Book Reviews

almost home

The things that tear us apart can also bring us together.

With America’s entrance into World War II, the town of Blackberry Springs, Alabama, has exploded virtually overnight. Workers from all over are coming south for jobs in Uncle Sam’s munitions plants–and they’re bringing their pasts with them, right into Dolly Chandler’s grand but fading family home turned boardinghouse.

A struggling young couple from the Midwest, unemployed professors from Chicago, a widower from Mississippi, and a shattered young veteran struggling to heal from the war are all hoping Dolly’s house will help them find their way back to the lives they left behind. But the house has a past of its own.

When tragedy strikes, Dolly’s only hope will be the circle of friends under her roof and their ability to discover the truth about what happened to a young bride who lived there a century before.

This book was an amazing read. There were so many things I loved about it…..the story line, the characters, the whole atmosphere of the book.

To start with, the atmosphere. The book took place in Shelby County, near Birmingham, Alabama — so it was familiar territory for me. In the deep, deep South. The southern charm embodied in this novel was perfect. The hospitality, the sweet tea, the biscuits and gravy, the jumping in to help somebody, even a stranger. It was all so perfectly portrayed. I loved the mentions of cotton and magnolia trees and springs and creeks and mountains and heat and humidity and gardens and copperheads. The accents were even captured, ya’ll, and that was the perfect touch.

Speaking of the accents….I guess because I live here in the sunny South, the accents written out were causing me to draw out all the words and over-exaggerate the voices in my mind, to where I thought it sounded….ignorant, almost. And then I realized, I read with an accent, so when I am reading a book, every character has a southern drawl :D Once I figured that out, I enjoyed the book so much better!

I also enjoyed how the South wasn’t portrayed as a whole. Any true southerner knows Mississippi and Georgia and Alabama are all different. There are different….dialects, I guess, of southern accents, and different ways to do things. The differences in landscapes were captured, the differences in learning and customs and traditions were captured, and the flavour of the South was embedded in every page because of the authors attention to detail.

The characters were like old friends, visiting over a fence, or sitting down on a shady front porch with a mason jar filled with iced peach tea. They were down-to-earth, likeable, and just downright friendly. Si and Daisy were the quintessential southern neighbors, and I wanted to spend more time with them. Reed was such a sweet guy who had been through so much, and Daisy was the one who knew how to take broken pieces and mend them. Jesse and Anna were a couple who learned and grew together, and Ms. Lillian….oh, Ms. Lillian, the wisdom of the loop!  And the Chauvin’s, with the mysterious disappearance a hundred years before, made the story that much more enjoyable.

I enjoyed the back and forth timeline of the book. The journals and searches to uncover the past lent the perfect amount of  suspense to the story and left me a bit puzzled until the end, when it was all wrapped up.

I give this one four stars, and thoroughly recommend it. It is definitely going on my list of favourites for the year!

*I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
All thoughts are my own. I was not required to enjoy the book, just to give my honest opinion*

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I am a 23 year old young lady who is redeemed and saved from my sin only by the grace of God. A bibliophile at heart with a love of history who desires to see the Word of God practically applied to all aspects of our daily lives -- in our homes, in the grocery store, in the political realm. I strive to put my jumbled, chaotic thoughts down onto paper -- reducing them into black and white rows, letters, sentences. Into some semblance of sanity. And I share them here with all of you, where I can challenge you, make you think, and cause you to ask questions. I am the oldest of eleven children living the country life in the deep south.


  • kassieangle

    Wow, now I’m really interested in this book!! (I’m totally with you on reading accents; I never write them into my stories for that very reason, but I always wonder if folks will still read them in or not!) Any content or romance? And who is the publisher you got it free from??

    • Kaitlyn S.

      This book is amazing — you should try to read it if you get the chance :D I personally had no issues with content. There were a few instances of southern folklore, like the house would “talk” to them through curtains blowing and chandeliers swaying and such, but that was that and it pretty much just stated that “some would blame it on a breeze, but Dolly knew better. Little Mama’s house was happy to have such laughter in it once again.” I wasn’t sure where that was going, and it was a bit concerning (I don’t like ghost stories!) but there was nothing to it besides that.

      As for romance, there was a war widow and a war veteran who got to know each other, and there was a wedding at the end. There was nothing untoward about any of it, and they got to know each other through hard work and laughing together — at one point they joke that they need to get life insurance based on how the whole relationship kept on. No inappropriate or iffy scenes. The book would have been complete without the whole guy/girl interest in it at all, and I would easily let my 13-year-old sister read it if she wanted to.

      Does that help? Oh! And I got the book from Revell — I’ll add that to the disclaimer at the end. It was late when I wrote this last night, and I forgot =)

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