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by Ginny L. Yttrup

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Overview

Melanie runs away. From conflict. From pain. From reality. 
 
When novelist Melanie Vander faces a looming deadline, she decides it’s time for an escape to an inspiring, novel-worthy locale. She’s not running away. Really. She just needs time to focus. But as she disappears into her writing, she encounters a man whose tenderness leaves her reeling. Engaging and wise, psychologist Elliot Hammond tempts Melanie to question everything, including her marriage.

But that’s ridiculous. Dr. Hammond isn’t even…real.

Melanie’s husband, Craig, has his own problems, including a recession that’s threatening his business. Waning finances, a looming home foreclosure, and a wife who’s checked out emotionally, has Craig feeling as though he’s carrying his burdens alone. When his client, the beautiful and single Serena Buchanan, offers him a solution to his financial woes, he’s tempted by more than her offer of a business solution. 

At a crossroads, Melanie and Craig seem headed in opposite directions.

As Melanie runs away from her problems by escaping into her own fictional world, Craig dives into his struggles, seeking God for strength and healing for his marriage. Ultimately, Melanie must choose whether she’ll check out completely, or allow her characters to lead her home.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781634099578
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date: 04/01/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
File size: 894 KB

About the Author

Ginny Yttrup is the award-winning author of WordsLost and FoundInvisible, and Flames. She writes contemporary women's fiction and enjoys exploring the issues everyday women face. Publishers Weekly dubbed Ginny's work "as inspiring as it is entertaining." When not writing, Ginny coaches writers, critiques manuscripts, and makes vintage-style jewelry for her Esty shop, Storied Jewelry (etsy.com/shop/StoriedJewelry). She loves dining with friends, hanging out with her adult sons, or spending a day in her pajamas reading a great novel. Ginny lives in northern California with Bear, her entitled Pomeranian. To learn more about Ginny and her work, visit ginnyyttrup.com.
 

Read an Excerpt

Home

A Novel


By Ginny L. Yttrup

Barbour Publishing, Inc

Copyright © 2017 Ginny L. Yttrup
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-63409-957-8


CHAPTER 1

Melanie


I run away.

From conflict. From pain. From reality.

At least, that's Craig's assertion — one he's maintained through twenty-three years of marriage. Why do the odd-numbered years feel less certain? But I don't run away. I'm present. I live in the moment. It just happens that sometimes the moment takes place in an alternate reality.

Alternate reality? Mel, it's fiction.

Exactly.

The conversation is on a loop, set to repeat at least once a year. It came around again last night over seared sturgeon at Ella, where we dined to mark an odd year of marriage.

Fingertips poised on the keyboard, I squint at the computer display on my desk and read the last scene I wrote. It doesn't work. Something's off. My forehead furrows in a way I've noticed is leaving a crevice between my eyebrows — a mocking cleft that suggests Botox is my singular hope for redemption from the evils of age. I let the muscles in my face go lax and open my eyes wide. Run away, my foot. Wrinkles are real. They're right now. And I'll deal with them. I move the cursor from my document to the Safari icon and do a search for Wrinkle Creams. After several clicks, I end up on Amazon, where I pay $29.95 for one fluid ounce of "the most potent serum available," guaranteed to restore my skin to its once smooth and youthful appearance.

$29.95? That's almost four dollars more than my last royalty check. Note to self: destroy the receipt.

I click back to my WIP — Work in Progress — or in this case, Worst Imaginable Project. But rather than read the scene again, my gaze lands on the Apple insignia on the bottom of my display, and my stomach rumbles. I push away from my desk, slide bare feet into slippers, and pad down the hallway to the kitchen, where I set a fresh pot of coffee to brew. I munch on a tart Gravenstein while I wait. In a moment of pure delusion, I bought the Gravs thinking I'd bake a pie for Craig. But who was I kidding? I don't have time to bake. I'm on deadline. After tossing the core into the compactor, I reach for a mug, but the cabinet is empty. My cell phone vibrates in the pocket of my robe as I begin unloading the dishwasher. "Hi there."

Craig raises his voice against the nail gun popping in the background. "How's your afternoon going? Words flowing?"

Afternoon? I glance at the clock on the microwave. "Dribbling. The words are dribbling. You're on-site?"

"Yep, remember? I have a meeting with the homeowners."

"Right, I know." Did he tell me that?

