I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I received Here, Home, Hope, a novel by Kaira Rouda, as part of the One 2 One Network's blogger program.
From the publisher:
Kelly Mills Johnson becomes restless in her thirty-ninth year. An appetite for more forces her to take stock of her ordinary middle-American existence and her neighbors’ seemingly perfect lives. Her marriage to a successful attorney has settled into a comfortable routine, and being the mother of two adorable sons has been rewarding but exhausting. Meanwhile, Kelly’s own passions lie wasted. She eyes with envy the lives of her two best friends, Kathryn and Charlotte, both beautiful, successful businesswomen who seem to have it all. Kelly takes charge of her life, devising a midlife makeover plan.
When I first saw the plot of this book I thought it could go one of two ways... it could get bogged down in setting up crises and poor mes or it could be a really realistic tale with plenty of good story lines... For me, I think it fell somewhere in the middle. While there was some really gritty soul searching and some interesting dynamics, I found that the book sometimes lurched towards crisis after crisis to keep the momentum up.
Kaira Rouda's writing style took a few chapters for me to get into, but once I was in to the book, I was able to see and feel her rhythm and got more into the book.
I think that part of the reason I am not connecting as much with the characters is that I'm not at their place in life, and I haven't found the need to be as introspective and reinventing of myself as Kelly is in the book. Many of the other reviews that I've read about this book rave about it because they can find themselves in Kelly and it mirrors their lives, or hints at where they feel they are in life. For me, it is a well written story with some good life lessons, but I have a harder time relating.
One thing that I will take away from the novel is a problem solving approach, the Things to Change list, a way of getting past the Bucket List and the 1001 things to do before I'm ... list. The things to change list is a more concrete way of evaluating your life and what you'd like to do in the future.
I think this is a good summer read, especially for those who may already be searching for a character who is evaluating the world around her and trying to make positive changes in her life.
Check out the Here, Home, Hope book trailer
Learn more about Kaira Rouda on her website: http://www.kairarouda.com, become a Facebook Fan, check out her twitter feed. You can also check out these great options to buy Here, Home, Hope.
Kaira is also currently wrapping up a book signing tour - check out the locations she'll be visiting at the end of June and throughout July here
Disclaimer: I received this book at no cost to me for the purpose of writing this review. All opinions are my own.