Minor-but-nagging setbacks continue to sour Grant and Audrey Whitman’s initiation into the world of innkeeping, but larger challenges brew when an innocent flirtation leads to big trouble for the Whitmans’ son-in-law, Jesse.
Jesse Pennington’s friendly, outgoing personality has always served him well, especially in a career that has earned him and his wife Corinne a very comfortable lifestyle. But Corinne and Jesse are both restless—and for similar reasons, if only they could share those with each other. Instead, too many business trips and trumped-up charges of harassment from a disgruntled coworker threaten their marriage and possibly put their three precious daughters at risk.
With their life in disarray, God is tugging at their hearts to pursue other dreams. Can Corinne and Jesse pick up the pieces of what was once a wonderful life before it all crumbles beneath them?
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Two Roads Home
By Deborah Raney
Abingdon PressCopyright © 2015 Deborah Raney
All rights reserved.
Mom, can you get the door behind me?" Corinne Pennington hiked her oversized purse—the one that doubled as a diaper bag—on her shoulder and stooped to pick up Simone. The toddler popped a thumb in her mouth and clung to Corinne like Velcro.
"Listen, baby girl, you should be over the Terrible Twos by now, so sweeten up, okay?"
Simone popped her thumb right back out of her mouth and answered with an ear-piercing wail.
"Sadie?" Corinne called to her dawdling four-year-old. "Come on ... Hurry up."
"Wait, Mama. I gotta go tell Huckleberry g'bye."
"No, sweetie." Corinne's mother came to the rescue, taking Sadie firmly by the shoulders and turning her toward the door. "You already told Huck good-bye. You do what your mama says now."
"Get in the car, Sadie, we're going to be late picking up your sister." Corinne gave her mother a grateful look and waved a free elbow. "I'll see you Sunday."
"Okay. And you'll let Landyn and Chase know about Sunday dinner?"
"I will. Tell Dad I'm sorry I missed him."
"Will do. And you tell Jesse hello when you talk to him."
"Sure. Come on, Sadie, hustle up!" Corinne herded her entourage down the wide steps of the house she'd grown up in.
"How's come Sari got to go to skating and I didn't?"
"Because it was her friend's birthday party, and you weren't invited."
Wrong thing to say. Sadie pasted on a pout and stomped her Croc-clad foot.
"You'll get to go another time."
Corinne's mom stood waving at the door, looking just a little too happy to see them go.
Well, who could blame her? The girls had been brats all morning—all week really. Ever since Jesse had left for his second consecutive week in Chicago. Her husband worked hard as a sales manager at Preston-Brilon Manufacturing just outside Cape Girardeau. The company made high-end industrial vacuum sweepers, and despite the inevitable jokes about him being a vacuum cleaner salesman, Jesse made good money. She was lucky—blessed—that she got to stay home with the kids. But she wasn't sure how many more of these business trips she could survive. It was hard being a single parent, even if it was just for a week or two.
She buckled the girls into their car seats, closed the door of the SUV, then turned and promptly tripped over Huckleberry.
"Huck! Get! Get out of the way." Stupid dog.
The chocolate Lab panted up at her like she'd just offered him a T-bone.
"Get back on the porch, boy."
Huck pranced backward, then looked up at her, testing to see if she really meant it.
"Go, Huck. Now."
Huckleberry trotted back to the wide front porch and plopped down beside an urn of freshly potted red geraniums, watching her with mopey eyes. It made an idyllic picture. The Chicory Inn, her parents' empty nest project, looked beautiful in the waning May sunshine. Mom and Dad had done wonders with the remodel of the house her grandparents had built almost one hundred years ago.
This was the only home she'd known for the first eighteen years of her life. But sometimes she missed the place she remembered—the spacious, creaky house where the cupboards wore chipped paint, the heavy doors sometimes stuck, and the floors boasted shag carpet in garish shades of orange and blue.
But it had been almost a decade since she'd lived here—not counting summers after she'd left for college—and she couldn't begrudge her parents' right to bring the house into modern times, and even to make a business of it by opening the Chicory Inn.
And she had to admit they'd done the house proud. New cream-painted woodwork and wainscoting, refinished original hardwood floors, and bright contemporary rugs, curtains, and paintings gave the century-old house an elegant, yet still cozy vibe. At first, she'd had trouble making the rather trendy style fit her very traditional mother. But seeing Mom in her element, entertaining guests and cooking in the new state-of-the-art kitchen, she couldn't help but be happy for her.