"Mel, I'm sorry about last night — I wanted to celebrate, not argue."

With the phone propped between my ear and shoulder, I set a stack of plates down and lean against the quartz countertop. "Yeah, me too. I'd hoped to make it up to you when we got home, but —"

"I fell asleep. I know. This job's taking a toll."

"You missed the big reveal — lingerie purchased just for the occasion."

"My loss. Rain check?"

Not even a chuckle? "Sure. See you for dinner?"

"Probably not. I need to get back to the office and get caught up. Late night."

"Okay. Well, hang in there."

I slip the phone back into my pocket and rub at the knot that's formed in my neck, a result of either cradling the phone or hearing the tension in Craig's tone — I'm not sure which. "Sorry I'm late. Sorry I'm tired. Sorry I yelled." He's apologized a lot in recent months. Fallout from the job, he says — pressure as he adjusts to building high-end custom homes for wealthy clients, those who still enjoy liquid assets in this ongoing recession. The tract developments he built for so long are a thing of the past, at least until the economy recovers.

"Building sixty tract homes was so much easier than building one custom for entitled clients who think they own me." Craig's oft-stated complaint plays again. After reaping the benefits of a booming housing market in the Sacramento area and calling his own shots, Craig's frustration is palpable. Daily. However, his current clients, Serena Buchanan and her daughter — the homeowners — do sound like the epitome of entitlement, according to Craig's descriptions. Although, it seems his attitude toward Serena has softened in recent weeks. He said something about her being widowed last year, didn't he?

Widowed or divorced? I finish unloading the dishwasher as I attempt to recall details, but my memory of the conversation is fuzzy. What's clear is the feeling the conversation evoked — a feeling I didn't care to explore. That's it. Serena Buchanan was widowed.

Menopause is rodent-like in the way it nibbles holes in one's memory. Or maybe Craig is right — my mind is always somewhere else. "Are you listening, Mel?" How often has that question punctuated our conversations? Too many times to consider.

The back door scrapes open, conveniently scattering my thoughts. "Melanie?"

"In here."

"Is Craig ever going to fix that door?" Jill walks into the kitchen, grabs a mug out of the cabinet, and pours herself a cup of coffee.

"Make yourself at home."

She laughs and then turns to me, looks me over, and, still smiling, raises one perfectly plucked auburn eyebrow. "Nice outfit."

I glance down at the black satin peeking from under my robe and the plaid cotton PJ bottoms I pulled on with my nightgown this morning. I pull the robe tight. "I'm working."

"Clearly."

"And I need to get back to it."

Jill holds up one hand. "Hold on." She takes a sip of her coffee. "Why is your coffee always better than mine?"

"Because I made it. Anything we don't make ourselves is always better, remember?"

"Right. Listen, this is your afternoon reminder — we have group tonight, and you're leading. 7:00 p.m."

My shoulders droop.

"You'd forgotten, right? Or, better stated, you put it out of your mind."

"No." I pour myself a cup of the fresh French roast. "You know, this thing you do" — I motion between the two of us — "it's called codependency."

"It's called accountability."

"It's just ... Craig is working late, so I thought I would, too. This story" — I shake my head — "isn't going anywhere."

"He's working late again?"

I wave off her question.

"So come and brainstorm. We're the Deep Inkers. We'll energize you, stimulate your creativity. ... We'll work our writers' group magic. You know when you isolate yourself it dulls your vision. Anyway, you're leading — you have to come."

"Facilitating." I look at my neighbor and, next to Craig, the closest thing I have to a best friend, and I wish, as I often do, that I had just half her energy. Not only is she a sought-after freelance editor, but she also has three little ones to chase after. Somehow she accomplishes more in one day than I do in a week. Of course, I remind myself again, she's also twelve years younger. "Since you're reminding me, remind me where we're meeting."

"My place."

"Where are the kidlets?"

She takes a deep breath. "The kids are with Marcos's parents for the afternoon and evening. Marcos took the afternoon off and is there with them." She glances at her watch. "I have a cobbler in the oven." She goes to the sink, dumps the rest of her coffee, and then rinses her cup. After she rinses it, she reaches under my sink for the dish soap, thoroughly washes the mug, and then opens the dishwasher and sets the overturned mug on the top rack. Then she goes back to the sink and washes her hands, using the same antibacterial dish soap. She puts the soap back under the sink.

