Going Home by Judith Keim
Publisher & Release: Wild Quail Press, February 13, 2019
Time and setting: 20thcentury, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction
Book Length: 256 Pages
Heat Level: 1 Flame
Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns
In 1970, Violet Hawkins’ only wish at eighteen is to escape her life in the Dayton, Ohio, foster-care system and make her way to the west coast to enjoy a mellow life and find the love she’s been missing all her life.
She makes it to San Francisco, but soon learns she needs a job if she’s to live properly. A kind, young man named Kenton Chandler offers her a sandwich and a job at his father’s inn and vineyards.
With nothing to lose, Lettie takes him up on his offer and begins a whole new life in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. She immediately falls in love with the land and is fascinated with the idea of growing grapes in order to make wines. She, Kenton, and Rafe Lopez become friends as she learns about running the small inn on the property.
At the same time, she marries Kenton, a stroke kills his father. And then before she can tell Kenton she’s pregnant, he dies in an automobile accident. Heartbroken and burdened with the gift of the Chandler Hill Inn and Winery, she’s left with the task of making them a success. Struggling to raise a child alone while working to grow the business, Lettie makes a shocking discovery that changes everything.
Add to Goodreads:
This is the first book I’ve read by Judith Keim, and it will not be the last. I’m so glad I accepted an invitation from the publisher, via Net-Galley, to read and review. My opinions are my own are not influenced in any way.
I thoroughly enjoyed Going Home. It’s unique because it follows a woman’s entire adult life. I enjoy women’s fiction, and this is an excellent one. The pacing is great, keeping me engaged from the beginning to the end.
Lettie’s character is complex. She is flawed and at times impulsive, but she is so interesting, I fell in love with her. It’s no wonder she’s in a hurry to find someone to love after growing up in foster care. I could understand how she fell so quickly for Rafe, only to be cast off because he bows to his family’s expectations. She does not let it color her future. When love comes along with her friend, Kenton, again she falls hard and fast.
There are actually two main male characters and a key secondary one in Going Home. Rafe who marries another to satisfy his family and Kenton, the young man who saves Lettie from a life on the streets in San Francisco. Then Kenton’s father, a man who takes Lettie under his wing.
Rafe’s character did not appeal to me in the beginning of the book but more than redeems himself by the end of the book. I shall not say more because I do not want to have any spoilers.
Kenton’s character is steadfast and offers Lettie the stability she craves and a family who will love her. My heart ached when he is tragically killed in a car accident. Theirs was a love cut short.
The key secondary character is Kenton’s father. He recognizes Lettie’s talent in knowing what wine is best. He grooms her for his winery, which is a godsend for her. When he dies, she inherits Chandler Hill Inn and Winery and makes it highly successful.
As I mentioned, Going Home follows Lettie’s life. I felt her joy in first love, the fulfillment she begins to feel with Kenton. The pain of losing him so soon, before she even had a chance to tell him they were expecting a child. Lettie is not a natural born mother but none the less, she raises her daughter to be an independent young woman with a huge heart. I enjoyed following her life from young girl to a mature older woman, one who makes some mistakes while learning from them, and lives a full life.
I’m glad I took a chance on Going Home. If you enjoy women’s fiction, then you will love Going Home as much as I. I will definitely look for more books by Ms. Keim. Happy reading!