Home Again

Home Again

by Kristin Hannah
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Overview

Home Again by Kristin Hannah

At the center of Home Again is Madelaine, a brilliant cardiologist, a loving mother, a tender friend, a woman full of self-doubt. It is the story of her daughter, Lina, a confused and angry rebel and of the two very different men Madelaine loves: Francis, a priest searching for his faith, and Angel, a talented, but cynical man. When tragedy brings them together again, they must learn to forgive the betrayals of the past and find the courage to love again. Touching and inspiring, it is also a story of modern-day miracles, medical, and, perhaps, those not of this world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780449226353
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/28/1996
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 121,676
Product dimensions: 4.16(w) x 6.88(h) x 0.95(d)

About the Author

Kristin Hannah received an undergraduate degree from the University of Washington and a degree in law from the University of Puget Sound. Her first book, A Handful of Heaven, became the first debut historical romance to win the Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA/Golden Heart Award and the Georgia Romance Writers' MAGGIE Award. Kristin Hannah lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest.

Read an Excerpt

Madelaine took a deep, steadying breath and marched into the lion's den.

He was sleeping. Thank God.

She stood in the doorway, uncertain for a second as to her best course of action. She could turn around and leave right now or she could wake him up and talk to him. Or she could sit down beside him and look at him. Just look.

Quietly she closed the door shut behind her. Weak autumn sunlight shone through the small window, giving the room a respite from the cold impersonality of fluorescent lighting. The narrow, metal-framed bed cut the room in half.

He lay as motionless as death, the washed-out gray sheeting tucked haphazardly across his chest. Dark brown hair lay in a tangled heap against the white cotton of the pillow. His chiseled face looked sunken and too thin; his lips were pale. A stubbly growth of black beard shadowed his triangular jaw and darkened his upper lip.

Even so, he was so handsome he took her breath away.

She sank unsteadily to the chair. For a second she couldn't think about his illness or what was at stake here. All she could think about was the past and how much she'd loved this man.

He had swept her, laughing, into a whole new world. A world of lights and possibility and hope, a place where rules and responsibility didn't exist. She'd clung to him, giggling, believing, following wherever he led, so proud that hers was the hand he wanted to hold. She'd fallen in love with him in the wild, abandoned way that only teenagers could. Made excuses during the day to be together, sneaking from her father's austere house in the middle of the night. It was the first time she'd ever disobeyed her father, and it had made her feel recklessly confident.

With the distance of so many years, she knew that she'd never really fallen in love with him, not in the way that lasts. She'd been consumed by his brushfire passion, transformed by him.

There had been that night, under the old oak tree at Carrington Park....

They'd been lying in the grass, staring up at the night sky, wishing on stars, sharing their dreams, holding each other. But she'd known it was time to go home. Her father would be getting back from his business trip.

She pulled away from him, staring down the long, darkened street. The thought of leaving him, returning to that cold house and her even colder father, made her feel almost sick with desperation. "I don't want to go back...." She realized instantly that she'd said too much. She held her breath, waiting for Angel to call her silly or stupid or childish—all the words her father hurled at her with such regularity.

But he didn't. He touched her cheek, gently turned her face to his. "Don't. Stay with me. We could run away...raise a family...be a family...." Madelaine had never known what it could feel like to love someone until that moment. The emotion swept through her, filling her soul with heat until, suddenly, she was laughing, and then she was crying. "I love you, Angel."

Ah...it had been so painfully sweet...

He pulled her into his arms, held her so tightly, she couldn't breathe. Together they dropped to their knees in the spongy grass. She felt his hands on her, stroking her hair, her back, her hips. And then he was kissing her, tasting her tears, claiming her so completely with his mouth that she felt dizzy.

At last he drew back and stared down at her. There was an intensity in his eyes that stole her breath, made her heart beat wildly. "I love you, Madelaine. I don't...I mean, I've never..." Tears squeezed past his eyelashes and he started to wipe them away.

She stopped his hand. "Don't be afraid," she whispered.

He gave her a trembling smile. In that instant she understood so much about him, about the way he was. He went about swaggering and blustering and acting like the rebel, but on the inside he was just like her. Scared and confused and lonely. He didn't believe in himself, didn't think he was good, but he was—she believed in him enough for both of them. And he loved her like no one had ever loved her before....

Such powerful, powerful words: I love you...

After that, she'd told him everything, opened her heart and soul to him and let him become a part of her. Without him, she hadn't thought she could live.

What if he could do that to her again?

She forced herself to remember the other things, the other moments, letting the pain wash through her in a cold, cleansing sweep.

