Already Home by Susan Mallery, intertwines several subplots, each one strong enough for a book of its own.
Jenna's story begins first, so I assumed the book was about her and her journey home and, more importantly, her journey to regain her self-esteem after a failed marriage. She is a chef who opens a cooking store in Georgetown, Texas, where her parents live and where she grew up.
Next comes Violet Green's story, her life as full of conflict as her name. This character is strong and so are her struggles. She fights hard to overcome a past that is almost unspeakable. I found myself cheering her on, hoping she would make it, but fearing the worst.
But the author didn't stop with two stories. The return of Jenna's birth mother, Serenity Johnson, and the way Beth Stevens, the mother who raised Jenna, handles it is an interesting story in itself.
As a Christian novelist, I would have liked to see the women look to God for help, but that's just me. Other than a few "Thank Gods" and such, the only other reference to God was in the lower case sense as in "he was supposed to be a god in bed."
I've talked to some Georgetown, Texas friends about the setting and we've had a few laughs about it. The funniest scene was when Ellington, Jenna's boyfriend, suggests walking from the store, supposedly in downtown Georgetown (Old Town), to Fish City Grill, supposedly around the corner. In reality, Fish City Grill is in the Wolf Ranch Shopping Center, across the Interstate about a mile and a half away.
However, most readers will not even know about such things. It is an excellent book with characters that quickly come alive and you will find yourself wanting them to find happiness. You'll also think about food as you read. Luckily, there are a few recipes at the end of the book, with a promise for more when you go to the author's website.
Rating: 4 Stars