I watch her routine, mentally calling her plays like a sportscaster, but I know better than to say anything. We all have our quirks.

She turns to go. "See you at seven?"

I follow her through the laundry room to the back door. "What kind of cobbler?"

"Peach."

"I'll be there."


* * *

I toss my robe on the bathroom counter, peel off my black satin nightgown and pajama bottoms, and then reach into the shower to test the water. Shivering, I wait for the hot water to make its way to the upstairs master bath. Where's a hot flash when you need one? I turn toward the mirror and startle at the image reflected back to me. I run my fingers across the pooch of my abdomen mapped with stretch marks. Having had children might make the marks worthwhile, but mine only remind me of the multiple pounds gained and lost over the last few decades. I turn to the side to view my profile and then lift my sagging breasts. It's evident I need more than wrinkle cream or Botox can offer. A silver landing strip has appeared atop my head since just yesterday, highlighting my once-natural, now bottled, ash-blond tone. Who am I kidding? My ash-blond is almost platinum now. Every time I've seen my stylist in the last year, she's dyed my hair a shade lighter so the gray roots show less, but they only hide for so long.

Is it any wonder Craig doesn't want to come home or falls asleep on me when he is here?

With steam collecting on the mirror and obscuring my reflection, I turn away and step into the retreat of the warm shower, grateful for an excuse to take a break from my manuscript. With hot water pelting my back, the tension in my neck and shoulders eases. But just as I begin to relax, an annoying question poses itself: What does Serena Buchanan look like?

I close my eyes and turn my face to the spray of water, considering the question for a moment. Then I file it in a thick folder titled Things to Think About Later and stuff it into a dusty cabinet somewhere in the back of my mind.


* * *

I was five years old the first time I lost myself in a maze of words printed on a page. Or maybe I found myself there. As I sounded out the words, a new world came to life. The beat of my heart quickened as I ran with Dick and Jane. The sweet scent of freshly cut grass swirled as we yelled, "Go, Spot, go." Jane and Sally became the sisters I never had, and Spot was the dog I'd longed for. With head bent over that first book, my imagination filled in the details between the lines. Or maybe the lines blurred the details of my reality. Either way, as a child, books became my savior.

Books filled the empty space.

Stories set the stage for something more.

And later, writing became my religion.

I began writing during the years we were working to conceive. And it was work. I charted my basal body temperature each morning and wooed Craig home from the jobsite each time I ovulated. And every month, the cramping of my uterus reminded me of my failure. After two years of trying, we succumbed to testing and discovered I was the problem. I was unable to conceive.

Craig said he didn't blame me, but I blamed myself. What was wrong with me that I couldn't fulfill the most primal act of womanhood? I straddled the chasm of grief and self-loathing.

Then I buried my failure under a pile of words.

In a way, books saved me. Again.

A year after I gave up on pregnancy, my debut novel was born.

Now we're godparents to Jill and Marcos's brood. If anything ever happened to them ... I shudder at the thought. Those tykes would run us into the ground.


* * *

After showering and dressing, I return to my desk and take stock. My word count for the day thus far is a paltry 453 words. This, my sixteenth novel, may be my undoing. I click my calendar icon and count the number of days between now, August 8, and October 1, my deadline. I divide the number of words still needed for the manuscript, approximately 78,000, by the number of days, and come up with the daily average I need to write: 1,472 words. That's doable. Although, I didn't account for weekends, unforeseen circumstances, or days like today, when the words refuse to show themselves on the screen.

I have three hours until our meeting. "All right, time to buckle down." I take a deep breath and read the last scene again. It's bad — so bad. I have no choice. I highlight the scene — approximately 2,000 words, including the 453 I wrote earlier — and press DELETE. For the next sixty minutes, I write and delete, write and delete, write and delete. By 6:00 p.m., I still have a negative word count for the day.

I get up from my desk, lift my arms to the ceiling, and bend at the waist, stretching my back. I grab my mug, go to the kitchen, and pour the last of the cold coffee from the pot, popping my mug into the microwave. In the forty-five seconds it takes my coffee to heat, it occurs to me what's wrong with the scene I'm trying to write. It needs to be told from another character's viewpoint. But whose? A male character's, maybe?

