Thursday, September 4, 2008

Home Another Way by Christa Parrish

In Home Another Way, Christa Parrish tells the story of Sarah Graham, a young woman who has lost her baby, her husband, and her place as a violinist at Julliard. She travels to Jonah, N.Y., to collect the money her father left her in his will. She's broke, so the money will come in handy, but she's blindsided by a provision in the will stating that she must spend six months in the small mountain town to pocket her inheritance. Sarah wants nothing to do with her father. She blames him for destroying their family and forcing her to live with a grandmother who refused to show her love or approval. Sarah can't let go of this anger toward her father, and it has made it difficult for her to maintain relationships and enjoy life. The last thing she wants to do is live in her father's house and interact with the town's residents.

During her stay in Jonah, Sarah spends a lot of time with Maggie, the owner of the Jonah Inn who was in love with Sarah's father; Beth, Maggie's daughter and a waitress who was disfigured in a fire; Jack, Maggie's son and the town's pastor; Doc, a loner who spends nearly all of his time caring for Jonah's poorest residents; and Memory, an outspoken woman who cares for her brain damaged son by herself and befriends Sarah when everyone else wants to stay away. At first I was afraid Parrish had created a cliche small town, complete with busybodies and goody goodies, but she quickly put my fears to rest. While the focus is on Sarah and her troubles, each of these characters has a story or a secret that helps Sarah on her journey to forgiveness.

Home Another Way is unlike many of the other Christian novels I've read, and that's what I liked best about it. There are many themes within the book, such as forgiveness, adultery, abortion, divorce, and premarital sex, and Parrish is never preachy. Best of all, Sarah is unlike any character I've seen in Christian fiction (granted, I haven't read all that much) because she's not really religious. She's promiscuous, vindictive, and angry, but also vulnerable and caring. She's far from perfect...she's real. The book didn't end like I expected, and I was glad because it made it more believable. Parrish created a wonderful cast of characters in Home Another Way (she made me sad that there isn't that small-town sense of community where I live), and I hope she revisits these characters in the future.

Home Another Way will be published by Bethany House in October 2008.

LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Home Another Way also was reviewed by:

My Friend Amy

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of Home Another Way from the publisher for review purposes.


Serena said...

sounds like a pretty good book! Aren't you the lucky little Early Reviewer. Still I get nothing from that group!

Anna said...

I'm sorry. I didn't think I'd get anything but I was pleasantly surprised. Keep trying, though.

I think you'd enjoy the book!

Jeannie said...

"She's far from perfect...she's real."

I sometimes have a hard time relating to a character whose life is too perfect. That's just not how it is in real life, ya know?

Tricia said...

I'm a Christian fiction newbie, and from your excellent review, this seems like a book I would like. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Great review, Anna. I never seem to like contemporary Christian fiction, but this one seems like something I'd like. The characters seem complex and *real* which is what I'm looking for.

What month was this one offered on Early Reviewers? I don't remember it, but I've only been looking at them for the past two months.

Serena, crossing my fingers that you land an Early Reviewer book next month!

Serena said...

Thanks for the crossed fingers, let's hope it works.

Anna said...

Shana: I believe this book was from the July batch. I've only been a member of Library Thing for a couple of months as well, and I'm still getting used to the site.

I wasn't really sure I'd like the book when I first started reading based on my experiences with other Christian novels, but I was pleasantly surprised. I'm a sucker for a well-written character, and Parrish didn't disappoint!

Anonymous said...

I haven't read too many Christian fiction novels, but have enjoyed the two I've read. Maybe I'll check this one out. Although, was it a little depressing??

Lady Blogger said...

Thanks for the fabulous review Anna~you definitely piqued my interest in this book!

Christa Parrish said...

Hi, Anna!

Thanks for your lovely review. I'm glad Home Another Way didn't disappoint, nor was it what you expected :) I really love character-driven fiction, and my characters are the most important part of all my work.

Happy reading!

Christa Parrish

Anna said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog, Christa! I'm glad you liked my review!

Anonymous said...

Anna - I'm glad you mentioned *Home Another Way* to me in your comment on my blog. Your review gets me interested in the book -- not "typical" characterizations.

I like that stipulation on the inheritance. Funny how I've read a few novels lately which start out with "strings attached"!

Anna said...

Dawn, I didn't realize how many there were until I read your post! If you read Home Another Way, let me know what you think!