Title: Home by Ginny L. Yttrup
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Women’s Fiction
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Melanie runs away. From conflict. From pain. From reality.
When novelist Melanie Vander faces a looming deadline, she decides it’s time for an escape to an inspiring, novel-worthy locale. She’s not running away. Really. She just needs time to focus. But as she disappears into her writing, she encounters a man whose tenderness leaves her reeling. Engaging and wise, psychologist Elliot Hammond tempts Melanie to question everything, including her marriage.
But that’s ridiculous. Dr. Hammond isn’t even…real.
Melanie’s husband, Craig, has his own problems, including a recession that’s threatening his business. Waning finances, a looming home foreclosure, and a wife who’s checked out emotionally, has Craig feeling as though he’s carrying his burdens alone. When his client, the beautiful and single Serena Buchanan, offers him a solution to his financial woes, he’s tempted by more than her offer of a business solution.
At a crossroads, Melanie and Craig seem headed in opposite directions.
As Melanie runs away from her problems by escaping into her own fictional world, Craig dives into his struggles, seeking God for strength and healing for his marriage. Ultimately, Melanie must choose whether she’ll check out completely, or allow her characters to lead her home.
Home by Ginny L. Yttrup is an emotional and very poignant journey of healing.
During their twenty-three years of marriage, Melanie and Craig Vander have faced numerous trials but their latest problems might be too much for them to overcome. The economic downturn has taken its toll on Craig’s construction business and they are barely keeping their heads above water each month. So it is the worst possible time for Melanie to miss the deadline for her latest novel but she is struggling to make much progress on her project. Even worse, her characters are taking the story in a painful direction and her efforts to get back on track are futile. When Melanie becomes concerned that Craig’s feelings for his latest client run deeper than business, she borrows a friend’s lakeside cabin in hopes of finishing her book without distractions. With Melanie both emotionally and physically checked out from her marriage, Craig is left to deal with the temptation of his beautiful client while at the same time trying to figure out how to avoid financial ruin. Will Melanie finally deal with the grief she has suppressed and ignored for so many years? Will Craig’s prayers for his wife’s healing be answered? Will Craig and Melanie find a way to save their marriage once they are reunited?
While Melanie is not a superficial person, she lives life on the surface and never delves too deeply into her own issues or those of her friends. She spends a lot of time inside the fictional world of her characters and her books are funny but without much substance. However, her latest novel does not fit her usual “brand” and instead of fighting her characters for control, Melanie decides to let them take the story where they need it to go. What it takes Melanie a long time to understand is her subconscious is hard at work trying to force her to face all of the issues she has failed to deal with over the years. Will Melanie take this opportunity to finally make peace with her past?
Craig is a wonderful husband in so many ways, but he also shares part of the burden for the state of his marriage. He has given up trying to communicate with Melanie since she shuts down at the first sign of trouble. While understandable, it is a vicious cycle that leaves Craig feeling overburdened as he tries to save his failing business. This in turn leaves him very vulnerable while he works alongside a beautiful client whom he can commiserate with professionally. When Craig becomes aware of her as woman, will he find the strength to resist the temptation to take their relationship in a more personal direction?
Melanie’s best friend, editor and neighbor Jill Rodriguez is also going through a rough patch. She is plagued with nightmares as she struggles with dark thoughts and obsessive rituals. Although her husband Marco is incredibly supportive and convinces her to seek professional help for her issues, Melanie and Jill’s friendship strengthens when their discussions finally go deeper than their usual lighthearted exchanges.
Home by Ginny L. Yttrup is a well-written novel with engaging characters and an engrossing storyline. The chapters are written in first person and alternate between Melanie, Jill and Craig’s points of view. These shifts in perspective are clearly marked and each character has a very distinctive voice. There is strong spiritual element to the unfolding story but these scenes feel very natural and integral to the overall storyline. The characters’ growth is absolutely phenomenal and occurs at a realistic pace. Although some of their actions are frustrating, readers will find it easy to relate to the characters and the issues they are struggling with. All in all, a deeply affecting novel of healing that is ultimately incredibly uplifting.