Follow the Stars Home

Follow the Stars Home

4.3 38
by Luanne Rice
     
 

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Acclaimed novelist Luanne Rice "touches the deepest, most tender corners of the heart" (Tami Hoag, author of A Thin Dark Line). Her stories remind us how precious and fragile life can be—and that we must risk our hearts every day to know happiness. Follow the Stars Home is just such a novel: a story of poignancy and heartbreak, grace and

Overview

Acclaimed novelist Luanne Rice "touches the deepest, most tender corners of the heart" (Tami Hoag, author of A Thin Dark Line). Her stories remind us how precious and fragile life can be—and that we must risk our hearts every day to know happiness. Follow the Stars Home is just such a novel: a story of poignancy and heartbreak, grace and courage.

Being a good mother is never simple: each day brings new choices and challenges. For Dianne Robbins, being a devoted single mother has resulted in her greatest joy and her darkest hours. Weeks before her daughter was born, she and her husband, Tim McIntosh, received the news every parent fears. Tim had not reckoned on their child being anything less than perfect, and abruptly fled to a solitary existence on the sea, leaving Dianne with a newborn—almost alone.

It was Tim's brother, Alan, the town pediatrician, who stood by Dianne and her exceptional daughter. Throughout years of waiting, watching, and caring, Alan hid his love for his brother's wife. But one of the many hard choices Dianne has made is to close her heart toward any man—especially one named McIntosh. It will take a very special twelve-year-old to remind them all that love comes in many forms and can be received with as much grace as it is given.

As lyrical and moving as the poetry of nature, Follow the Stars Home is a miracle of storytelling that will take your breath away. If words alone can dare us to confront our fears and to choose joy over sorrow, then Luanne Rice's magnificent novel is a benediction and a call to celebrate our lives.

says acclaimed author Luanne Rice. "I always say the same thing: love. It's an easy answer, but like love itself, far from simple." And her new novel, FOLLOW THE STARS HOME, demonstrates that on each finely wrought page.

Being a good mother is never simple: each day brings new choices and challenges. For Dianne Robbins, being a devoted single mother has resulted in her greatest joy and her darkest hours. Weeks before her child was born, she and her husband, Tim McIntosh, received the news every parent fears. Tim had not reckoned on their child being anything less than perfect, and abruptly fled to a solitary existence on the sea. Dianne was left with a newborn—almost alone.

It was Tim's brother, Alan, the town pediatrician, who stood by Dianne and her exceptional daughter. Throughout these years of waiting, watching, and caring, Alan hid his love for his brother's wife. But Dianne has chosen to close her heart toward all men—especially those named McIntosh. It will take a very special twelve-year-old to remind them all that love comes in many forms, and can be received with as much grace as it is given.