And maybe a wee bit jealous. Not that she had any reason to be. Three years ago, she and Jesse had built a beautiful new home in Cape Girardeau just a few miles up the road. And as much as she loved the charm and history of an older home in the country, she appreciated living near every convenience, in a house where everything was brand new, where she'd had a say in every inch of the design, and where nothing would need repairing for many years to come.
Corinne climbed into the SUV and sighed. She didn't know why she was worrying about houses, since it seemed as if she spent half her life in this vehicle. Checking on her daughters in the rearview mirror, she started down the long driveway that led out to Chicory Lane, the country road that was the inn's namesake.
She flipped on the AC and adjusted the vents. The interior was like a sauna. She checked the dashboard. Why was it taking so long for the seat coolers to kick in?
Her mother had been a little short-tempered with the girls today—and with her. Yes, there was a full slate of guests scheduled at the inn this weekend, but Audrey Whitman had always claimed the inn would never come before her kids or grandkids. Lately, it seemed like that was exactly what was happening.
Oh, the girls thought their Gram hung the moon. And Corinne knew Mom adored her daughters—she'd practically bought out the Baby Boutique in Cape Girardeau when Sari was born—and she doted on all three of them. Though now that Chase and Landyn's twins had arrived, they seemed to get the lion's share of both Gram's and Poppa's attention. But then her sister had always been the spoiled baby of the family. Nothing had changed there. Corinne was used to that and prided herself on being more independent as the oldest. Still—
Oh, waah waah waah,Pennington. Grow up. She was being over-sensitive. Still, it would be nice if once in a while—
Her cell phone trilled from her purse. Keeping her eyes on the road, she snuck a glance at the Bluetooth screen on the dashboard. She didn't recognize the number, but with Jesse out of town, she hated to ignore it.
She clicked Accept Call. "Hello?"
"Hey, Mrs. Pennington, this is Michaela Creeve. I work with Jesse."
For the space of a heartbeat she stopped breathing. Had something happened to him?
"Jesse wanted me to let you know that our flight has been delayed."
"We're not sure by how much, but we'll let you know as soon as they announce anything."
"Um ... okay. Thank you."
What? She stared at the display on the dashboard. Jesse couldn't call her himself? Now he was communicating with her through his staff? She'd never met Michaela, but she instantly disliked the perkiness in the woman's voice.
"Could you put Jesse on for a minute, please?"
"Well, he's ... Just a minute. I'll see if he can come to the phone."
A flash of heat went through her and she gripped the steering wheel harder. How dare she screen Jesse's calls! Corinne bit the inside of her cheek, knowing she'd be sorry if she said what she was thinking.
She heard the feminine voice in the background, and then Jesse's familiar deep timbre. But it was Michaela who came back on the line. "Mrs. Pennington, Jesse's on the phone with a client right now."
"Oh ..." So he was "Jesse" but she was "Mrs. Pennington"? She felt her arteries hardening by the minute. "Well, I guess—"
"Oh ... Hang on. They just announced our flight." A pregnant pause. "It looks like it gets in around ten. Into St. Louis, not Cape. Jesse says we'll rent a car from there, but it'll probably be after midnight by the time we get home."
Corinne wracked her brain to remember who else had made the trip with Jesse this time. Usually Wayne from the Cape office went, but she didn't remember Jesse mentioning him. Probably too busy flirting with Miss Perky—
"Shh ... I'm on the phone, Sadie."
"Why are we goin' so slow? I thought we were in a hurry."
She glanced at the speedometer and pressed the accelerator. She shushed her daughter again, then saw that Simone had fallen asleep in the car seat. Great. There went the afternoon nap ... her only time to get a break.
"Oh—I've got to run, Mrs. Pennington, but just wanted to get that message to you."
"Yes. Thank you, Michaela—" But the girl had hung up.
* * *
Audrey pulled a ginger pear torte from the oven and set it on the counter to cool. The spicy fragrance filled the house, mingling pleasantly with the Mozart concerto wafting from the CD player. She smiled, imagining what their current guest's reaction would be. It was a bit intimidating to have a professional chef as a guest, but she was pretty sure she'd hit a home run with this new recipe—thanks to the gift of some perfect Harry &&&; David pears from a guest who'd stayed with them for a full two weeks last month.
"Something smells good." Grant came in from the side porch, brushing his hands together.
"Grant! Honey, I just swept that floor." She rolled her eyes and tossed him a damp rag.
