Friday, May 6, 2011

Review: "Already Home" by Susan Mallery

In the midst of divorce, and after ten years of living in her husband's shadow, Jenna Stevens decides to return home to open her own cooking store. Despite the fact that she has spent the better part of the last decade behind the scenes in a kitchen rather than working retail, she signs a lease and begins preparing to open her store.

Jenna doesn't know anything about retail, though, and her store seems doomed from the beginning. With the help of a spunky assistant and Jenna's adoptive mother, Jenna undergoes a crash course in business management and the store begins to thrive. However Jenna isn't counting on the fact that her hippie birth parents will walk through the door and change her life forever. She also isn't prepared for the fact that her ex-husband will return to her armed with an outrageous request.

Already Home is a beautiful story about families and the boundaries that define them. When we meet Jenna she is determined to put her disastrous marriage behind her and begin living her own life. She has returned home to the place that she grew up, and her relationship with her adoptive parents is stable and loving. Jenna believes that she has all that she needs to begin healing. She isn't banking on the fact that her definition of "family" will need to expand when her birth parents, whom she has no desire to meet, walk in the door of her newly opened store and begin to pressure her to build a relationship with them. Beth, Jenna's adoptive mother, is not threatened by the presence of Serenity, Jenna's birth mother at first, but as time wears on and a new relationship forms Beth begins to feel that her relationship with her daughter is being challenged.

I appreciated the fact that Already Home brought a different perspective to adoption. Many adoption stories are focused on the child desiring a relationship with their birth parents, but in this case Jenna had no desire to meet the people that gave birth to her. This added a fresh dimension to the story, and one that I found incredibly intriguing.

Filled with interesting characters and complex family relationships, Already Home is a touching story about one woman and her quest to find her place in her family and in the world.

4 stars out of 5
Challenges: 2011 100+ Reading Challenge

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