Nice to Come Home To

Nice to Come Home To

4.0 20
by Rebecca Flowers

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A funny, entertaining novel of love and family for our times: a single woman who fears she's lost her chance at a family of her own, begins to accumulate an ad hoc one around her. 

In the tradition of Elinor Lipman or Marisa de los Santos (Love Walked In), Flowers delivers a smart, witty, appealing story of love, family, and community


A funny, entertaining novel of love and family for our times: a single woman who fears she's lost her chance at a family of her own, begins to accumulate an ad hoc one around her. 

In the tradition of Elinor Lipman or Marisa de los Santos (Love Walked In), Flowers delivers a smart, witty, appealing story of love, family, and community that breaks the mold of the conventional love story-and will have readers cheering. 

Everyone around Prudence Whistler, thirty-six, seems to be settling down. Her once single girlfriends have married and had babies. Her gay best friend is discussing marriage with his partner. Even her irresponsible younger sister, Patsy, is the single mother of a two-year-old. But when Pru panics at losing her mediocre boyfriend of two years-and begins to see the door to her traditional family life closing-she accidentally finds something even better: a new definition of family and happiness. First, it's the crazy cat who moves into her apartment. Then come Pru's headstrong sister and two-year-old niece. Then the niece's dog, the sister's ex-boyfriend, and, ultimately, Patsy and Pru's widowed mother. With the strength of her modern new household, Pru musters the confidence to open the dress shop she's always wanted in town-and discovers an extended family of sorts in the community of shop owners and devoted customers. It's only then that she ends up with the man of her dreams. Endearing, romantic, and satisfying, Nice to Come Home To is a charming, crowd-pleasing debut.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Though she's methodically navigated 36 years by making lists and plans, D.C. resident Prudence Whistler's carefully constructed life is about to get shaken up. She's let go from the nonprofit job that never did much to fulfill her in the first place. Then Rudy-who she's finally decided will suffice as "The One"-condescendingly dumps her. But before she has too much time to stew, her loved ones rally 'round: catty, coupled college friends; her younger sister, Patsy, the unmarried mother of a two-year-old; and John Owen, the in-divorce-proceedings diner owner Pru first encounters while schlepping Rudy's television out to the curb. This crew's the catalyst for a series of adventures and lifestyle shakeups that has retail-addict Pru wondering whether her love for fashion could deliver more than the latest Marc Jacobs dress. And then there's the ongoing coffee klatch at John's diner that inspires the big question: is Pru in the market for "getting-each-other-through-a-bad-time-love" with John, or is it time to stick her neck out for "real-love love"? Readers may find Pru's early bad luck streak contrived, but as her lovable friends and neighbors spring into action, the well-written story rounds out and rolls toward a satisfying finish. (Apr.)

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Library Journal

Though the base plot of National Public Radio producer and commentator Flowers's ( almost flawless, utterly charming, and engrossing first novel is fairly straightforward, the characters are likable, and the narrative is funny and realistic. There are better readers than two-time Audie® Award nominee Carrington MacDuffie in terms of voice characterization and accents, but she does justice to Prue and her surrounding cast of characters, and the production quality is excellent. All told, highly recommended for all public library collections. [Audio clip available through; the Riverhead hc was recommended for all public libraries, LJ4/1/08.-Ed.]
—Nicole A. Cooke

Kirkus Reviews
A woman reinvents herself in her mid-30s in Flowers's debut novel. At 36, Prudence Whistler is doing all right-not great but not bad. She doesn't love working in the not-for-profit world, but she has built a decent, reasonably remunerative career for herself. None of her friends or relatives seems to like her boyfriend, but there's no denying that he's pretty cute now that she has spiffed him up a bit, and his neediness makes him loyal. When she gets fired from her job, though, Pru comes face-to-face with the fact that the time to fulfill her master plan for life-the one that involves a husband and kids-is running out. At this crossroads, she decides to finally accept her boyfriend's oft-reiterated, heretofore rejected marriage proposal. Unfortunately, Pru arrives at this decision just as he has decided to dump her. Utterly without prospects for employment or new romance, Pru falls apart, and readers of women's fiction will not be surprised to learn that calamity gives our heroine the opportunity to build a better, happier, more adorable version of herself. The problem with this novel is that the new Pru emerges at a crushingly slow pace, and the old Pru is not agreeable company. Indeed, she's so sour and self-centered that it's almost impossible to root for her. Flowers provides some narrative relief in the form of a bitchy gay best friend and a free-spirited sister, but these more congenial characters merely throw Pru's uptight unpleasantness into sharper relief. There's not much going for this book except perhaps a built-in audience. Agent: Gail Hochman/Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents Inc.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sold by:
Penguin Group
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File size:
344 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Rebecca Flowers is an independent radio producer and commentator whose work has appeared on NPR's All Things Considered and Day to Day. A recipient of the Donald Barthelme Prize for short fiction, she lives in western Massachusetts with her husband and their two children. This is her first novel.