Film rights optioned by Hallmark for television. —


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sufferers are transformed by the transcendent power of love in Rice's (Cloud Nine) uplifting if flawed new family relationship drama. Life has not proved easy for single mom Dianne Robbins, of Gull Point, Conn. Abandoned by her husband, lobsterman Tim McIntosh, just before their daughter Julia was born with spina bifida and Rett syndrome--a debilitating physical condition and an autism-like disorder, respectively--Dianne supports herself and Julia by building children's playhouses. At the age of 11, Julia weighs 29 pounds, and there is no guarantee she will live much longer; yet she has a magical radiance. Despite the difficulties of caring for a severely disabled child, Dianne is never bitter, and her relationship with Julia is hope filled and loving. Dianne had also believed that her strong love would repair Tim's damaged self-esteem and save their marriage. Now she is wary of getting involved with a man again. But Tim's brother, Alan, who also happens to be Julia's pediatrician, has been secretly in love with Dianne for years, and his steadfast devotion may be just what she needs. Meanwhile, Amy Brook, an adorable 12-year-old from a troubled family (and a familiar device in Rice's novels), finds sanctuary in the Robbins household and becomes Julia's best friend; through Amy's example, Dianne finally understands what true love means. The author takes an unaccustomed shortcut when she reveals the plot's conclusion through heretofore silent Julia's thoughts. Had Rice interwoven Julia's reactions throughout the book, the final chapter would not seem a quick device to tie up loose ends. Still, the novel's theme--love's miraculous ability to heal--has the ingredients to warm readers' hearts. Major ad/promo. (Feb.) FYI: Rice's Cloud Nine will be released as a mass market paperback in January. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Fans of Rice's sentimental fiction will not be disappointed with her latest offering. Dianne Robbins, a single, working mother, spends her days in her studio, constructing elaborate playhouses and caring for Julia, her severely handicapped, terminally ill daughter. Although her husband, Tim, fled when Julia was born, Tim's brother Alan, the town pediatrician, has tenderly ministered to Julia throughout her difficult life. Working closely while caring for Julia, Dianne and Alan rekindle their former relationship, and Dianne finally admits that she married "the wrong brother." After Amy, a 12-year-old from an abusive home, moves in with Dianne as a foster child, happiness seems within reach for everyone--until a freak accident threatens Dianne's and Amy's lives. Susie Breck's narration of this fast-moving story is exceptional, especially her treatment of Amy and Julia. Although tighter editing might have been in order for this occasionally preachy tearjerker, Rice's popularity makes it a sound choice for popular collections.--Beth Farrell, Portage Cty. Dist. Lib., OH Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"A tightly paced story that is hard to put down....[Rice's] message remains a powerful one: the strength of precious family ties can ultimately set things right." —Publishers Weekly

"One of those rare reading experiences that we always hope for....What a joy!" —Library Journal

Praise for the novels of Luanne Rice:

Cloud Nine:

"A tightly paced story that is hard to put down...Rice's message remains a powerful one: the strength of precious family ties can ultimately set things right."—Publishers Weekly

"Elegant...Rice hooks the reader on the first page."—Hartford Courant

"One of those rare reading experiences that we always hope for when cracking the cover of a book...A joy."—Library Journal

Home Fires:

"Exciting, emotional, terrific. What more could you want from a late-summer read?"—The New York Times Book Review

"Compelling...poignant...riveting."—Hartford Advocate

Blue Moon:

"A rare combination of realism and romance."—The New York Times Book Review

"Brilliant."—Entertainment Weekly

"Eloquent...A moving and complete tale of the complicated phenomenon we call family."—People

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307567543
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/22/2009
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
118,700
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

Snow was falling in New York. The flakes were fine and steady, obscuring the upper stories of Midtown's black and silver buildings. Snow covered the avenues faster than city plows could clear it away. It capped stone monuments and the Plaza's dormant fountain. As night closed in, and lights were turned on in every window, the woman stood with the young girl, breathing in the cold air.

"The snow looks so magical in the city!" Amy, twelve, said in amazement.

"It's so beautiful," Dianne agreed.

"But where do the kids go sledding?"

"In Central Park, I think. Right over there," Dianne said, pointing at the trees coated in white, the yellow lights glowing through the snow.

Amy just stared. Everything about New York was new and wonderful, and Dianne loved seeing the city through her eyes. Fresh from the quiet marshlands of eastern Connecticut, they had checked into the Plaza hotel, visited Santa at Macy's, and gone ice skating at Rockefeller Center. That night they had tickets to see the New York City Ballet dance The Nutcracker.

Standing under the hotel awning, they took in Christmas lights, livery-clad doormen, and guests dressed for a gala evening. Three cabs stood at the curb, snow thick in their headlights. At least twenty people were lined up, scanning the street for additional cabs. Hesitating for just a moment, Dianne took Amy's hand and walked down the steps.

Overwhelmed with excitement, her own and for the child, she didn't want to risk missing the curtain by waiting in a long taxi line. Standing by the curb, she checked the map and weighed the idea of walking to Lincoln Center.

"Dianne, are we going to be late?" Amy asked.

"No, we're not," Dianne said, making up her mind. "I'll get us a cab."

