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Already Home Paperback – March 29, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Beth Kendrick and Susan Mallery: Author One-on-One

Beth Kendrick is the author of The Bake-Off, Second Time Around, and five other women’s fiction novels. In this Amazon exclusive, she sat down with Susan Mallery to discuss their work. Read the resulting interview below, or turn the tables to see what happened when Susan interviewed Beth.

Beth Kendrick

Beth: Okay, before we start this interview, I’d like to take a moment to talk to you about your Christmas card this year, which featured your adorable poodle, Nikki. Dressed up in an elaborate chiffon holiday neckpiece. Featuring jingle bells and ribbon. You and I both know that this is not an isolated incident. Oh yes, I’ve seen the photos of Miss Nikki making love to the camera in Halloween costumes and baseball jerseys. I think everyone here deserves to know the truth: does Nikki have a stylist? Or do poodles have an innate French flair for accessorizing?

Susan: Yes, Nikki actually does have a personal stylist, a friend who sends her a new outfit at least once a year. Nikki is a star. Sigh. It’s getting to be a problem. She was born in a playpen in Albuquerque, but has grown so used to attention that she demands it. When she decides it’s time to cuddle, nothing will deter her. She bats my hands away from the keyboard with her nose. Like everyone else who meets her, I have fallen under her spell. I’m helpless to resist.

Beth: Who gets more fan mail--you or Nikki?

Susan: I get more, but hers tastes better.

Beth: Already Home is technically women’s fiction, which means that in addition to the romance storyline, there’s a truckload of family drama. Oh, how I love family drama. The fictional kind, I mean. Give us a few hints about the book. What’s your favorite scene?

Susan: : The story revolves around Jenna, recently divorced and in the midst of an unexpected career change. So her life is already in a state of flux when she’s hit with the sudden appearance of her birth parents who are, to put it mildly, nothing like Jenna’s “real” (aka, adoptive) parents. Jenna was raised in a conservative Texas town by loving but traditional parents. Her birth parents are throwbacks to the 1970s, vegetarian hippies who get messages from "the Universe" and have an unnatural dislike of dairy.

One of the scenes I love best takes place when Jenna travels with them to their home on a California vineyard. There, she meets siblings and other family, and she gets a glimpse of the life she would have lived if they hadn’t given her up for adoption all those years ago. What I love about this scene is that this is where Jenna’s heart begins to open. First impressions can be wrong… or at least incomplete.

But as Jenna is getting to know her birth family, she can’t help wondering why they seem to think they have to dive into deep family intimacy immediately. What’s the urgency? Why can’t they let their feelings develop over time?

Susan Mallery

Beth: Jenna, the main character in Already Home, has invited Amy and Linnie, the main characters from my novel The Bake-Off, over for a dinner party. Discussion topics will include: dysfunctional families, cooking disasters, and truly unfortunate dating choices. What is your heroine cooking, and what can my characters bring?

Susan: Jenna has discovered the joy of fusion cuisine. In the book, she experiments with Mexican-Indian fusion and comes up with a fabulous recipe for Curry Chicken Enchiladas. Served, of course, with chips and salsa and hummus and pita. As for your characters, they can bring dessert. It’ll have to be apple pie, since they are big old bake-off frauds and that is really the only recipe they can make, right?

Beth: Well, yes. But they prefer the term “counterfeit confectionistas” to “frauds,” thank you very much. Since Jenna is a sous chef who wants to open her own cooking store, I assume you had to slog through hours of torturous research at places like Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table. (These are the sacrifices you make for your art!) What is your favorite kitchen implement or gadget?

Susan: Two words: wine key.

Beth: If you had a reality show, what would it be called, and what would a typical episode be like?

Susan: I adore watching reality shows, and I’m not even embarrassed to admit it. (Okay, I’m a little embarrassed.) They’re just so grotesque. The situations are staged, but the emotions are real, and I’m an emotion junkie. But I would never go on a reality show because I don’t want people to feed off of my emotions, other than in my books, of course.