I wander back to my office and settle in my desk chair. If I add a male character, he could ask Chloe, my protagonist, pertinent questions and offer a different perspective. I lift the mug of hot coffee to my lips. He could give the reader the understanding they need of Chloe's struggle. My fingers twitch, anxious for their place on the keyboard. Once there, my pulse pounds. Caffeine? No. "It's creative energy, ol' girl, remember?" I open a new document and begin typing notes, considering plot points a new character might facilitate. I bullet point several ideas — just enough to remind me of the thoughts as they form. After several minutes, I lean back in my chair, read my notes, and smile.

I drop down a few spaces in my document, ready to create a persona. I stare at the monitor for a moment. "So, who are you?" I ask my unknown character, half expecting to hear him answer. Again, I bullet point information:

• Stature: 6'2" — 195 pounds — fit

• Hair: dark brown, cropped short


I think of Craig's hair — the way it's grayed at the temples this past year, giving him a distinguished, okay, even sexy George Cloony-ish look. Why is age so much kinder to men? I go back and add "graying at the temples" to my description.

• Eyes: hazel

• Age: 50-ish


I spend the next hour imagining, developing, creating Dr. Elliot Hammond, psychologist. After I have a solid physical composite, I make notes about his personality and emotions. I even go as far as assigning him a personality type based on the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator. Once that work is done, I open my Internet browser and do a search for the actor I had in mind when I listed Elliot's physical features — there are hundreds of pictures to choose from. I pick a close-up and print it. When I hear the printer stop, I get up, grab the photo, and pin it next to the pictures of the other characters gracing the bulletin board that hangs above my computer.

I stand back and stare at the photo. He seems almost familiar — like someone I've met or known. Something stirs within me, but I don't ponder the feeling long enough to name it. Instead, I smile.

It seems the new man in my life has inspired my creativity.


* * *

"How many words have you written?" Valerie, a nonfiction writer and the newest member of the Deep Inkers, asks.

I glance at Jill, the freelance editor whom the publisher has hired for my last three books — and for this one. I swallow. "Seventeen thousand-ish."

Quinn, a young blogger who never has to write more than five hundred words to complete a post, taps on her phone, pulling up what I fear is her beloved calculator app. "And your deadline is —"

I hold up one hand. "I know, I know, I know." I fire my declarations in rapid succession. Then I take a deep breath. "You don't need to remind me. I'm behind. I know."

"You haven't missed a deadline yet," Jill encourages. "We'll brainstorm with you."

"Okay" — I glance at my watch — "Quinn, keep track of the time for me, will you?"

Quinn nods and looks at the phone still in her hand. "And three, two, one, go." She points at me.

Because our group is small tonight, I have a full thirty minutes rather than the standard twenty minutes to discuss my project. "Okay, so the good news is that I created a new character this afternoon. A therapist — someone Chloe can talk to."

Valerie leans forward. "Why did she seek out a therapist? What's she working through?"

"Oh ..." I'd forgotten that Valerie is a therapist — a marriage and family counselor is what I think Jill told me when she mentioned Valerie joining the group. "Well, she's ... you know ..." I slump in my seat. "She's ... struggling. But Dr. Hammond — this character — he's good. He's going to be important."

"Mel ..."

Jill and Craig got together at some point, I'm certain, and designated my nickname as code for "confront her." I square my shoulders.

"Does this story line, a struggling protagonist seeing a therapist, fit your brand?"

I stare at Jill.

"It's a little deeper than —"