"What? My hands are clean."
"Then why were you brushing them off, and why did I see dust falling from them? And debris."
He chuckled. "A little dust maybe, but I assure you there was no debris." But he knelt and gave a half-hearted swipe of the rag over the smooth, wide planks.
She let it go. "Corinne said to tell you hi."
"Oh. Sorry I missed her. I think it's been two weeks since I've talked to her more than waving as she pulls out of the drive. How's everything going in their neck of the woods?"
"Okay ... I guess."
He studied her, a frown creasing his brow. "What's going on?"
She reached to turn down the CD player, then opened the cupboard and retrieved the powdered sugar. "Probably nothing. I just—" She sifted sugar liberally over the still-warm torte, trying to decide how much to say to Grant. She didn't want to get him worried over nothing. "I just think Corinne is getting tired of Jesse's traveling, that's all."
"Why? Did she say something?"
"It's more what she doesn't say."
"And what doesn't she say?"
Grant hated her putting words in people's mouths. She quickly edited herself. "Maybe it's more just her attitude. She just seems—tired. And maybe a little depressed."
He frowned. "That's not like our girl."
"I know. That's what worries me."
"Well, hopefully Jesse won't be traveling forever. But Corinne can't complain about his income."
She sighed. "She does like the finer things in life. Always has."
"As does her mother." He reached for a pear slice at the edge of the springform pan.
Audrey slapped his hand away. "Huh-uh. Don't you dare ruin my presentation."
"I thought you were presenting it—to the man you supposedly love." He batted sad puppy-dog eyes at her.
She laughed. "I'm presenting it to the chef who is currently our guest. Once he's seen and tasted it, you can have at it—my love." She planted a kiss on his cheek.
Frowning, Grant glanced toward the staircase that led to the guest rooms on the second floor. "Where is His Royal Highness?"
She shushed him, even though she knew Chef Jared Filmore hadn't returned for the day from the conference in Cape, where he was presenting. "He promised he'd be back around seven."
"I say don't ever trust a skinny chef." Grant reached for the slice of pear again with the same result. "Ouch."
"Sorry, but you knew better."
He rubbed his hand. "Fine, then. What's for supper."
She thought fast. "Tell you what ... If you'll eat that leftover pizza, I'll do a pre-sliced presentation of the torte and you can have a piece now."
"Deal!" His delighted grin made him look ten years younger than his almost sixty. Even after thirty-five years, she loved this man so much it hurt.
But his offhand remark about her liking the finer things in life—and the tone he'd used—stung a little. She tucked it away to examine later. Right now, she had a world-class chef to impress.CHAPTER 2
How'd you talk Chase into letting you come?" Corinne stirred her decaf and leaned back in her chair, pushing down her guilt over leaving the girls with a sitter on a Thursday night while she had dessert and coffee with her sisters.
"Corinne. Please." Landyn hung her head dramatically. "Chase doesn't let me do anything."
Corinne laughed. "Let me rephrase that. How did you talk Chase into babysitting."
"Really? You call it babysitting when the father of your children takes care of them?"
"Oh, good grief, Landyn. Get off your high horse." Danae rolled her eyes and gave a short laugh.
But Corinne thought her words held a bite. "Babysitting? Hmm ..." She tried to diffuse the tension. "Actually, I don't have a clue what I call it because it never happens." She immediately felt guilty. Jesse worked hard so she could stay home with their kids. That had been her dream for as long as she could remember.
"How long has he been gone this time?" She could read Danae's expression even in the dimly lit restaurant. And she didn't like the judgment she saw there.
She picked up her empty coffee cup and bought some time pretending to take a sip. "Only four days this week. But he was gone a full week earlier this month. It's getting old."
"Does he have a choice?" Landyn asked. "Couldn't he just tell them he'll only travel once a month? They surely understand that he has a family. I know Chase would never be gone from the babies for more than a night or two."
Danae looked away and Corinne could almost see the longing in her eyes. She and Dallas had been trying for a baby for at least two years—maybe longer. Corinne cleared her throat and tried to give her youngest sister a warning look. Landyn could be so clueless sometimes. She and Chase both worked freelance and made their own hours. Corinne envied them a little. Though not the part where they were up at three in the morning feeding twins. But the Spencers had lived and worked in New York as newlyweds, and now they'd fixed up a cute little loft apartment where Chase had an art studio. Landyn had taken on several marketing projects before the babies came, but now she was pretty much a stay-at-home mom, too, though Corinne couldn't see her staying home full-time for long.
