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Review: Home at Last

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Review: Home at Last

08 Mar Posted by in Reviews | Comments
Review: Home at Last

Home at Last by Deborah Raney
Reviewed by: Pam Graber
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: February 21, 2017

Deborah Raney’s Chicory Inn series has tackled many difficult issues from infertility, to marital discord, to suspected infidelity, to, well, you name it and the Whitman family has come out the other side of it stronger. Home at Last, book 5 and the final one in the series, brings us only son Link’s story.

Link’s story differs from that of his sisters in that, his conflict is more societal than interpersonal. The girl he has fallen for is of mixed race, identifying more with her black heritage than that of her white mother. Shayla Michaels has endured the slights and inequities of a society that does not value her dark skin and, in many ways, has risen above the “slings and arrows” aimed at her. However, the loss of her mother to brain cancer sent her father and her brother into a tailspin, leaving her brother in jail and Shay to care for her niece, Portia, her father and the family bakery. While she loves them all, she has resigned herself to a life without love. What man would willingly take on a ready-made family? The fact that Link is white is NOT a point in his favor.

Link looks at Shay and sees the woman he’s meant to be with. He admires her strength, her beauty, and her sense of humor. He doesn’t really “get” what the problem is. The more Shay lets him into her world, the more determined he is to prove that he can handle anything if she’s willing to try. His biggest hurdle is her father who is adamantly opposed to his daughter dating a white man. He’s seen the grief that can cause in his own family and wants nothing to do with it for his 33-year-old baby girl. Can Link prove to both Shay and her father that his love sees Shay’s heart not her skin color?

I cringed a little bit when I started Link’s story, not because it wasn’t good but because it feels like I’ve been reading far too many racially charged news stories lately. Maybe that’s why it’s important to read a book like this one. Knowing that neither race really has a handle on their prejudices and sometimes we exhibit our biases without even realizing it, was enlightening to me. Some of these things I knew, in my head, but hadn’t really taken them to heart. Home at Last wouldn’t let me overlook the ways I might discriminate without really realizing I’m doing it. After her first dinner with Link’s family, Shayla points out to him all the ways his family politely tried to avoid the fact that she is black. “Heaven forbid if somebody mentioned they didn’t like black jellybeans, the rest of the room froze and watched me to see if I was offended.” And I found myself wondering, how would MY family react? I would hope we would see the person, not the skin, but I thought the Whitmans were above that kind of treatment, too.

Home at Last is the fifth, and I think final, book in the Raney’s Chicory Inn series. While it can be read as a stand-alone, it is SO MUCH BETTER if you’ve read the other four! I definitely recommend this book!

Rated G: I saw no worries here.

Reviewer’s copy was personally purchased.


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