"She can make it humorous," Quinn interrupts.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Home by Ginny L. Yttrup. Copyright © 2017 Ginny L. Yttrup. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Home 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once I started, could not put this down! So many truths hidden in the words. Ginny has such a way of drawing the reader in, feeling such connection to the characters. Never disappointed! I want the Chloe story to be written and finished. Thankfully, she led it in a way I can finish it on my own. Always enjoy the quotes before the chapters! Can’t wait to read the next book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thank you! Even as the beginning chapters took a while to embrace, just like settling into a new house, it quickly became comfortable and then captivating. Quickly, I couldn't lay it down. Thank you for wonderful story...so well toId!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As Jill in your book I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. The shame I felt was overwhelming. However with the help of the medications I am on, I am able to carry on a normal life. I loved your book in so many ways. Thank you for offering it free of charge.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow! This is the first book that I have read by this author and I was blown away, mainly by the theme of dealing with loss through the inter-relationships of several characters. I could deeply relate to the feelings evoked while I was reading and would highly recommend this book to any reader. It will touch you in so many ways and allow you to identify your own losses, especially the ones that haven't been dealt with in the past which really rang some bells for me! This one is a "must read" in my opinion!
honeychile More than 1 year ago
This was a difficult read for me. There was just too much whirling and spinning between characters (real and imagined), plots, sub-plots, problems, and multiple foci that it was hard for me to determine exactly where the book was going. Even after completing the book, I cannot pinpoint the book's primary focus -- it spent time with grief, mental illness, counseling, marital fidelity, infertility, faith, and other topics without really weighing in on any of them. When my thought-processes become like this, my husband says, "honey, you're just thinking too much!" I felt Ms. Yttrup was just thinking too much. The book also collided with my personal conviction that a life of faith does not always include revelation of the "why" of things. No matter how much we think, pray, or plead, often we are not given the "why" and are required to go directly to the "how" of daily life, allowing God to lead us. In this book one of the male characters lived a life of faith, praying for his wife in the midst of confusion, but with that exception, other characters pursued and were allowed to find out the "why" of their situations. I assume that one of the author's goals was not to just to spin an interesting yarn, but to help others dealing with grief, mental illness, and so forth, and I'm not sure that was achieved despite the author's skilled writing and ability to keep many balls in the air. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a clean, well written book. Couldn't put it down!
Gayla_Mazzuca More than 1 year ago
I have never read anything from this author before, but I was pleasantly surprised. I liked the premise of the story and the author did a good job of making you feel what the characters, feel especially their emotions. Loss is terribly hard, no matter what the kind and how people deal with their losses are vastly different. While I haven’t had much loss in my life so far, it helped to understand what other people go through with their losses. I liked the fact that this book was faith based and used that faith throughout. I also liked that there were relationships that were dealt with honestly, not everything is roses all the time. I enjoyed this book and will read others from this author. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
RobbyeReviewer More than 1 year ago
Melanie Vander is doing what she does best, hiding. Hiding from pain, grief, her husband and most of all God. However, God doesn’t let her hide. Ginny Yttrup has written another stellar book about life. Her books tackle tough issues, and she doesn’t back down from hitting them head on. Home, written from the different perceptions and insights of the main characters introduces us to an intriguing cast, including Melanie’s fictional therapist, Dr. Hammond. Melanie is a novelist struggling to meet a deadline and writing a book she doesn’t want to write: it opens too many wounds. Craig, her husband, is overwhelmed by the recession eating away at his business and is too overcome by life to do much but watch his marriage seem to fall apart at the seams. However, God is working on each partner in ways neither can begin to fathom. I have read several of Ginny Yttrup’s books. They all deal with major, sometimes heartbreaking, true to life events. She doesn’t pull any punches and puts it out there for us, the readers, to read, absorb and learn from. Home is a book that may open wounds for some people and heal them for others. However, it is not a book that will leave you unmoved, and I believe it is not a book to be missed, either. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
"One way to describe it is a longing for home, though that's not quite accurate. The Welsh have a word for it: hiraeth. It's difficult to translate in English, but I've heard it described as a homesickness for a home you can't return to. Our a place that never was. I've come to acknowledge it in myself as a longing for God. 