"So who has your kids tonight, Corinne?" Danae licked her finger and retrieved the last crumbs from her dessert plate.
"A girl from our church. She's only thirteen, but I'm telling you, if you don't get them before they're old enough to date, you'd never get a sitter."
"Tell me about it," Landyn said. "What's your girl's name?"
"Huh-uh," Corinne said, laughing. "Don't think I'm going to let you steal her when I just got her broken in."
Landyn affected a pout. "Some sister you are."
Danae pushed her plate to the center of the table, looking bored with the conversation, but Corinne knew it was more than that. Her poor sister. Danae had confided with her a few weeks ago that she was beginning to worry might never be able to become pregnant. It hadn't helped when Landyn popped out twins barely a year after she got married. Unplanned—and at first, unwanted—twins.
Corinne cast about the room, looking for something to change the subject. Jesse's ringtone pealed before she could think of a new topic. She held up a hand and slid her chair back. "It's Jesse. I'm going to take this outside. Don't let them take my coffee."
She pressed Answer as she made her way to the front entrance. "Hang on, babe." She didn't want to lie, but neither did she want to admit to her husband that she'd left the kids with a sitter. Not that he would care about her getting away with her sisters, but he wouldn't be too happy about her spending the extra money he was making on what he viewed as a luxury. Well, it was cheaper than psychiatric help, which was what she'd need if she didn't get out without the girls once in a while.
"Hey, you there?" Jesse sounded impatient.
She stepped outside and moved to the side of the door, turning away from the chill breeze that came off the Mississippi just two blocks behind the restaurant. "I'm here. How are you?"
A fishy odor laced with whiffs of diesel fuel wafted up from the river, and a low horn from a barge threatened to give away her location.
Excerpted from Two Roads Home by Deborah Raney. Copyright © 2015 Deborah Raney. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
What did I think about the story: I thought this was a nice romance book to read. It would make a good book to take to the beach or to sit down and read on a rainy day. The character development was very good, I felt as if I really knew the people in the story by the time I got to the end of the book. The author also did a good job in describing the setting of this story and the scenes were vivid so you felt as if you were a part of it. In this story you will read about ups and downs in the characters lives. I like how she made their story mimic real life. I am looking forward to more books by this author. What did I think of the cover: I really liked the cover of this book. This looks like a place that I would love to sit down with a good book just like this one to read on a nice day. It did not give any clues to the story but that is ok with me.
I really enjoyed this story. Jesse and Corinne struggle with a lifestyle that affords them material luxuries, but it is beginning to come at a cost of their personal happiness. I loved that when they were at odds with each other, they worked out their issues rather than walking away from each other. Full review at my website.
I have been reading Deborah Raney's books since A Vow to Cherish in 1996. I still have that copy of the book, too! Her writing never gets old, never feels out of date. Just plain good writing, if you ask me. Two Roads Home is book two in the Chicory Inn series and features the life of Corrine, Audrey and Grant Whitman's daughter, and her husband, Jesse Pennington. Jesse travels a lot for work and his female co-worker, has developed an infatuation with him. The situation escalates and threatens to ruin their lives, even causing danger to their three daughters. Jesse and Corinne live a good life in a great neighborhood, but circumstances quickly become such that they may have to change many things about that life. Maybe even live out a long and never thought could happen dream. God always has a plan for His children. They don't always happen when we think they should and sometimes we don't even believe they ever will happen. This book shows us that even circumstances that look overwhelming and insurmountable can turn out for our good in the end if we will only trust God with them and not try to work things out for ourselves. Everything that looks bad is not always bad and everything that is good is not always best. Deborah Raney is one of my all time favorite authors in the world! She always writes a fresh story, a novel rich and full of characters that the reader can identify with. I heard there are 3 more books in this series and I'm looking forward very much to them all! *I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher. I was not prompted to give a favorable review and my opinions are honest and my own.
