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Home At Last: A Chicory Inn Novel ― Book 5 Paperback – February 15, 2017
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About the Author
Deborah Raney’s books have won numerous awards including the RITA, National Readers' Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. She and her husband, Ken, recently traded small-town life in Kansas—the setting of many of Deb's novels—for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita. Visit Deb on the web at DeborahRaney.com.
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Each book is a love story, a midwest American version of what Lord and Lady Grantham have dealt with at Downton Abbey. Chicory Inn is the childhood home of the Whitman family, and in their empty nest years, Grant and Audrey have transformed it into a beautiful Bed and Breakfast.Twenty-nine year old Link is not exactly unhappy at the beginning of the book, but in his six years since graduating from college, he still hasn’t landed a “real job.” He’s stuck in an entry level position testing electrical wire, exhausted from working double shifts and coming home to a bachelor pad studio in a not-so-great part of town. Something is missing in his life, and his sister’s attempts at playing matchmaker leave him edgy and unsatisfied.
In a split second on an icy road, Link’s distracted driving (talking on his cell phone to his mom!) almost causes his truck to hit a small child. It turns out she is the five-year-old niece of the attractive Shayla Michaels, who works in the local Coffee’s On bakery. He’d met her at a nearby homeless shelter, where he’d volunteered his computer knowledge for a while. Link had been drawn to her, yet her mysterious life was unknown to him until the near tragedy causes their casual friendship to deepen.
Shayla’s life has always been a challenge, as she’s straddled two worlds, being the daughter of a white mother and African American father. Both extended families rejected the other, but after the death of her mother, she’s embraced by her father’s family. She bears the heavy load of raising her niece, Portia, since her brother is serving time in jail and the girl’s mother is out of the picture.
Link and Shayla begin a relationship, allowing readers to witness the difficulties they must face as a mixed-race couple. Reading the novel as part of a group will open up opportunities for conversations about topics such as interracial dating and parenting. As always, Deborah Raney includes a Group Discussion Guide at the back of the book, with questions that will allow readers to dig deeply into contemporary issues.
One of the best parts about finishing a whole series of books is that you can finally realize the author’s long-term vision as she commenced writing. When I began the series, I didn’t realize each book would focus on one of the Whitman offspring, so now I can understand how all the books tie in together. They take up a special place on my bookshelf, and I look forward to reading them again. Now, if only a producer would pick them up to make a Chicory Inn mini-series or film!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse.
“Home at Last” is the fifth and final book in Deborah Raney's Chicory Inn series and what an ending to a series - this is the most compelling book in an excellent series. Raney does an excellent job with some very difficult themes - usually when I read a romance I do it to escape from the real world with a light read but not so with this book. It is thought-provoking and even a bit difficult to read at times as Shayla’s story unfolds. That is not to say that this is not a good book - it is an excellent book and Shayla and Link make a nice couple - I love the way their romance unfolds throughout the course of this book. Their romance is both sweet and bitter sweet. Of the two, I found Shayla’s story to be the most interesting. Yes, Link had his moments, particularly his struggles with working in a dead-end job, but he seemed a bit too innocent - almost naïve - about the issues in his relationship with Shayla. Shayla’s story, on the other hand, is heart wrenching - she is an incredibly strong woman who survives and even thrives despite what she has been through. I had to put the book down a few times while reading it to think about Shayla’s story and what is still going on in the world today in terms of race relations. This is the perfect book for a book club to read - in fact there are discussion questions in the back of the book for book clubs.
“Home at Last” is the thought-provoking last book in a very good series.
Most recent customer reviews
All of the books in this series have featured the Whitman family, with Mom and Dad being the characters I...Read more
This is Link's story, his story of falling in love with Shayla and overcoming some...Read more