Review

A Thousand Roads Home by Carmel Harrington

book coverPublished: HarperCollins
Date: October 2018
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 440
Genre: Mainstream Fiction
Source: Library
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Firstly thank you to Trish from Between My Lines who intrigued me with her review of A Thousand Roads Home by Irish author Carmel Harrington.  It is the first book I have read by this author and I do believe I have discovered another author I will want to read more from.

This book grabbed me by the heart and I just had to keep reading it, it engaged me from the first page and didn’t let me go all the way through. When I had finished it I didn’t want to have finished it. I loved all the characters, cheered when things when well for them, chuckled sometimes and reached for the tissues quite often!

The story explores homelessness, having Asperger’s syndrome, being a single parent, being lost and in grief and so much more. And… it shows how one person with their kindness and compassion can change the world one person at a time.

It is set in Ireland and very authentically Irish, but… it is an universal story and has issues we can all relate to one way or another. If you can, read it – it is indeed “warm, powerful and unforgettable.”

Read Trish’s review here just to check it out! I haven’t gone into details, let’s just say I won’t ever forget it.

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For USA readers this will be published there in June 2019.

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Review

Inconsolable. Ainslie Paton

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Inconsolable
Ainslie Paton
Published: Escape Publishing
Date: 22nd August 2015
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 279
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: from the author.
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Sometimes the only way to forgiveness is through love

Foley has a new boss she doesn’t like, a flatmate who’s been known to wear odd shoes, and a car that’s ready to pack it in. She hasn’t met a guy worth lipstick in forever, and though she planned a life less ordinary, the only thing unique about her is a badly thought through tattoo.

Until Drum.

Drum wasn’t always the cliff guy, a homeless man sheltering in a cave tucked above a popular tourist beach. He wanted to get as far away from his previous life as possible. Now he wakes with the sun, runs on the beach, does odd jobs for cash to buy food, and is at peace.

It’s Foley’s job to find Drum a safer place to live, but the only home Drum wants is the one place he can never stay: Foley’s heart.

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Whenever I start an Ainslie Paton novel it is with a sense of anticipation – I expect a good story and Inconsolable gave it to me again as I became engrossed in the characters and their story, within an Australian setting.
It is obvious Drum is not your average homeless person and so my question was – who is he? What has happened in his life to bring him here?  He’s feeling a load of guilt – why? The blurb says his homeless life brings him peace. I am not so sure about that, although it does help him to hang on, to control the anxiety and remorse he feels.  He lives life on the edge, hangs on to nothing. Yet he shows some caring towards others and is obviously intelligent.  He is a mystery man. A man who lives by his own set of rules, setting himself up as judge, jury and jailer over his own life. He’s a great example of the wounded hero who eventually just might find healing. As a reader I wanted him to find his way, to be his best self.
Foley works at the local council and as part of her job she has been instructed to get rid of Drum from the cave he shelters in overlooking the beach on a cliff.  While she is partially successful in this, she forms a relationship with Drum that grows into deep friendship and love.  She is willing to go in and bat for him, she wants to be with him, to help him.  There is a passionate spark that ignites and she knows she loves him, but does he love her or will he hurt her?
It’s a romance, so the reader (me) knows it is going to be a happy ever after. However Drum must make choices and really see what he values in life.  Perhaps homelessness is not the answer.  Perhaps love, kindness, understanding, forgiveness and really seeing others are what counts.
I loved seeing the development of the two characters and their finding of themselves and each other, and sighed with deep contentment as I finished a story with characters I was invested in and desperately wanted them to find their answers, to achieve their hopes and dreams. Loved it.
4.5 stars
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Review

The Color of Light. Emilie Richards

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The Color of Light
Emilie Richards
Published: Mira
Date: July 28th 2015
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 496
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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For more than a decade minister Analiese Wagner has felt privileged to lead her parishioners along a well-lit path. Her commitment has never been seriously tested until the frigid night she encounters a homeless family huddling in the churchyard. Offering them shelter in a vacant parish house apartment and taking teenage Shiloh Fowler—a girl desperate to rescue her parents—under her wing, she tests the loyalty and faith of her congregation.

Isaiah Colburn, the Catholic priest who was her first mentor and the man she secretly longed for, understands her struggles only too well. At a crossroads, he’s suddenly reappeared in her life, torn between his priesthood and his growing desire for a future with Analiese.

Divided between love and vows they’ve taken, both must face the possibilities of living very different lives or continuing to serve their communities. With a defeated family’s trust and her own happiness on the line, Analiese must define for herself where darkness ends and light begins. 

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The Color of Light is #4 in the Goddesses Anonymous series by Emilie Richards.  It is one of my top favourite series and the The Color of Light just added to the allure.
When Emilie Richards writes of church she has a ring of authority and compassion.  A vision that is inspiring. And so we have in this novel the story of Analiese the pastor of the local church. Annaliese is the kind of pastor I’d want for any and every church.  She is strong, caring and compassionate.  She is not about institution, she is about people.  However the life of a pastor is not an easy one.  If you belong to or have belonged to a parish of any kind, I am sure you are aware of the variety of people and their politics. That must be very taxing as a minister tries to follow their calling and deal with all the other minutiae that goes along with the role.  Annaliese has a lot to contend with, often no time to eat or call her own.  But she has a calling to ministry and it goes deeply into her being.
Annaliese welcomes a homeless family into a small apartment that is attached to the church when she finds them preparing to camp out in the cold.  The Fowler family play a big part in this story and through it a church is offered the chance to explore what church is really about.  This family has many problems and at the beginning it is Shiloh a fourteen year old that holds them together.  How best to help them? There are a variety of ways, but which way is going to lead to self respect, dignity and eventually the chance to be independent and whole again as people and as a family?
Isaiah is a Roman Catholic priest and Jesuit, arrives in the area, taking time out to explore his calling. Analiese and he have known each other many years ago, when he helped her discover her calling to ministry.  However they have not been in contact for many years until now.  I thought Emilie Richards explored his path and journey very well.  I was very satisfied finally with the way he made his choices in line with his calling.
Of course we meet other characters from previous books and see their lives continuing to take shape. We see the struggles of the homeless, we see a very topical issue facing the church and Annaliese – one that Annaliese handles extremely well. While it is foreshadowed before it happens I don’t want to discuss it so as not to give away the plot.  
This book oozes warmth and humanity at its best and occasionally at its weakest.  My heart was deeply touched by an “I love you” and the response to it.  And no, it wasn’t between Annaliese and Isaiah!
Story telling with sensitivity and at its finest.
5 stars