TWO ROADS HOME is the second Chicory Inn novel by Deb Raney. I confess that I have not read the first, but this easily succeeds as a stand-alone book. I grew interested enough in the multi-generational Whitman family, their three married daughters, and the struggling Chicory Inn that I may read the first and succeeding books. This story focuses on daughter Corinne and her husband Jesse and the difficult decisions they need to make when Jesse is unfairly accused of sexual harassment at work. Author Raney has used the turmoil of this accusation to shed a light on that too common worldly battle between having having too much --- too much stuff, too many obligations, too many worries and having too little --- too little time with one's family, too little peace, too little satisfaction from one's job. I totally understand the heartache Corinne feels when she believes she will need to give up the dream home and the stay-at-home lifestyle she's enjoyed. Their decisions and her acceptance reminds me of some of the young mom lifestyle blogs I occasionally read. I love those real women's enthusiasm and their determination to make their lives joyful and beautiful without overloading on possessions and debt. I am sure those young moms would find plenty to connect with in this story. As I said, I did enjoy Corinne's story, I found myself extremely interested in the parts of the book that focused on Audrey and Grant, Corinne's parents. Being a grandparent with adult children and grandkiddos nearby, I totally related to Audrey's love for the grandchildren at the same time she was anxious about the messes they might leave, especially when the inn was busy with guests. One of the most humorous scenes of the book revolves around Audrey's reaction to a middle-of-the night fiasco when Corinne's family is staying at the inn. Being part of a series, TWO ROADS HOME does leave readers with a clear idea of where the next story will pick up, but even with that, I felt the major conflict of this novel ended a bit abruptly and not totally resolved. But then real life is like that! I received a copy of this novel from Litfuse for my honest opinion.
Spectacular! Two Roads Home: A Chicory Inn Novel (Book 2), By: Deborah Raney This was such a spectacular book to read! I was captured from the very beginning. There are so many twists, turns, and unexpected things that happen throughout this book. Deborah Raney delivers some of her best writing works yet. She brought the characters to life for me in this wonderful story. A story of faith, love, devotion and acceptance. The trials of everyday life marriage and raising a family. Dealing with unexpected things that seem to come from nowhere. This book is an excellent read I highly recommend this book! 5 stars!
Deborah Raney in her new book, “Two Roads Home” Book Two in the Chicory Inn series published by Abingdon Press brings us into the lives of Jesse and Corinne Pennington. From the back cover: What if it’s too late for dreams to come true? Minor-but-nagging setbacks continue to sour Grant and Audrey Whitman s initiation into the world of innkeeping, but larger challenges brew when an innocent flirtation leads to big trouble for the Whitmans son-in-law, Jesse. Jesse Pennington s friendly, outgoing personality has always served him well, especially in a career that has earned him and his wife Corinne a very comfortable lifestyle. But Corinne and Jesse are both restless and for similar reasons, if only they could share those with each other. Instead, too many business trips and trumped-up charges of harassment from a disgruntled coworker threaten their marriage and possibly put their three precious daughters at risk. With their life in disarray, God is tugging at their hearts to pursue other dreams. Can Corinne and Jesse pick up the pieces of what was once a wonderful life before it all crumbles beneath them? Welcome back to The Chicory Inn my favorite Bed and Breakfast. If you are going to stay somewhere this is the Bed and Breakfast to stay in. This time the focus is on Jesse and Corinne. They had a wonderful marriage but it seems it be tarnishing. If they do not do something about it there is the possibility that it might just fall apart on them. Ms. Raney knows about family, the good and the bad, and she knows how to explore all the little details that make this book so much fun to read. Jesse and Corinne are very likable and we feel that we are living the moments with them. We root for them to win. Ms. Raney has delivered another winner. And I am looking forward to the next book in this series. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Two Roads Home is an engaging story! With great characterization, vivid imagery, and a realistic story line, Deborah Raney brings Jesse and Corinne Pennington’s story to life. Real-life issues and experiences are shared, and spiritual elements are beautifully woven through this narrative. I really enjoy family dramas and this one has me rooting for the Whitman family and eager for more! One of my favorite things about a book series is the feeling of really knowing the characters and becoming invested in their stories. I have not read Book 1, Home to Chicory Lane, so I was a bit concerned about starting this series with the second book. However, I had no problem following the story line or understanding the family dynamics. I look forward to reading Book 1, as well as the forthcoming novels in the Chicory Inn series. I received a complimentary copy of Two Roads Home through Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review. I appreciate the opportunity to read this story and share my honest opinion.
A feeling of happiness and great satisfaction was mine, after finishing Two Roads Home. This story drew me in to the nitty-gritty of a family held hostage by unseen, but real sources of evil in our modern society—jealousy, greed, and lust. Yet, I was charmed by the love and bonds of family and individual struggles to do the right thing—to take the high road. I think women of all ages will be able to identify with the characters—both primary and secondary. Issues of finance, unfaithfulness, parenting, dashed hopes, marriage conflicts, and starting over are just a few the reader will encounter. This is a fast moving, but well developed story. I recommend Two Roads Home to everyone who enjoys contemporary fiction.