Beth: I know, I know, but humor me. If you did…?

Susan: I actually do have a reality dating show in Only Mine, an August release in my Fool’s Gold series of romance novels. It doesn’t go well.

Beth: So in addition to being talented and witty, you’re prolific as all get-out. How many books do you have coming out in 2011? Five? Eighteen? What gives? Have you somehow figured out how to clone yourself or survive without sleep? I demand to know your secret. And don’t give me that song and dance about “hard work” and “self-discipline.”

Susan: I have four books coming out in 2011. Already Home in April, and then I’ll continue the Fool’s Gold series in August, September, and October with Only Mine, Only Yours, and Only His. The Hendrix triplets will all fall in love this year.

My secret? I have the attention span of a gnat. If I don’t write quickly, I get bored. I start thinking about the next story I want to write, and the next one after that. I don’t lack for ideas, so I have to be disciplined about completing each one. Working on the next one is my reward for finishing the current project.

Review

A delightful story about turning your life around. --Fresh Fiction

5 Stars, Top Pick! Warm, snappy dialog...signature Susan Mallery. --Night Owl Reviews

One of the best books I've read this year! --Roundtable Reviews

This poignant tale of family dynamics, the jarring impact of change, and eventual acceptance and healing is sure to please Mallery's many, devoted fans. --Booklist-Starred Review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Mira; Original edition (March 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778329518
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778329510
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (346 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #899,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Susan Mallery has entertained millions of readers with her witty and emotional stories about women and the relationships that define their lives. She has published more than 100 romance and women's fiction novels, beginning with two books the same month when she was just out of college. Her books have spent more than 120 weeks on the USA Today bestsellers list and have reached as high as #2 on the New York Times bestsellers list, statistically tied for #1 (THREE LITTLE WORDS, a Fool's Gold romance). Known for her keen insight into human nature and her humorous take on life, Susan Mallery has been described by RT Book Reviews as "in a class by herself!" and was featured as a Red Hot Read in Cosmopolitan Magazine. In 2013 and 2014, four of her books were named each year to Amazon's "Best Book of the Month" list.

With a Bachelor's degree in Accounting, Susan is one of the few writers who can understand her royalty statement. She went on to get a Masters in Writing Popular Fiction and has extensively studied story structure in screenwriting courses, though she has no plans to write for the screen. Her goal, always, is to give readers a story that will move them, populated with characters who feel like real people.

Booklist says, "Novels don't get much better than Mallery's expert blend of emotional nuance, humor, and superb storytelling," and Publisher's Weekly calls her prose "luscious and provocative." Susan appreciates critical praise, but she values praise from her readers even more. She credits her successful career to the loyal readers who rush out to buy each new book on the day it's released.

With the advent of ebooks, Susan's career has soared even higher, and her books make regular appearances on both print and ebook bestsellers lists. She has embraced the Digital Age with a robust website (www.susanmallery.com), an active presence on Facebook (www.facebook.com/susanmallery) and a free Susan Mallery app for the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices (www.mobileroadie.com/apps/susanmallery). At www.foolsgoldca.com, she also provides bonus content such as after-the-happily-ever-after updates for the Fool's Gold romances, her most popular ongoing series.

Born and raised in California, Susan lives with her family in Seattle, where she survives the dreary days of winter with the help of a "happy lamp" and plenty of coffee.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 84 people found the following review helpful By bjsmith on March 30, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You know how you find a new author and love their books and then after that you can't wait to buy their new ones? I wish that I had waited. I have become used to SM's books for their complex characters and all their warts. Does this book have that? Yes. But there was no romance, none, none, none. Yes, I read the synopsis of the book from her web site but I still expected the complex man/woman relationship to be part of this book and I just didn't see much of that at all. I have become used to that in SM's books and for that I was disappointed. I found myself skipping ahead and turning the pages, I was bored. I don't need to read page after page after page of conversation between two people to get the gist of what the conversation was about. To me, it was wasted space. I only finished the book because I thought it might get better, it didn't. Seriously, when she introduced Ellington I knew then what was going to happen to Serenity. I read books to escape. At times, this book was depressing. Maybe it's because personally I lost my mom a year ago, I don't know. I felt the same about the Cliff character. For Violet to have come from the streets, bells should have been going off right and left.

