All the feels.
Nice to Come Home To by Rebecca Flowers is the latest reading choice in my Bookshelf Cleanout. I’ve had it for years. I’ve picked it up but never cracked the cover. I don’t even remember where I got it, and I honestly wasn’t expecting much from it.
From the Cover: 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.
What I Loved: This is a book in which nothing happens and yet everything happens. Pru seems at first to be the kind of person I wouldn’t like. (I mean, she does have a complete aversion to her boyfriend’s cat.) But as the story advances and I learned more about her, I began to see more and more of myself in her. There were times when it was almost too real, as though Flowers had pulled my life into tiny pieces, jumbled them up, and poured some of them into this book.
Nice to Come Home To is about finding love, not only romantic love but self love and familial love. It’s about learning to accept your own flaws as well as the flaws of others, but still never settling for anything less than you deserve.
The somber and occasionally depressing tone of the book really stood out to me because it worked so well for it. When I was about three-quarters of the way through, I felt like my best friend was having a hard time and I was helping her through it.
What I Didn’t Love So Much: I wasn’t always a fan of Flowers’ style when it came to sentence structure. There were too many commas for my taste, something that pulled me out of the story to ponder whether they were correct or not. It’s one of those things that comes down to personal preference.
Rating and Recommendation: Nice to Come Home To is an easy read and yet a deep one. It delivers so much (deep characters, a cathartic pull of emotions) without demanding much of the reader. If you enjoy modern fiction, I definitely recommend it. 5 stars
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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois. She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University. Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside Detective. Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous. Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world. You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.
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