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Back to the Homeplace Paperback – March 25, 2010
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
From the Back Cover
An extended family in crisis following the death of their matriarch must cope with this new environment. The year is 1987. The terms of an unusual will left by their parents bring four grown children, spouses, and other family members, back to the Missouri Ozarks farm where they grew up - the Homeplace. Varied backgrounds and viewpoints ignite controversy and expose long kept secrets as each family member searches for his or her share of the family legacy. While the older family members stake their claims to land and fortunes, the younger ones search for love and acceptance.
About the Author
William Leverne Smith was born and raised on a Midwestern farm. A passion for family history and genealogy studies provides background for his writing. He and his wife live in a cabin in the Missouri Ozarks.
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Top customer reviews
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The introductions with the newspaper headlines for each chapter was original and helped to take you back to 1987, when the story takes place. I do have to say that all of the characters coming in at once in the beginning did confuse me and had me flipping back a few times to remember who was who. However, once you start getting into the story better, the characters start taking on personalities of their own and there is no mistaking them from there on out. Also, some of the dialogue seemed a little too formal for the time and small town feel of the story, but it doesn't take you away from the story at all.
Smith's vivid description of the Homeplace makes me want to hop in my car and travel to see this gorgeous place! This is a refreshingly original story that is so well-written, you'll feel as though you're there with the family, feeling all of the highs and lows with them. All of the characters are fleshed out and people that, even if we don't want to admit it, we can compare to people that we know in our own lives. The plot is full of realistic situations and twists that have you turning page after page until you run out of pages to turn. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll gasp - get ready for a roller coaster because your emotions will be on a wild ride!
This is honestly one of the best stories about a family saga that I have read in some time. I also found out that there will be a sequel, which is going straight on my wish list. It's a high-ranking recommendation from me!
Upon the death of Mildred Bevins, the family was shocked to find the terms of the will that she and her husband Frank had devised fifteen years earlier. Their will stated that four Bevin's children had to live for two years on the homeplace, with each of the children being assigned 80 acres to manage and maintain, and at the end of the two years, if the minimum requirements set forth in the will aren't met then the Homeplace will be donated to the State University. Will the Bevin's children be able to work together and meet the terms of the will, or will they lose it?
Each of the Bevin's siblings have their own set of problems that they bring with them. Bart had given up his job in real estate when his father Frank died, and he had always assumed that the farm would someday be his. Peter has always been a loner, but he has some secrets from his past that will surprise some, and jeopardize the lives of others.Karen and her husband Jason, moved from Arizona to fulfill the terms of the will, while things seem OK on the surface, they have problems back in Arizona that worry Jason. Beverly the youngest seems to really resent being forced to come back home. While her husband Paul and their two children Scott and Heather seem to thrive at the Homeplace, Beverly isn't happy and doesn't mind telling anyone that will listen. Sheila, Paul's daughter from a previous marriage has also come to the Ozarks, she makes poor choices that in the end not only affect her but others that have come in contact with her.
The author does an amazing story of bringing these characters to life, you can easily see why Frank and Mildred wanted to keep the homeplace intact, it had been in Mildred's family since 1833, and was a legacy to be passed down, I think the plan wasn't only to preserve the land, but also to bring the Bevin's children back together. The characters seem very down to earth and real, with problems that we all face, I found it interesting that a few were addicted to Diet Coke, and would make trips to Walmart to purchase it, for me it doesn't get any more real than that!
The descriptions of the birds, landscape and the Homestead in general were so vivid that it is easy to visualize it, and at one point when the author describes a vee of Canadian Geese flying overhead, I could just imagine hearing them honk.
The author opens most of the chapters with a brief bits of actual news from 1987, really taking me back in time, a true trip down memory lane.
A book that gives a true glimpse of how situations can cause some family members to draw together while others pull away. A story with several unexpected developments and a shocking twist near the end left me anxious to read the next book in this series titled The Homeplace Revisited due out in the late spring of 2011.
Even though I was provided a copy for review by the author it in no way alters my opinion of this book.
Back to the Homeplace takes place in 1987, and the author includes brief news blurbs at the start of each chapter to remind us of the big events happening in the world that year ~ from talks of taking down the Berlin Wall, to fears of AIDS, to the popular movies of the year. I was in high school in 1987, so this book brought back a lot of memories. I found I could relate to what the teens of the story were going through since I grew up in the same time. And as a mother now, I could relate to the adults in the story as well.
The characters were all very well developed and the storyline was compelling. The second half felt a bit like a soap opera at times, but it certainly kept things interesting! And just to warn you, this is the first of a series, so it will leave you wanting to know what's going to happen next ~ although some of the big events are wrapped up well enough not to drive you crazy.
The dialog was a bit too formal; it didn't seem very natural at times. But the story flowed well, the characters were endearing and I definitely want to know what will become of this family in the future. If you're looking for an easy-to-read story about family and friendship, this is a good choice.
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