She'd thought she'd forgiven him for what he'd done to her—for leaving her without so much as a good-bye. Honestly, truly, she thought she had. Time and again she'd replayed the sequence of events in her head. She told herself she didn't blame Angel for running out on her. She told herself that seventeen was young, so young, and with each advancing year of her life, it felt younger still. She told herself it had been for the best, that they never would have made it, that they would have ruined each other's lives.

Yes, she'd told herself a lot of things, but now, in this second, staring down at him, she recognized the truth at last. They were lies, all of them lies. Pretty foil paper on a dark, ugly gift.

She hadn't forgiven him. How could she?

He'd killed a part of her that summer, a part he'd created and nurtured and claimed to love. A part she'd never gotten back.

Reading Group Guide

Home Again by Kristin Hannah
 
A Conversation with Kristin Hannah and Random House Reader's Circle

Random House Reader’s Circle: What inspired you to write Home Again?
 
Kristin Hannah: Home Again was inspired by a real-life event. I was watching television one day—a talk show—and the guest was a man who had recently had a heart transplant. This was remark- able enough, but as the interview went on, and the story unfolded, I listened in awe as this man related the story of his transplant. He had been on his deathbed and his daughter had been in a terrible motorcycle accident on the way to saying her final good-bye. He then had to make the wonderful/terrible decision to accept his daughter’s heart. I don’t think anyone could hear this extraordinary story and not be moved. I knew immediately that I had the inspira- tion for my next novel.
 
RHRC: Home Again is different from your other books in that there’s a supernatural element to the story. Was this always something you planned to include in the plot or did it happen organically as you were writing?
 
KH: Actually, early on in my career I included supernatural elements into my novels on a fairly regular basis. I touched on reincarnation, “going into the light,” and time travel. The supernatural element in this book arose very naturally from the subject matter. For me, heart transplantation led inexorably to questions of spirituality. Anyone who has read my body of work knows that I am endlessly fascinated with life-and-death issues, and this novel is really an extension of that interest.
 
RHRC: Madelaine’s a cardiologist, Francis is a priest, and Angel is an actor. In all your novels, your characters have interesting and varied careers. How do you choose the careers of your characters? What is the process of creating a character like for you?
 
KH: One of the things I love most about writing is the research into people’s lives. I love to learn about other careers and how people live. As far as choosing the careers of my characters, it’s really a question of fitting all the pieces together. Each of the various com- ponents of a character’s life—his or her backstory, career, educa- tion, hobbies, family relationships, and self-image—has to serve the issue or theme that I’ve set as the foundation of the story. That’s really what it’s all about for me: an exploration of a theme.
 
RHRC: You’ve written a few books that have a teenager’s perspective; is there a particular reason why you chose to include a teen viewpoint in many of your works?
 
KH: I think it’s because the teen years are so pivotal in our lives. In our youth, we are often faced with difficult, potentially life-altering decisions, yet we don’t have the experience to handle it all with grace. We stumble and fall and learn to stand on our own. I am particularly drawn to the intense pressure that our teens are under these days.
 
RHRC: Do you ever draw from your own life for your stories or your characters?
 
KH: I don’t write autobiographical pieces per se, but I am constantly drawing from my own life and my own experiences.
 
RHRC: What was the biggest challenge you faced while writing Home Again?
 
KH: There were several challenges in writing Home Again. First off, it was my first contemporary novel, so I had to nurture and develop a different voice. It was in finding that voice that I glimpsed the future of my career. Once I began writing about modern women, I was hooked. The other challenge of the novel was the research. It was really important to me that the novel be as accurate as I could make it about this important topic.
 
RHRC: At the core of your stories, there is always a message, often related to mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, sisters. What is the message that you’d like readers to take from this book?
 
KH: I never set out to impart a “message” in a novel. Really, I just intend to tell a powerful, emotional, universal story. That being said, I do find that my work as a whole contains definite thematic similarities. It’s obvious that I believe in forgiveness, redemption, second chances, and the power of love to transform our lives. Each of those themes is definitely present in Home Again. I also really believe in the triumph of the human spirit to overcome adversity.
 
RHRC: Francis is a priest who is confronting regrets about the path he has taken in life. Why did you include this character in this story? Was it hard to get into the mind of a priest?
 
KH: No, it wasn’t any more difficult to write a priest than to write any other character. It required the same combination of research and imagination that most characterizations require. I chose a priest because of the questions of spirituality raised by the issue of heart transplantation. Obviously, the heart is a physical part of our bodies, but culturally, it represents so much more. I needed a character whose spirituality was so profound that it could be nearly transcendent.