Amy laughed, thrilled by the sight of her friend standing in the street, arm outstretched like a real New Yorker. Dianne wore a black velvet dress, a black cashmere cape, a string of pearls, and her grandmother-in-law's diamond and sapphire earrings: things she never wore at home at Gull Point. Her evening bag was ancient. Black satin, stiff with years spent on a closet shelf, it had come from a boutique in Essex, Connecticut.

"Oh, let me hail the cab," Amy said, dancing with delight, her arm flying up just like Dianne's. Her movement was sudden, and slipping on the snow, she grasped at Dianne's bag. The strap was very long; even with Dianne's arm raised, the bag swung just below her hip. Nearly losing her balance on the icy street, Dianne caught Amy and steadied them both.

They smiled, caught in a momentary embrace. Although Thanksgiving had just passed, Christmas lights glittered everywhere. Beneath its snowy veil, the city was enchanted. A Salvation Army band played "Silent Night." Bells jingled on passing horse-drawn carriages.

"I've never been anywhere like this," Amy said. Her enormous green eyes gazed into Dianne's with the rapture of being twelve, on such a wonderful adventure.

"I'm so glad you came with me," Dianne said.

"I wish Julia were here," Amy said.

Bowled over with affection for the girl, and missing her own daughter, Dianne didn't see the cab at first.

Spinning on the ice, the taxi clipped the bumper of a black Mercedes limousine. A snowplow and a sand truck drove by in the opposite direction, and the Yellow Cab caromed off the plow's blade, crushing its front end, shattering the windshield. Dianne lunged for Amy.

The violent ballet happened in slow motion. Pirouetting once, twice, the cab spun on the icy street. Dianne grabbed the child. Her low black boot fought for traction. Glass tinkled on the pavement. Onlookers screamed. Arms around Amy, Dianne tried to run. In the seconds it took to register what was happening, that she wasn't going to get out of the way fast enough, she wrapped her body around the child and tried to shield her from the impact.

The taxi struck the crowd. People flew up in the air together, tumbled apart, and landed with separate thuds. Skidding across the pavement, skin scraping and bones breaking, they slumped in shapeless heaps. For one long moment the city was silent. Traffic stopped. No one moved. The snow was bright with red blood. Down the block, horns began to blare. A far-off siren sounded. People closed in to help.

"They're dead!" someone cried.

"So much blood . . ."

"Don't move anyone, you might injure them worse."

"That little girl, did she move? Is she alive?"

Five people lay crumpled like broken toys, surrounded by people not knowing what to do. Two off-duty New York cops out for the evening with their wives saw the commotion from their car and stopped to help. One of them ran to the wrecked taxi. Leaning through the shattered window, he yanked at the door handle before stopping himself.

The driver was killed, his neck sliced through by a sheet of door metal. Even in death, the man reeked of whiskey. Shaking his head, the cop went to the injured pedestrians.

"Driver's dead," he said, crouching beside his friend, working on the girl.

"What about her?" he asked, pulling open Amy's coat to check her heartbeat.

With the child their first priority, the two policemen had their backs to Dianne. She lay facedown in the snow. Blood spread from her blond hair, her arm twisted beneath her at an impossible angle. Moving quickly, a stranger bent down beside her. He leaned over her head, touching the side of her neck as if in search of a pulse. No one saw him palm the single diamond earring he could reach, or pull the pearls from her throat.

By the time he grabbed her bag, a woman in the crowd noticed. The thief had the strap in his hand, easing it out from under the fallen woman's arm.

"Hey," the observer yelled. "What the hell are you doing?"

The thief yanked harder. He held the bag, tearing at the clasp. It opened, contents spilling into the snow. A comb, ballet tickets, a crystal perfume flacon, some papers, and a small green wallet. Snatching the wallet, the man dashed across the street, disappearing into the dark park.


From the Paperback edition.

