Abingdon Press (August 2011)
I have yet to pick up a Melody Carlson novel I dislike and this is no exception. Though with this book her byline was not the only draw. It takes place in one of my favorite settings, Oregon. Though I’ve never actually set foot in the Siuslaw valley as an Oregonian that doesn’t matter, the picturesque valleys of the state all have a unique draw I’ve yet to seen equaled elsewhere.
Even Anna’s character in the book is different as reflected in her childhood home of the river valley than the repressive home of her mother-in-law. The Anna seen by her friends and neighbors of the river community is a person the people of Pine Ridge could never envision inhabiting the “body” they call “Anna” who keeps house for Eunice. When Anna returns to clean out the store and home where she was raised she realizes the true meaning of home and freedom. Eunice’s never fit either category and Anna can never feel comfortable going back to the way things were. Those unhealthy ties must be severed even if her daughter chooses not to come. As Anna begins to find her own heritage once again and realizes what it means to have a home of her own even one that requires catering to overnight guests she also discovers that nearly anything is better than the way things were with her mother-in-law ordering her around with demeaning slurs all day long. (ISBN#9781426712661, 288pp, $9.97)