Book Review: Home at Last by Deborah Raney, a Chicory Inn Novel


"When the world just sees mistakes, 
God sees beautiful opportunities for love and grace." 
(back cover)


Title: Home at Last
Series: A Chicory Inn Novel, Book 5
Author: Deborah Raney
Publisher:  Abingdon Press
Release Date:  February 21, 2017
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Fiction

 

Why did their differences matter so much?

Link Whitman has settled into the role of bachelor without ever intending to. Now he's stuck in a dead-end job and, as the next Whitman wedding fast approaches, he is the last one standing. The pressure from his sisters' efforts to play matchmaker is getting hard to bear as Link pulls extra shifts at work, and helps his parents at the Chicory Inn.

All her life, Shayla Michaels has felt as if she straddled two worlds. Her mother's white family labeled her African American father with names Shayla didn't repeat in polite-well, in any company. Her father's family disapproved as well, though they eventually embraced Shayla as their own. After the death of her mother, and her brother Jerry's incarceration, life has left Shayla's father bitter, her niece, Portia, an orphan, and Shayla responsible for them all. She knows God loves them all, but why couldn't people accept each other for what was on the inside? For their hearts?

Everything changes one icy morning when a child runs into the street and Link nearly hits her with his pickup. Soon he is falling in love with the little girl's aunt, Shayla, the beautiful woman who runs Coffee's On, the bakery in Langhorne. Can Shayla and Link overcome society's view of their differences and find true love? Is there hope of changing the sometimes-ugly world around them into something better for them all?



Deborah Raney's Chicory Inn series have tackled tough and sensitive issues, and Home at Last, the last novel in the series is no different. What is different is that I felt Home at Last touched on issues that have more to deal with cultural issues, than the emotional turmoil of personal conflicts. That's not to say Home at Last doesn't have personal issues, but rather, it's all integrated.

As we meet Link, the last of the Whitman kids to find a "happily ever after", it's not always as simple. Is it? And that's life. Biracial relationships are extremely common nowadays. I had my share of racial discrimination and am also one in a biracial relationship, so the conflicts in Home at Last regarding racial discrimination and inter-racial relationship seems more extreme to me than in reality.  However, I do think in different areas such as small-town America,  the racial tension can be more pronounced than in a big city like New York City.  Despite that, I'm torn to find how exaggerated I felt many of the reasons behind the conflicts are. Not that there is no merit to these conflicts, but in an overabundance and overreached way.   I find it surprising that not even one member of the Whitman family accepted Shayla as she is from the beginning, but took time. The awkwardness didn't pass, and as a family of faith, it's surprising. Not to say being Christians, we don't have our prejudices or stereotypes right away, but to be taken back or to have all be so, it didn't bode well. I felt the subject itself overshadowed what I'd expected from A Chicory Inn Novel, love and grace that extends beyond loved ones.

Deborah Raney is a fabulous writer. Her stories captures the human emotions and God's mercy beautifully. My thoughts on Home at Last have more to do with my personal experience as individual of a different ethnicity than the majority in America, than the authenticity of the story, and what the author is conveying in the story itself.  Home at Last is a story that conveys the message of diversity, and what that means in God's eyes; how grace is for ALL; how prejudices and stereotypes can and will be resolve if we open the eyes in our hearts.


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.

For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.

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OTHER BOOKS IN the CHICORY INN series





Deborah Raney's novels have won numerous awards including the RITA, National Readers' Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, the Carol Award, and have three times been Christy Award finalists. She and her husband, Ken Raney have traded small-town life in Kansas-the setting of many of Deb's novels-for life in the city of Wichita.

Find out more about Deborah at .

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6 comments:

  1. great review and great insight!

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  2. Enjoyed your perspective. Great job!

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  3. Interesting ingsights for sure. I'm someone who is anxious for more diversity in Christian Fiction -- and not just heavily issued ones to do with race or prejudice -- so I'm anxious to read this one.

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    Replies
    1. I agree Kav. I really would love to see more diversity, which doesn't have to just be about race. Diversity comes in many forms. So yes. I think we should applaud Deborah for taking that leap with Home at Last.

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