Thursday, March 23, 2017

A+ Series from Start to Finish {Home at Last Book Review}

Spent 10 minutes trying to find my book & my daughter had it!
Home at Last is the final book in the Chicory Inn series, and it is a series I highly recommend. While Home at Last is a fantastic novel, I highly recommend you read the other books in the series before you read Home at Last. Each book in the series not only focuses on a specific Whitman child, but also creates depth, character development and interweaving storylines from one novel to the next.

If I had to describe Link Whitman's role within the other books, I would say he most definitely was a minor character (even his deceased brother Tim played a bigger role within the plots of the first four books). Within his minor role, he always came across as kind, loyal, and fun. In Home at Last, Link takes center stage & his personality truly shines through. He is also a 29 year old bachelor, feeling trapped in a "dead-end" job. His desires, struggles, and connections with his family create a very realistic and endearing protagonist!

Shayla is also single, and is busy working at her dad's bakery while also raising her niece. Their life has been a hard one in recent years, and the tough situations are compounded due to one thing; race. Shayla's father is African American, and Shayla and her niece Portia are biracial. The family lives in a predominantly white community. It's rare to see a Christian romance novel address current racial fears & tension, but Raney tackles in head-on and acknowledges how current events (such as Ferguson) have affected the country.

Link and Shayla do not remain separate characters in the novel, and interest in one another is revealed rather quickly. The novel does a great job of capturing the struggles of inter-racial dating, and analyzing if the struggles make it even worth pursuing a relationship. 

As the Chicory Inn series comes to an end, Raney does a good job of wrapping up the various storylines and providing a nice "riding off into the sunset" feeling in regards to the Whitman family. I was pleased with Home at Last as well as the Chicory Inn series, and would even read them all again.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to write a positive review.*

Home at Last (Abingdon, February 2017)
Why did their differences matter so much?
Link Whitman has settled into the role of bachelor without ever intending to. Now he’s stuck in a dead-end job and, as the next Whitman wedding fast approaches, he is the last one standing. The pressure from his sisters’ efforts to play matchmaker is getting hard to bear as Link pulls extra shifts at work, and helps his parents at the Chicory Inn.
All her life, Shayla Michaels has felt as if she straddled two worlds. Her mother’s white family labeled her African American father with names Shayla didn’t repeat in polite–well, in any company. Her father’s family disapproved as well, though they eventually embraced Shayla as their own. After the death of her mother, and her brother Jerry’s incarceration, life has left Shayla’s father bitter, her niece, Portia, an orphan, and Shayla responsible for them all. She knows God loves them all, but why couldn’t people accept each other for what was on the inside? For their hearts?
Everything changes one icy morning when a child runs into the street and Link nearly hits her with his pickup. Soon he is falling in love with the little girl’s aunt, Shayla, the beautiful woman who runs Coffee’s On, the bakery in Langhorne. Can Shayla and Link overcome society’s view of their differences and find true love? Is there hope of changing the sometimes-ugly world around them into something better for them all?

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