Nice to Come Home To
written by Rebecca Flowers
published by Riverhead
find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads
Did I enjoy this book: After a hefty, have-to-think-about-it-a-lot book, I sometimes look for a book that can be kind of a palate cleanser–something light, fresh, and pleasant, that isn’t, so to speak, a whole meal. I had just finished Sharon Kay Penman’s Time and Chance, a large and sweeping epic about Henry II and Eleanor Aquitaine. It was a very worthy read, but one that took, at times, discipline to keep on with. Nice to Come Home To looked like the perfect antidote–a modern day romantic novel.
Turns out, it was a great choice.
I’m a sucker for a redemption story. At the beginning of Nice to Come Home To, Pru is a mess. She’s unemployed; she’s in a relationship with a guy she doesn’t even much like, but she’s talking herself into marrying him because she’d like a baby. She’s letting a leering old lecher pretend to squint at her name tag as he peers down her blouse–the lech, she thinks, might have the key to a worthy job. Yuck, Pru–stop it right now!
Well, she doesn’t stop it right now, but she changes, believably and satisfyingly, throughout the book. The Pru we know by the end of Nice is more mature, more centered, and much more likable than the sad woman who kicks off the tale. And her family and friends are all in better places, too. There are surprises, and there’s some comforting predictability. Now THAT’S my kind of redemption story!
Would I recommend it: If you’re in the market for a satisfying, light read, this is a great choice. It’s compelling byut not exhausting. The characters are agreeably flawed; Flowers doesn’t paint exes as evil, unrepentant jerks, for example. She allows them to grow into sympathetic characters who maybe just aren’t quite the right ones for our Pru or her sister or their friends . . . I might read this book again next time I need a reliable, light read. But more likely I will pass the volume on to another Reader Girl who needs a satisfyingly cozy cold night companion-book.
~ Pam, guest reviewer & EFC Short Story Contest Winner ~
About the book – from Goodreads: A funny, entertaining novel of love and family for our times: a single woman who fears she’s lost her chance at a family of her own, begins to accumulate an ad hoc one around her.
In the tradition of Elinor Lipman or Marisa de los Santos (Love Walked In), Flowers delivers a smart, witty, appealing story of love, family, and community that breaks the mold of the conventional love story-and will have readers cheering.
Everyone around Prudence Whistler, thirty-six, seems to be settling down. Her once single girlfriends have married and had babies. Her gay best friend is discussing marriage with his partner. Even her irresponsible younger sister, Patsy, is the single mother of a two-year-old. But when Pru panics at losing her mediocre boyfriend of two years-and begins to see the door to her traditional family life closing-she accidentally finds something even better: a new definition of family and happiness. First, it’s the crazy cat who moves into her apartment. Then come Pru’s headstrong sister and two-year-old niece. Then the niece’s dog, the sister’s ex-boyfriend, and, ultimately, Patsy and Pru’s widowed mother. With the strength of her modern new household, Pru musters the confidence to open the dress shop she’s always wanted in town-and discovers an extended family of sorts in the community of shop owners and devoted customers. It’s only then that she ends up with the man of her dreams. Endearing, romantic, and satisfying, Nice to Come Home To is a charming, crowd-pleasing debut.