"Entertains from beginning to end. . . . Clark is a superb storyteller" —The New York Times Book Review
“Brilliant, from the weekend idyll when a young Becky and William first fall in love to William's Libyan retreat ” —The Boston Globe
"Diamond-sharp social observations inspirit a literary romance. . . . Erudite evocations of time, people and place, all delivered in a dry, old-world voice." —Kirkus Reviews
“With great good humor and empathy, Nancy Clark creates a remarkable group of characters and conveys their real longing for home with all of its multiple meanings. . . . An exuberant romp.”—Roanoke Times
“Once again Clark demonstrates her consummate talent for yeasty prose that rises to every occasion . . . loaded with original takes on universal human experiences.” —Bookpage
Clark is a superb storyteller, and ''A Way From Home'' entertains from beginning to end; but it's not all of a piece, it's a patchwork. Her great gift is for plausible family drama, but here she has stitched fantastical episodes and impossibly exotic locations into a realistic narrative that didn't need the appliques.
The New York Times
The dry wit and clever plotting that distinguished Clark's debut, The Hills at Home, are applied with a heavy hand in this new comedy of manners, whose three parts fail to mesh. In 1992, Alden Lowe, his wife, Becky, and their teenage daughter, Julie, take up residence in an ancient castle in Prague. Alden is in charge of the finance ministry, while Becky attempts to launch fledgling entrepreneurs. The tone is high farce, as we watch Alden being ineffectual; Becky moping after an erstwhile lover, William; Julie seeking to bed her father's aide; and everybody else vying to become capitalists. By the time Becky decamps to join William in Khadafy's Libya, the reader has little empathy for any of the self-absorbed characters who have been blundering around Prague. The narrative takes hold, however, in a flashback to the lovers' triangle two decades earlier, before Becky married Alden. This is the heart of the novel, and it's tender, funny and touching, especially since Alden's grandparents are the eccentric WASP Hills readers met in the first book. But the final third of the novel, with Becky and William dreamily ensconced in an ancient villa is flat, notable mainly for its local color and political references. Clark's talent for satire shines only at intervals. Agent, Wendy Weil. (June 7) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
In her cleverly titled second novel (after The Hills at Home), Clark tells a story about the difficulties of being away from home and how one woman forges her own way by leaving home. Becky Lowe, who married Alden, an international consultant, out of a sense of duty, is beset by a restlessness that is exacerbated when she and her husband move to Prague in 1992. Adjusting to their new life while dealing with the wayward ways of their teenage daughter, Julie, distances the couple and leads Becky to renew a friendship and correspondence with William, whom she has loved since before her marriage. In this finely written, layered study of relationships and renewal, Becky's and Julie's characters are particularly well drawn, and the contrasts between them enrich the novel. Similarly, the variety of settings and the juxtaposition of Becky's story with that of a Roman woman who once lived in her house add texture. But while the story of the Lowe family is eventually resolved, Becky's own story fades and loses its way, leaving the reader faintly dissatisfied with what is otherwise a very good read. Recommended for public libraries.-Caroline M. Hallsworth, City of Greater Sudbury, Ont. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Diamond-sharp social observation inspirits a literary romance. Second-novelist Clark (The Hills at Home, 2003) resurrects characters from her debut: Alden and Becky Lowe and their daughter, Little Becky, who rechristens herself Julie during a plane journey to Prague. Czechoslovakia in 1992 is a "fledgling Republic" where Alden will work at the Ministry of Finances while Becky advises female entrepreneurs. Their temporary home is a grand pile, Castle Fortune, which, like their offices, is staffed by colorful Czechs whom the Americans consider children, while the Europeans view their visitors as innocents. All are the subject of Clark's patrician wit, but especially the Czechs and later the Africans. Relations between Alden and Becky are cool, and she has kept secret her ardent letters from William Baskett who has loved her for "a lifetime." During a party at the castle, Alden's adoring secretary Franca learns about the correspondence and confronts Becky, precipitating the story's single event. Becky drives away, across Europe, taking a ferry from Sicily to Africa, to join William at the Roman villa in Libya he has spent two years restoring. An idyll ensues. "No one had ever been truer or stronger or quieter in the service of hopeful passion" than William, who showers 20 years' worth of accumulated, exquisite gifts on indulged Becky. A book found in a cupboard reveals the parallel history of the villa: around a.d. 70, it was the home of "a highborn Roman matron," Polla Lucilla, who divorced one husband and married another, ruinously. In Prague, Julie and Alden struggle to accept Becky's departure. The year turns, the country divides and Alden's sister shows up, heralding his return to NewYork and Julie's-now Juliet's-removal from her Czech lover to an Irish convent school, perhaps in preparation for volume three of the trilogy. Erudite evocations of time, people and place, all delivered in a dry and old-world voice, partly compensate for authorial excess and a vague narrative line.