Here, Home, Hope, which will release on May 1st.
Thirty nine year old Kelly is ready for a change. It is summer time once again, which usually means that she packs on the pounds while her boys are away at summer camp in Maine. Different events in her life have lead her to realize that while she has loved her years as a stay at home mom that maybe she is ready to step back into the business world in order to work toward a balance between family and career now that her two boys are older.
She begins putting post it notes with reminders of positive change all over her house and car, grappling with exactly what she would like to change in order to feel more fulfilled. A suggestion by a real estate friend to start doing home staging quickly builds excitement as she ventures into a new career opportunity that is a perfect fit for her strengths.
Yet, her summer is not just about having a chance to focus on easing back into a working lifestyle while her boys are away for the summer. The plot is complicated by her best friends crisis, including becoming a temporary primary caregiver for one of her friend's teenage daughters who is trying to work through her own emotions.
I love the cover of the book because even though Kelly's life becomes so hectic during the book, a mixture of excitement, stress, and balancing an ever-growing to-do list, Kelly realizes the value in taking time to sit back and regroup. Just looking at the image calms me, making me want to take a deep breath and refocus. As I am often organizing my own priorities and to-do lists, this book emphasizes working toward a healthy balance that prioritizes the importance of personal happiness and its effect on overall family dynamics.
I also appreciated the blend of characters and scenarios that were developed throughout the book. Having the mixture of adult and teenage issues explored reminded me of Jennifer Weiner's Certain Girls. While Here, Home, Hope stuck with Kelly's first person narrative I noticed through reading the book that the time when I will have tweens and then teens will be here before I know it. Reading women's fiction that involves parenting those age groups will continue to catch my interest.
The title also made me think of Eat, Pray, Love. I enjoyed how that book was divided into sections or stages in the author's growth as she recounted her personal memoir. Here, Home, Hope also had that feel and was divided into a section for each word in the title, but the Home section is significantly longer than the others. Once again, I enjoyed this layout.
From the information at the back of the book and her website, I realized that Rouda has a passion for empowering women. While this is her first novel, she has another book Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs. I look forward to future novels that Rouda might write since I am noticing that I am enjoying women's fiction increasingly more than chick lit as it seems to be a closer match for where I am not with my family and career.
*Advanced reader's copy provided