Published: 2011, Mira Books
Date Finished: 4th August 2011
Rating : 4 Stars
I was looking around my local Collins bookstore after getting paid with no intention at all of spending as much as I did on Already Home, a heart-warming, charming, deliciously addictive read by a new author to me Susan Mallery. Heart-warming, doesn’t even begin the emotions this book evoked and from the get go I was delighted to finally find a book with some substance. I couldn’t help but snuggle up straight away and read for hours.
After nearly a decade as a sous-chef in a trendy eatery, Jenna is desperate for a change. She's supported her ex-husband's dreams for so long that she can't even remember her own. Until she sees a for-lease sign near her parents' home and envisions her very own cooking store.
Her crash course in business is aided by a streetwise store manager and Jenna's adoptive mother. But just as she's gaining a foothold in her new life, in walk her birth parents—aging hippies on a quest to reconnect with their firstborn.
Now Jenna must figure out how to reconcile the free-spirited Serenity and Tom with her traditional parents, deal with her feelings for a new love interest and decide what to do about her ex's latest outrageous request. In the end, Jenna will find that there is no perfect family, only the people we love.- Synopsis
While I want to say that I enjoyed this book wholeheartedly that wouldn’t be very honest. I had a few hitches with the novel and I thought to get those out of the way so that I could onwards with the things I loved about it.
There were a lot of character inconsistencies throughout the novel that really threw me of course. In parts I questioned the reality of some situations, while others it was obviously that the character had done a complete one eighty. For the main character to this frustrated the hell out of me and it was a shame that she wasn’t in character because I didn’t believe her actions or reactions.
Repetition is needed in novels to remind author, and to make a point but Susan abuses this use of repetition so much throughout Already Home to the point that if she took it all out I think you could easily cut a third of the book. I didn’t mind it at the start because I knew the author was building the story, but after reading the same sentences over and over I grew impatient and put the book down for several days. It really grated on my nerves and caused many discussions with my partner.
For some reason unknown to me I couldn’t put this book down for too long. I had to keep reading. I learned to cope with the frustrations and try and seed through the book for the underlying story. I just loved the whole premise and concept right from the shop, to the cooking and the drama of meeting your biological family for the first time out of the blue. It was provoking and to me realistic for the most part. The characters reactions towards her biological parents were convincing, more so was the behaviour of the adoptive parents towards the intrusiveness of the situation and the need to protect their daughter. I sure as hell took sides and it pushed me forward when sometimes I was ready to give up on it. Truth is I couldn’t.
I loved Jenna’s story, from the darkness she rose through it to make a bright future for herself, one full of compassion, sharing, passion, excitement. I loved taking the journey with her through her trials and tribulations and often at times felt provoked enough to carry on my own experiments on the kitchen. She inspired me. It didn’t help that a lot of the characters were creative and I love books about creative people.
The ending made me cry, a rarity and while I already saw it coming very early on in the story I didn’t expect it to affect me the way that it did. I laughed and cried, smiled and frowned, pounded my fist against the pillow and quietly contemplated my own life. Already Home is not a novel I love out of style, but for story and I do recommend this book wholeheartedly to anyone who enjoys women’s fiction in any form.