'Eternity set in the hearts of men,' as Solomon so eloquently wrote." I guess everyone has their own definition of what "home" really means. All I know is it is NOT confined to the walls of a brick and mortar building, but it is what is located in my heart. "It is either the sturdy foundation or the crumbling underpinnings a child is built upon." Home is in here. In our hearts, and time or distance have no bearing on it or cause us to lose our sense of where home really is. In Ginny L. Yttrup's latest novel, "Home," we get a sense of what it means for quite a few of her characters. For married couple Melanie and Craig, who have been married for twenty-three years are struggling to come to terms with where their future might be headed. After learning that they can't have children, they have both faced their own uncertainties. Craig is a home builder struggling to manage both his business and home with the rising financial downturns of the local economy. All he knows is that he has to come clean with Melanie that they might have to sell their custom built home and cut spending until things pick up. He feels at fault for not providing for their family. Melanie, a successful author now on her sixteenth novel, but is now wondering if she has more creativity left to inspire her to her looming deadline with her publisher. She wants to contribute to the finances, but if she can't complete this novel, they will have to look at selling their dream home. Their neighbors Marcos and Jill are facing their own struggles as well. For Jill it is dealing with her OCD behaviors that are beginning to impact her way of life and the way she relates to her family. She believes it has to do with a recurring nightmare that she is putting together bits and pieces of things that don't make sense to her. When she tries to explain it to her mother, she is dismissed. However it is possible these aren't nightmares but repressed memories? All she knows is that if she doesn't get help soon, she will come unglued and possibly hurt herself or her family without meaning to. Her only ally is her best friend Melanie, but even they are dealing with their own issues and now that Melanie has taken a trip away to a lakeside home to finish her novel, is it possible it is the end of her marriage as well to Craig? I received Home by Ginny L. Yttrup compliments of Barbour Publishing and Net Galley. This novel really hit home for me after a particular rough Mother's Day and found myself questioning whether I made a difference in the lives of our family. I can't believe how much I found myself relating to Melanie's character. Struggling to understand if she loved Craig as much as she should being married or it is possible they simply have grown apart. Is there a way to put things back together and see one another differently now that they're in different places in their personal and professional relationships. One thing is certain, temptation is just around the corner in places they least expected. Home is found in our hearts! Everything else is simply temporary. We are all created to live life to the full, and we can only do that if we're willing to fully
CT-Reader More than 1 year ago
This is a lovely and touching story and one of redemption and hope. It's written in first person (with three first-person characters narrating the story) but it does work in this book to help the reader to truly understand each of the characters and their struggles. There are great truths shared in this book and hope and encouragement for those struggling with grief and other problems. It is a faith-based book with the element of trusting God woven in very nicely. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
BlessedX5 More than 1 year ago
Home is a touching book about an author and her husband who are struggling through some tough times in work and married life. I enjoyed that trust in God and letting go of control was a central theme in the story. I would recommend this book for those who struggle with grief or mental illness as well as for those who like books that center on the theme that God will provide. * I received a digital copy of this title from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
JLYoung More than 1 year ago
This book is real and raw and beautiful. It went where I never would have expected it to go. There's no predictability in this book which is fantastic! Love how the story within the story helps better understand the character writing it. The character development is great. Such depth. The characters are believable and feel things that everyone would feel. I loved how they all dealt with their emotions and many went through the stages of grief in their own way. The beginning of the book was a little bit of a struggle but stick with it and you'll be happy you did. The timeline was confusing when switching between character's point of view. At first this was really obvious but as the book progressed the chapter separations by character overlapped (in terms of parallel concurrent timing) a little less so the flow was better. Overall the book was great. I could see myself in the characters and the topics covered were ones I deal with myself. This book led to a lot of self exploration in ways similar to the characters in the book. I love when a fictional book has this sort of effect on me as a reader. It makes fiction seem more like nonfiction! I received a hard copy of this book from Goodreads giveaways and a digital copy from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
PS4610 More than 1 year ago
Wow! I really enjoyed this book! The author pulled me into the story right away, and I had a hard time putting the book down. The quotes at the beginning of each chapter were quite thought-provoking, and I liked how the chapters were written from different characters' perspectives so you could get a picture of how one person's actions affect others. There was a lot of emotional depth to the storylines, and I think most people can empathize with the struggle of going through difficult trials. The author imparted powerful messages about guarding your thoughts, accountability, grieving, and surrendering to God. I was challenged to remain present and fully participate in life. This was the first book I've read by this author, but I look forward to reading more of her books. (I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.)
PamMooney More than 1 year ago
A wonderful story of love, faith and friendship.   I loved the support from old and new friends as the each couples address personal difficulties within their family and marriages.   The characters were very relatable and easily could be a neighbor or someone you meet at the local grocer.  I also very much admired the writers group how the group pulls together to offer help that goes well beyond the written word. My very favorite was the way the book ended with the story of the bench.  It really touched my heart.
MrsFordy More than 1 year ago
