Publisher: Ballantine Books, Jan.29, 2013
My Rating: B+
I’ll tell you up front – I liked this story a lot. I’ve read and loved every book in this Chesapeake Bay series. The author, Mariah Stewart, has a special gift for creating unique characters and, in the case of this series, a whole small town full of interesting people. They all fit together nicely. Character have a way of showing up occasionally in other novels in the series. I like that. It’s not necessary to start at book one. They can stand alone.
The Long Way Home is the story of Ellis Chapman, now calling herself Ellie Ryder. Ellie has come to St. Dennis because she inherited a beautiful old house here. It belonged to her great aunt for decades and then passed to Ellie’s mother and now to her.
The house is actually a refuge for Ellie as well as a chance for her to make some badly needed money. She needs a way to move on with her life. Ellie’s father committed crimes similar to Bernie Madoff. He is now in prison. Everything he and Ellie owned was taken from them by the courts. The scandal also kept Ellie from getting a job. Hence the assumed name and a need to make some money.
Ellie’s mother stipulated in her will that this grand old house would pass to Ellie on one condition: she must live in the house for six months. After that, she can do whatever she wants with it.
Although Ellie has always had staff to do these chores, she now must learn how to clean and polish, strip wallpaper, rip up linoleum, paint, and all the things she needs to do to make the house presentable for sale.
But Ellie is a fighter and she’s not alone. There are people in St. Dennis willing to be her friends. Cameron, a hot-looking contractor is willing to offer construction tips and labor. Her childhood friend, Carly, has loaned her a car, given moral support, and now discovered some art treasures in the house that might be worth a fortune.
What is holding Ellie back is her unwillingness to be honest with the people in St. Dennis. She doesn’t want them to know who she is, or rather who her father is. She is convinced she will be treated and abandoned by the people of St. Dennis in the way her former friends and colleagues did in the past. She wants to stay anonymous until the six months are up and she can sell the house and move on.
As time goes by Ellie becomes attached to the house, the people in St. Dennis, and even a sweet little stray dog. Ellie must learn to handle her attraction and friendship with Cameron who has a few secrets of his own. It’s a great ride getting to the happy ending. It’s fun and it’s interesting digging into the lives of these fascinating characters. Thank you Mariah Stewart for another great story.
Recommend? Yes, get on board with this series. Try at least one although I bet you can’t read just one.