Monday, June 20, 2016

Close to Home by Deborah Raney

The drama of the Whitman family and the Chicory Inn continues in this fourth book in the series. The story centers on Bree, widow of Tim Whitman. While it has been years since he was killed in Afghanistan, Bree is still very much a part of the Whitman family.

A problem begins when a co-worker wants to date her. Aaron is a good guy but Bree struggles with the concept of dating again. Most of the novel centers on the struggle Bree experiences. Aaron is a Christian but he is a bit pushy. He just can't understand why Bree still wants to be a part of the family of her dead husband.

This novel is a character study. It deals with issues like how long one should wait after the death of a spouse before dating again. It also explores Bree's relationships with the Whitmans, who feel like family, and her own parents, with whom she is somewhat alienated. Another issue is breaking up a dating relationship and how that is done well.

I love the way Raney develops the characters. Even though Aaron was a nice guy, he came across as controlling and jealous. I was hoping Bree would see him that way and break up with him. On the other hand, well, I won't spoil the story other than to say Bree certainly had a better option.

This is a good novel about family relationships, how they are formed and sustained. The Whitman family is a special one, with genuine love for each other, even the “in-law” Bree. I recommend it to those who enjoy a character driven novel. Since the characters have their stories told in the earlier books in the series, they should be read before this fourth one.

There is a good discussion guide included.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Deborah Raney is an award winning author of several novels. She enjoys speaking and teaching at writing conferences across the country. She and her husband live in their native Kansas. They have four grown children and a brood of grandchildren. You can find out more at www.deborahraney.com.

Abingdon Press, 304 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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