I tried hard to get into this book, and I just couldn't. The idea sounded really promising, but something about the author's writing style really made it hard for me to sink in. I appreciate good adjectives and descriptions, but it just came off as clunky for me. The Spanish dialogue also reads as inauthentic...helpful for a non native speaker, but being of Latin heritage myself growing up in a bilingual home, my parents certainly didn't converse like this. I may try to give the book a third try, but I'm finding it hard to understand/like the characters I'm reading about, even as told in first person by three different narrative voices. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
LBCLBCreader More than 1 year ago
Do we live in reality or a life that seems "greener"? Does our "thinker" lie to us? Live is tough, what's wrong with living in a "dream world"????!!!!! Sometimes it's beneficial to exam that different world but eventually we have to face reality!! We have to invest in our lives, marriages! Great read!! ***I received a copy of this book from the publisher but was under no obligation for a review.
catangel2 More than 1 year ago
This book is centered around 3 people and the problems they are facing. As the story develops, the author shows us how emotions such as grief, hurts and disappointments can destroy relationships and people if they are not dealt with. I loved the way she wrote a story within a story - one of the characters is an author facing a deadline on her next book and we read that story as well. Ms. Yttrup once again encourages us to develop a deeper relationship with God and shows us through her characters that when we learn to lean on God, He will make everything - even tragedy and great loss - into something beautiful. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
This is the type of book that you aren't sure whether you will like or not but I loved this. It is a story of two couples that are struggling in their marriages with different types of problems. They learn what home really is. I loved Melanie and Craig and Jill and Marcos. Through a few trials they learn why they are struggling. I received a copy of this book from Barbour Publishing for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
ARS8 More than 1 year ago
Home was a book that was a pretty gripping story of grief, temptation, illness, and what keeping secrets can do to a family. Mostly though this was a story about grief, all kinds, and how we need to face it, a human emotion and a necessary next step in the moving on of our lives. Whether it is a loss of a loved one, dream, career, or financial security grief must be faced head on. We as human beings need to go through the stages no matter how painful. The author masterfully told this story through three different viewpoints; Melanie the author, her husband Craig, and her best friend and next door neighbor, Jill. We are also given two of the characters viewpoints in the novel that Melanie is writing. All of these characters felt like they were my friends too. This story made me think and brought tears to my eyes, but in no way is it depressing. This is my very first book Ms. Yttrup, and her writing this story in the way she did simply moved me. It was lovely and a soul stirring novel not to be missed. I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and the views and opinions expressed are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story deals with real life issues such as marriage, lies, withdrawing, emotional and mental confusion. It went back and forth between characters. Because it portrayed very real life problems, I found it disturbing rather than entertaining. When I read, I look for a happier, lighter subject, a bit entertaining and fun instead. Written well and I'm sure others will love this book. I just had a hard time getting into it.
Sylvia17 More than 1 year ago
I struggled to get through this book. While the author is clearly a talented writer, and there are a few nuggets of wisdom buried inside, this was not a favorite read for me. The story attempts to deal with real life issues (marriage, lies, withdrawing, emotional and mental confusion, etc.) which I expected from the description of the book, but I almost felt like this was two different stories. Melanie’s best friend gets as many pages if not more than the heroin and her husband. While the friendship becomes a valuable part of them, I felt like Jill should have had her own story. The constant story hopping among three characters POV repeatedly took me out of the tale, and left me wondering where we were chronologically. While there are issue inside readers may relate to, I would have a difficult time pointing to this book as a good source for dealing with them. I might not even recommend this as an enjoyable fiction piece. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
DKStevens119 More than 1 year ago
This story takes us into the thoughts and actions of Melanie and each of those closest to her. Kind of like a daily journal of various people with Melanie and her husband as the main topics. It focuses on how we may appear to have it together, but in our heads we are avoiding dealing with our problems.. This was an interesting story of Melanie Vander, a novelist and those closest to her. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. But I loved this book! The characters are so real and the story draws you in! I identified with Jill and Melanie's characters so much. Loved when Valerie explained what home means and to live in the moment. Will definitely be reading more by this author.
StephieJ More than 1 year ago
This is the first book that I have read by this author. I really enjoyed reading this book. Melanie is a writer and she uses it to escape life at times. Her husband, Craig is busy with work and dealing with the recession that is affecting his business. The characters were realistic and I could really relate to them as life can be hard and difficult. The author's writing was excellent and the book kept you interested from the first page. I really enjoyed this story. I highly recommend it. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
MelissaGH More than 1 year ago
Life seems so complicated for Melanie and her husband Craig. Too many obstacles facing both of them, including the completion of her latest novel. This is a story about people making choices that could affect the rest of their lives. Very interesting story. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.