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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

#ATBR2019 Review: This is Home by Lisa Duffy @atriabooks @lisaduffywriter @jessmapreviews

This is Home 
by Lisa Duffy

Thanks so much to Atria Books and Lisa Duffy for this endearing read.

Publisher: Atria Books
Publish Date: June 11, 2019
304 Pages
Genre: Contemporary

Sixteen-year-old Libby Winters lives in Paradise, a seaside town north of Boston that rarely lives up to its name. After the death of her mother, she lives with her father, Bent, in the middle apartment of their triple decker home—Bent’s two sisters, Lucy and Desiree, live on the top floor. A former soldier turned policeman, Bent often works nights, leaving Libby under her aunts’ care. Shuffling back and forth between apartments—and the wildly different natures of her family—has Libby wishing for nothing more than a home of her very own.

Quinn Ellis is at a crossroads. When her husband John, who has served two tours in Iraq, goes missing back at home, suffering from PTSD he refuses to address, Quinn finds herself living in the first-floor apartment of the Winters house. Bent had served as her husband’s former platoon leader, a man John refers to as his brother, and despite Bent’s efforts to make her feel welcome, Quinn has yet to unpack a single box.

For Libby, the new tenant downstairs is an unwelcome guest, another body filling up her already crowded house. But soon enough, an unlikely friendship begins to blossom, when Libby and Quinn stretch and redefine their definition of family and home.

My Review:

Listen up people!! If you have't read Duffy's The Salt House, I suggest you run out and buy that immediately and while you're there, might as well pick this one up too.  Both are solid 5 star reads for me and this one truly touched my heart because of the very real and important subject matter of PTSD that this story surrounds.  As a military brat and as someone who did a year internship at the Domiciliary Care Unit at the VA hospital in Dayton helping those with PTSD, this one just shot straight to my heart.  Especially in looking at the side of those who love those that suffer from this terrible affliction.  This is an extremely important subject that should absolutely be discussed and honestly, I'm horrified at our government and the limited access and help that the VA gets to help the military personnel that need it from defending our country and people.  Uff - /rant or this will turn into a soapbox and not a review.

So, back to the story at hand.  Duffy does an extremely good job in touching on PTSD - and really looking at the different sides.  She also dips her toe in addiction and domestic abuse in this story but it translates so smoothly across the pages that you don't even realize you're eyes are about to leak until your vision goes hazy and you think you're going blind.  The last few chapters really just squeezed my heart.  I was IN IT.  Now, before you think this is such a bleak and highly emotional read (which it IS very emotional), the author also manages to sprinkle in humor that helps balance this out.  All the characters... ALL of them, are al so very real and human that you can't help but get involved with each and every one of them.  EACH AND EVERY ONE. 

Libby is someone I would love to sit down on a porch and talk with - where I'm sure she would teach me some very important lessons.  Desiree and Lucy are two I would grab a beer or two with (or attend a work out class with).  I'd rub Rooster's tummy and I would go out of my way to help Quinn.  Let's not forget about Jimmy and Flynn - these two ... oh these two.  Listen, I could go on and on about these characters.  And can I please have Bent as a second father?  While the storyline and plot itself is an amazing read, it is the characters that absolutely make it.  Duffy created a family that I am very pleasantly and delightfully happy to have been a witness of. 

Lisa, I need more stories from you.  I have created a little home inside your brain because that's where I want to live right now!  Also, everyone, I am honored to be in her acknowledgments.  Never for a second question whether or not your support and reviews make a difference to every author out there. 


Jessica's Review:

When THE SALT HOUSE released a couple years ago, I instantly knew that Lisa Duffy would become a new auto-buy author for me. Well, her second novel, THIS IS HOME did not disappoint. I highly recommend going out and picking up both of these, right now. What I loved the most about THE SALT HOUSE was how effortlessly Duffy seemed to weave the story and the characters all while pulling at your heart strings and making you experience all of the ups and downs with them.

We meet Libby, a teenager who is dealing with the death of her mother while navigating living with her dad and her two aunts. Her father, Bent, is a former soldier now working as a policeman and with his schedule Libby is frequently with her aunts, Lucy and Desiree. They live in the third floor apartment of this three story home. Soon, Quinn moves into the first floor apartment. A woman whose husband is dealing with PTSD after his multiple tours in Iraq. Her husband was in Bent's platoon and he is willing to do whatever he can to help them.

The characters feel entirely real. While the plot is solid and holds your interest, the characters are what captivate you. Duffy touches on the ever-present issues of those suffering with PTSD, as well as the way it affects those around them. Despite there being a lot of characters, none of them feel lost in the story. Every single person has their own unique voice and their own struggles. While I'm not one to cry when reading (or at movies, TV, etc), I can see this being an emotional one for some readers out there (I just know my mom will be one of them - she's looking forward to this one!).

Now, the waiting game begins for Lisa's next novel!

5 stars

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