Questions and Topics for Discussion
 
 
1. Seventeen-year-old Angel betrays Madelaine by taking money from her father in exchange for ending their relationship. Why do you think he chose to do this? Do you understand his deci- sion? Do you believe that a thing like this can or should be for- given? Do you think he would have made the same choice had he known that she was going to have the baby?
 
2. When Angel hears that he needs a heart transplant, he is both troubled and torn by the thought of having someone else’s heart in his body. This is actually a common reaction. How do you think you would feel in that situation?
 
3. Do you think a person has a right to know about his or her organ donor, or is it better if confidentiality is maintained? Why or why not?
 
4. Should Madelaine have revealed Lina’s father to her earlier? Is there an appropriate moment or age to have this kind of discussion with your child?
 
5. Francis and Angel were treated differently by their mother. How do you think this affected each man?
 
6. Madelaine tries so hard to be Lina’s friend that she sometimes fails as a parent. In what instances do you believe Madelaine is a bad parent? When is she a good parent?
 
7. There is some scientific evidence that states that organs may hold memories on a cellular level. Do you believe that’s possible? If so, do you believe that these memories can be trans- ferred to the recipient? How does that possibility affect your opinion on organ donation?
 
8. Would Madelaine have told Angel about his donor if the media weren’t involved? Do you think she should have kept it a secret?
 
9. Francis faces regrets about his life; do you believe that priesthood was truly his calling? How do you feel about his conflicted feelings between his love for his God and his faith and his longing for what could have been?
 
10. Lina is an angry and confused young girl who wants her mother’s love yet rejects it. Why do you think it’s so hard for chil- dren to express their feelings to their parents?
 
11. Madelaine grew up with a stern, rigid father, while Lina grew up with no father at all. How did this impact their lives and their characters?
 
12. Imagine these characters in five years. In ten. What do you think their lives will be like?

Customer Reviews

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Home Again 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 201 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had read and enjoyed a more recent Kristin Hannah novel, so I thought I'd try this older and less expensive ebook. What a wonderful read. When I started reading, I thought I was reading a book with a different synopsis. I loved having the book unfold without any expectations for what was to come. I had an idea of what was going to happen, and I was right--but it happened in the middle of the book not at the end. Tender, poignant, hopeful and at times sad. A movie star, a cardiologist, a priest, a teenage girl, life changing decisions, first love and second chances. I don't want to say much else and give anything away.
Kelsey Waterfield More than 1 year ago
When i read books i am often disappointed that the end of the book comes with little detail. Howevee this book finished every loose end and the story felt complete. I really like the character development!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You can tell that this is one of Hannah's early writings. The story line is good. but the pace is very slow - bordering on boring. This book makes you appreciate how far her writing ability has come!
aimlyss More than 1 year ago
I loved this story involving a cardiologist, a spoiled movie star, a priest, and a teenage girl with a bad attitude. If you read this book, make sure you have some tissues handy ... that's pretty much standard for all of the Kristin Hannah books I've read.
Debbie Osborne More than 1 year ago
Found my favorite new author! Loved this book.
GMN2008 More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite K. Hannah books. It's a touching story with a twist that you will not be expecting. If you like K. Hannah, you will enjoy Home Again!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kristin Hannah is my favorite author and this is my favorite book. What a story and an unbelievable turn of events that seems to offer a solution, though unexpected, to an unsolvable problem. Tears and joy abound in all of Kristin's books, but never more than in this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book was well written and such a beautiful love stoy. One of the best books I have read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I cried my eyes out like a little baby
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read many of this author's books and I always enjoy them; this book was no different. As with most characters in Hannah's books there is a complicated relationship between mother and daughter. Story is told from all the characters points of view. The mother is an interesting character who does not understand how to parent a teenager, the father is not in the picture although the author makes sure to have a positive male role model for the child. The story is sad but predictable. Even though there are not many surprises along the way I still enjoyed this book and would recommend it to my friends.
JanetH49 More than 1 year ago
When you read this book, keep a box of tissues handy. If you're a parent, your heart strings will be pulled. This is a wonderful book. Kristin Hannah is quickly becoming my favorite author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ms_Marisa2013 More than 1 year ago
I love Kristin Hannah's novels. This book was good, it could get a little boring at times. But overall it was a good story. I did enjoy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well Kristin Hannah has done it again. Home Again was magical and wonderful, and like every good book I read, I hated for it to end. As another reviewer suggested, I read the book blindly, without knowing what it was about, which made it even more interesting. I wish other reviewers would realize that you don't need to give the plot away- or give an all out book report! This is yet another new favorite of mine by Kristin Hannah, thank you, thank you, for another truly amazing story that I simply did not want to put down!
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In my opinion all of her books are great!
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Hannah is one of my favorite authors, very touching book.
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