Meet the Author

Luanne Rice is the author of ‘Secrets of Paris, Stone Heart, Blue Moon, Home Fires’ and ‘Crazy in Love’. Originally from Connecticut, she now lives in New York City with her husband.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 25, 1955
Place of Birth:
New Britain, CT

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Follow the Stars Home 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I tried reading this book when it was first released in paperback, but it was so confusing, I couldn't finish it. I've seen the Hallmark movie many times, and it's far superior to the book. Just a few days ago, I tried reading the book again and I was horribly disappointed. There was so much unnecessary 'fluff' inside, and there several parts that were very disturbing. Trust me, skip the book and watch the Hallmark version instead. It's much more entertaining, and it gets to the point, instead of dragging on forever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the starting of this book i knew it was going to be one of my favorites. Its realistic and I always love good endings. My heart went out to Alan and how much he loved Dianne.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Lobsterman Tim McIntosh worked the New England coast. He loved his wife Dianne, but could not deal with the sickly child that was born to them. Instead, Tim abandoned his spouse and little Julia. She sufferers from illnesses that leave her physically and mentally dying from birth. Perhaps because he loves Dianne or just feels bad by his sibling¿s abandonment, Tim¿s brother Alan constantly is there for Dianne and Julia. Alan¿s actions add to the guilty feelings and shame that fill Tim¿s heart, but his soul cannot take the steps needed to reconcile with his beloved wife nor shower his child with the love she needs.

As Dianne supports herself and Julia, she meets a troubled twelve-year old Amy Brook, who becomes a little sister to her. Amy helps Dianne fully understand what love is all about, but will Tim ever learn the same lesson before it is too late?

FOLLOW THE STARS HOME focuses on the meaning of love and its capacity to meliorate many human frailties. Dianne, Tim, and Amy seem very real because their characters are fully developed. The audience will dislike what Tim did, but understand his actions and frustrations. Reader¿s empathy towards Julia will gush throughout the novel. This emotion on the part of the audience shows how talented Luanne Rice is in sensitizing her fans, though for most of the novel the audience ¿sees¿ the ailing child through the eyes of the other characters. Using Julia¿s thoughts as a climax leads to a feeling that this was a contrived closing but Ms. Rice reaches inside our very hearts and souls with an inspiring novel that reflects on how precious but fleeting is life.

Harriet Klausner

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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the Hallmark movie so I was excited to read the book. If you love the movie, you'll really love the book!!! As a parent with a special needs child, this is an awsome story of a mothers unfailing love!!!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was pretty good but it did go a little to slow. It was a heart-warming book with many twists and turns. Overall I enjoyed the book.
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ANHSVan More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book; its very touching and easy to relate to in many ways. Luanne Rice provides situations that could happen to anybody and realistic resolutions. Her stories capture your attention and make you want to keep reading. I'll be reading more of her books in the near future.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This was one of the best books I've read in a long time. I passed it on to a friend and she couldn't put it down. A really superb story of a coupld of kids that made wrong decisions. It gave me a lump in my throat.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the s l o w e s t book I have ever read. I couldn't even finish it. This was my first Luanne Rice book, but I have a few more. I certainly hope they get better. This book had potential, but never quite got my attention. I made it halfway thru and just decided to move on. What a waste of time!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
How wonderful a book, when I needed it most!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i could not book this book down-it was so wonderful and emotional-i just couldnt stop reading i musted have read it like 4 times already rice is amazing writer and hope her books keep coming
Guest More than 1 year ago
Follow the Stars Home is one of the most beautifully written book I have read. The characters are filled with emotion especially Dianne. She made me actually feel like that I could almost feel her pain from all the terrible events that occurred in her life. Luanne Rice has truly made this book enjoyable to read. Once you read it, you won't be able to put it down. Absolutely Wonderful!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
That says it all, what a great book! I so admired the main character, for her courage, bravery....Luanne Rice is an awesome writer!
Guest More than 1 year ago
To Ms. Luanne Rice - it has certainly been a pleasure reading such a marvelous piece of literature. For those who need to take time and reflect back into their lifes, to know how can love heal old wounds and how forgiveness can propel us to move forward, read this incredible book. Ms. Rice has captured the essence of how much a person can sacirfice for the lives of others. Motherhood is a neverending struggle, and yet, it brings many rewarding moments. Ms. Rice also teaches us not to take life for granted, for every passing day is a special gift; and for every soul who we encounter in our journeys through life can have greater significance and impact to how we find that special happiness.