"We'll need to meet with HR and with Michaela. See if we can iron things out, I need you to think this through though. Is there anything else we should know? We don't want her springing something on us unaware." He blew out a breath and raked a hand through his hair. "I guess you should know that I talked to her on Wednesday. She'd called my cell phone Tuesday night, and I just wanted to establish that I didn't appreciate getting calls after work hours." "She called you at home? Where did the conversation take place? Wednesday, I mean." "I tried to meet with her in one of the conference rooms but they were all in use, so we talked in my office." "Please tell me you left your office door open." " Of course. But the conversation did not go well. She implied that I'd made advances toward her, and she accused Corinne of being responsible for me ending things with her, which is ridiculous because there was absolutely nothing to end." "Ah...Well, that makes sense. Hell hath no fury and all that." Like a woman scorned. He'd never once thought that old adage would have any place in his life. Adrenaline pumped through his veins as the realization dawned: he would have to tell Corinne everything. Whether it ever became public or not, he didn't want a secret like that between them. And he knew how she'd feel when she discovered he hadn't told her anything that led up to this nightmare. Shocked. Betrayed. Suspicious. The same as he would have felt if the tables were turned." (pg 62). In Deborah Raney's latest novel, Two Roads Home, the second in the Chicory Inn Series, we find Corinne and Jesse Pennington, coming to terms with the long hours that Jesse has had to work traveling for his job, leaving Corinne at home trying to handle three kids as if she were a single mom. It has created a gap that has drove a wedge of sorts between them and now it seems that Jesse's nature to be easy going and friendly was perceived by Michaela, his coworker as something more. They will now face a battle on two fronts, one dealing with the legal implications of a possible sexual harassment suit against Jesse, and the suspicions that Corinne has about the innocent working relationship and the long hours away from home. Will they have what it takes to succeed at winning both battles, the one for Jesse' job and their marriage? I received Two Roads Home by Deborah Raney compliments of Abingdon Press and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review aside from a free copy of this novel and the opinions contained here are strictly my own. This has got to be every married couples worst nightmare. To wonder if your spouse is having an affair at work, especially when faced with long hours at the job and less than favorable conditions at home. To top if off dealing with the implications of a sexual harassment lawsuit at work, when your spouse tries to keep work boundaries intact. I cringed as I felt myself quite literally in Corinne's shoes because I watched it happen in my own life, and no matter how many times you try to convince yourself nothing is happening, you can't avoid those nagging feelings in the back of your mind. I absolutely LOVE this series and Deborah Raney definitely gets to the heart of these matters in every one she adds to the series. It's the very reason why I don't have to read the premise of what her novels with involve, because I know I will already LOVE them. Another winner for me with an astounding 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion. Readers are in for a surprise by getting a sneak peek at Another Way Home coming soon in this series!
One strength of family sagas like this one by Deborah Raney is the chance to zoom in on one family within the family while still catching up with characters we met before. Two Roads Home shows us Corinne and Jesse Pennington, who are living the dream. Sort of. (Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book through Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my review.) With three girls and a beautiful house, Corinne is satisfied with her life as a stay-at-home mom, even as chaotic as it can be. Jesse has a good job that provides for his family, but he's been harboring a dream and he's afraid to tell his wife because it will mean drastic change. Then he's hit with harassment charges by a co-worker with a grudge, and the Penningtons are forced to act to save their family and protect their daughters. Meanwhile, parents Grant and Audrey Whitman face trials with the inn they've dreamed of operating. With an empty nest, they, too, are living a dream, but wrestle with maintaining a balance between work and family. Two Roads Home is the second book in the Chicory Inn series. Reading the first, Home to Chicory Lane, would be helpful. I know you'll love the Whitman family with all their problems. Raney weaves real-life annoyances and major setbacks into these families' lives making them all the more real. (I'm not personally a fan of the TV show Parenthood, but I think if you liked that show, you'd like these books and this family.) This story in particular resonated in my life as the whole topic of dreams and major changes is one I've been thinking about. This quote stuck out: "There's never a perfect time for change. Sometimes you just have to do it." I look forward to the next installment of this family's drama and I'm so glad to have finally discovered Raney's writing.