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Nice to Come Home To 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Chrissy_W More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars Did I enjoy this book: After a hefty, have-to-think-about-it-a-lot book, I sometimes look for a book that can be kind of a palate cleanser–something light, fresh, and pleasant, that isn’t, so to speak, a whole meal. I had just finished Sharon Kay Penman’s Time and Chance, a large and sweeping epic about Henry II and Eleanor Aquitaine. It was a very worthy read, but one that took, at times, discipline to keep on with. Nice to Come Home To looked like the perfect antidote–a modern day romantic novel. Turns out, it was a great choice. I’m a sucker for a redemption story. At the beginning of Nice to Come Home To, Pru is a mess. She’s unemployed; she’s in a relationship with a guy she doesn’t even much like, but she’s talking herself into marrying him because she’d like a baby. She’s letting a leering old lecher pretend to squint at her name tag as he peers down her blouse–the lech, she thinks, might have the key to a worthy job. Yuck, Pru–stop it right now! Well, she doesn’t stop it right now, but she changes, believably and satisfyingly, throughout the book. The Pru we know by the end of Nice is more mature, more centered, and much more likable than the sad woman who kicks off the tale. And her family and friends are all in better places, too. There are surprises, and there’s some comforting predictability. Now THAT’S my kind of redemption story! Would I recommend it: If you’re in the market for a satisfying, light read, this is a great choice. It’s compelling byut not exhausting. The characters are agreeably flawed; Flowers doesn’t paint exes as evil, unrepentant jerks, for example. She allows them to grow into sympathetic characters who maybe just aren’t quite the right ones for our Pru or her sister or their friends . . . I might read this book again next time I need a reliable, light read. But more likely I will pass the volume on to another Reader Girl who needs a satisfyingly cozy cold night companion-book. As reviewed by Pam at Every Free Chance Books. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an enjoyable read. I recommend this to those who love books that give you a female character struggling to make it and finds love as well. I was sorry the book ended.
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yellowroseBCD More than 1 year ago
What a comforting, lovely book! Getting to know Pru and her family makes you feel good about your own family. They are off-beat, marching to the beat of a drummer that you don't hear, and definitely interesting. My family seems dull in comparison. The story meanders and really slows down at times. Then, in a couple of paragraphs, it jumps ahead. That's okay, because nothing much happened that you needed to know about anyway. Pru is looking for love. It is so close that the reader wants to shout to her to open her eyes. It takes Pru a LONG time to open those eyes, but the wait is worth it. Sit back, have a cup of tea and enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From the first page, I was captivated. Excellent writing, I will look for future books from Rebecca Flowers. An absolutely lovely read - funny, sad, heartwarming, such "real" characters I felt I was there with them (at least watching them). I definitely recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kelly_Belly More than 1 year ago
I mostly enjoyed this book. It would make a great beach read or snow day read. It's light and there are happy endings all around.
Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
Nice To Come Home To is the story of Prudence Whistler, 36, who has just lost her job and her boyfriend. Now she will have to revaluate her life, what does she really want? She thought she wanted to follow a traditional path with a secure, boring job, husband and kids, but as she begins to asses her options a very different picture appears. As she stumbles her way through rebuilding her life a quirky and loveable cast of characters appear; her younger sister Patsy who impulsively follows her heart and ends up the single mother of a two-year old, their well-meaning mother, John the recently separated cafe owner down the street, and Pru's many loyal friends.
I found this an enjoyable and entertaining read! I liked the theme that pressure to create a traditional family sometimes gets women off on the wrong track. Surrounding yourself with people you love and who support you is more important then having a husband and 2.5 kids! Pru's problems and insecurities will resonate with many modern women. I especially loved all the supporting characters. The original, loveable people who make Pru's life messy, complicated, and who ultimately lead her to a career she never would have expected round out the book perfectly.
I listened to the audio version of this book and found it a pleasant, light-hearted diversion.
This is a feel-good read perfect for readers who have enjoyed books by Marisa de los Santos or Joshilyn Jackson.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Loved this book the first of my summer reading, and Highly recommend it! Pru is funny, flawed, and makes you like her and care about what happens in her life. Her friends and family add twists and turns but it is her story and she will charm you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Nice to Come Home To is based on Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, but it's easy to forget that the story is a retelling as Pru (Prudence) navigates her way through the realities of family trials and dating past thirty. Pru is always the voice of reason and when her sister Patsy (Patience) visits DC with her quirky, disorganized personality that is the polar opposite of Pru's, she knows she must continue to be the strong one for Patsy. Unfortunately for Pru, family visits are never orderly or predictable. Readers will laugh and their hearts will ache with Pru as she tries too hard to keep her feelings about men and her family bottled up inside. Peopled with colorful Characters and set in the neighborhood of Adams Morgan in Washington, DC, a setting that Rebecca Flowers seems to know inside and out, Nice to Come Home to is an exceptional read. This funny, witty novel will likely keep readers up past midnight to see if Pru will ever be able to let go of taking care of everyone else and finally let someone else walk beside her.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The cover of 'Nice to Come Home To,' lovely as it is, might lead one to think that the heroine is a demure young thing. In fact, Pru Whistler is an engaging, funny, smart and feisty young woman, whose rocky road to true love begins when, after losing her job and boyfriend, she finds herself unexpectedly caring for an assortment of quirky characters. These include a neurotic cat named Big Whoop, whose arrival in Pru's apartment is followed by Pru's flaky but appealing sister Patsy and Patsy's delightful 2-year old daughter Annali. Pru and Patsy's mother eventually also shows up, with Patsy's former lover, who is Annali's father, in tow. Pru's work also takes an unanticipated turn as she discovers that she can turn her love of clothing into a career. Pru, who changes and grows throughout the book, has depth and complexity, and the rest of the characters are also well-drawn and multi-dimensional. The setting -- the Adams-Morgan section of Washington D.C. -- is vividly portrayed and reminds us that D.C. is a city, not just of monuments and bureaucrats, but of real people who do nitty-gritty work. Ms. Flowers writes with compassion, charm and wit. This book held my interest from beginning to end. In fact, I enjoyed reading it so much I was sorry when it ended!