave her story life. I don’t want to write too much about her journey because well, when I first read it, I had a total “Why The Face?” moment and I want you to have it too.  Although hers was a secondary story, it was powerful enough without stealing Jenna’s thunder.  The stories, as well as the characters and their friendships complimented each other rather well.

I think this is a great read.  It’s powerful enough to tug at your heartstrings and bring a tear to your eye, yet it’s laced with humor and above all hope.  I know this is only the beginning of my Susan Mallery journey.  I look forward to reading more by her.

Final Take: 4/5
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