July 10, 2018
Blurb: Life is meant to be savored, but that’s not easy with no family, limited prospects and a past you’d rather not talk about.
Callie Smith doesn’t know how to feel when she discovers she has a brother and a sister—Malcolm, who grew up with affection, wealth and privilege, and Keira, a streetwise twelve-year-old. Despite her trepidation, she moves into the grand family home with her siblings and grandfather on the shores of Lake Washington, hoping just maybe this will be the start of a whole new life.
But starting over can be messy. Callie and Keira fit in with each other, but not with their posh new lifestyle, leaving Malcolm feeling like the odd man out in his own home. Becoming a family will take patience, humor, a little bit of wine and a whole lot of love. But love isn’t Malcolm’s strong suit…until he learns that an open heart, like the family table, can always make room for more.
SASCHA DARLINGTON’S REVIEW
Lately it seems as though a lot of romance authors are branching out into women’s fiction, which is a good thing. I think. However, for me, a lot of these novels show the growing pains of the writer trying to be true to their roots while forging new ground.
While Susan Mallery’s When We Found Home is extremely well-written, in her usual fashion, and the subject matter of three half-siblings discovering each other is intriguing, the amount of repetition and lack of spark made the novel very put-downable for me.
The novel began promising enough with Delaney, a former financial whiz–now barista, crushing on the man in the suit, Malcolm Carlesso—a classic romance novel opening. However, you’ll notice that Delaney is not even given a mention in the blurb, and yet it is as much her novel as it is the Carlesso siblings as Delaney comes to terms with her new direction in life after the loss of her fiance and the paralyzing of her father.
We are then introduced to the Carlesso family and Malcolm’s best friend and now business associate, Santiago. At this point, I felt the novel brought a lot of repetition and yet simultaneously not enough depth to some of the characters and situations, ultimately it felt as if nothing new were offered.
For me, the issue is that When We Found Home reads a lot like a romance novel, and normally the focus would be primarily on one couple with a lot of attention given to that situation. Instead, because When We Found Home is trying to be women’s fiction, the focus is skirting over one couple and moving on to another. Mallery is trying to show family and getting in touch with each other, which is all very admirable, but due to the episodic quality, I didn’t come away feeling particularly involved with any of them.
In fact, this is the second women’s fiction novel in the past few weeks that has left me with the feeling that the author should have focused on fewer characters and delved into “story” more, that perhaps two relationships (not necessarily romantic) should have been eye-balled. This just goes to the adage more is not better.
Regardless, When We Found Home is a safe book. It’s well-written, the story interesting, the characters equally interesting. It’s the kind of book you can read when you don’t want anything too deep. It’s heartwarming.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
When We Found Home is on sale today. You can order it here.
3 butterflies and a ladybug out of 5 butterflies
7 thoughts on “Review of When We Found Home”
Good to know. I’ve always enjoyed her writing, but I know what you mean. Sometimes the “story” becomes lost the mindset hasn’t changed over.
Her writing is good. Also, many readers gave this novel very high ratings. For me, it was missing something. It may not for you? 🙂
Doubtful. If it lags that much, I won’t like it either. I’ve read others that feel short of the mark.
interesting review on your part. women’s fiction is very relevant but the themes can get overworked. i would be annoyed with the repetition too but that happens as you have said with too many characters in the mix. i read two South Asian writers who did the same, the saga was compelling but the characters underdeveloped and the plot kept repeating itself. which brings me to an interesting point, are we character or plot driven readers/slash writers? since most writers who blog are keen readers and vice versa. i am more plot driven and want minimal characters.
I think because we write such short fiction typically on our blogs we end up being plot-driven out of necessity, although I do believe it’s possible to have characters who are not cardboard cutouts even in short short fiction.
Most novels I read are plot-driven, but the best have fully realized characters. I think this how I would write a novel currently.
Love the scoring system! Also great review. I will be checking our your others soon.
Thank you! 🙂