Don't get me wrong here, I don't have to read books that are filled with gratitious sex throughout. I do like to read about characters and their development, I just don't like to read books that are full of it with no romance at all. I missed the man/woman relationship in this book. In the future I will wait and read some reviews before I jump at buying another Mallery book (sigh). I hope this is not a sign. Too many of my "have to read" authors are disappointing me lately.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Dianne E. Socci-Tetro TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
Susan Mallery - Already Home

After breaking up with her chef husband who was a philanderer, Jenna (who is also a chef) needs to get a life of her own. She seems to find one when she buys a store and starts to convert it to a cookware store. With the help of newly hired store manager, Violet, who is a bit of an unusual character with an interesting back round, Jenna starts to make a `go' at her store.
Now Jenna has always know she was adopted and never cared to know who her birth parents were...but fate has a way of demanding that you change your mind about how things should be. And she finds this out the hard way when her `aging hippie' parents show up out of the blue.

This was a complex story, but not a romance as we have come to love from Ms Mallery. Instead of a romance, this was more of a story about how an adult child of adoption handles her birth parents coming to find her. In addition, the sub-story from Violet is one that some sensitive people may find difficult to read.

Unfortunately, the things that should have been a surprise to the reader were so obvious throughout the story, that I never felt the strong emotion that I'm sure Ms Mallery was trying to evoke.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By sebe on March 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
Newly divorced sous-chef , Jenna Stevens, moves home to Georgetown, Texas where her adopted parents, Beth and Marshal still live. She opens a store named Grate Expectations. She hires streetwise and business savvy, Violet to help her run the store. After the first week Jenna realizes the store is in jeopardy of being a failure. With the help of Violet they brainstorm and come up with new ideas. She reopens and the store becomes an instant success.

One day a man and woman show up at Jenna's store and announce that they are her birth parents, Serenity and Tom. Serenity is a free spirit and totally different from her adoptive mother Beth. Jenna learns that it is alright to have two mothers.

I love the way Susan Mallery tells this story. She makes you think about life's twists and turns. Even though things change, the love of family and friends is most important in your life.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Felicia The Geeky Blogger on April 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
Received for review from Publisher
Actual Rating: 4.5

What I Loved: This was a story of two completely different women: Jenna and Violet. They both had things from their past that they needed to overcome. Jenna, who is the center of the story, has birth parents, a divorce, the dating pool, opening a store, and learning how to live with the fact that she isn't where she thought she would be at 32. Violet has a dark past, intuition issues, trust issues, and accepting that the person she is today as someone that people love and respect. As Jenna and Violet's friendship grows you watch them work through each of these issues and it makes such a wonderful read. I really did not expect to love this story but it was so wonderfully crafted that I couldn't help but love these characters.

What I Liked: Each character in this book had an important role to play. Beth and Serenity were very strong women each with their own issues about the adoption. Serenity, for reasons revealed later, wanted to breeze in and reconnect with the daughter she had given up at birth. Beth, wanted her adopted daughter to connect with her birth family but also went through the "what if I lose her" feelings. I felt both of these characters were very genuine in their reactions and feelings. You loved them both and felt for Jenna as she tried to maneuver that situation. Dragon and Cliff were two similar men with completely different personalities that I think Violet had to see in order to see past her own issues with trust, intimacy, and self-worth. That story played out differently than I thought it would but it was very good.

Complaints: This is just a personal POV and did not take away from the rating. I thought the ending was to abrupt.
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