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Home Before Dark Mass Market Paperback – 1 Feb 2004
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"Susan Wiggs tackles contemporary issues in the crucible of family with gutsy poignancy and adroit touches of whimsy that make for an irresistible read."
About the Author
Susan Wiggs is the author of many beloved bestsellers, including the popular Lakeshore Chronicles series. She has won many awards for her work, including a RITA from Romance Writers of America. Visit her website at www.SusanWiggs.com.
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I enjoyed following the relationship between the women and Lila, who is a teenager, rebellious, stroppy, hormonal and determined to have fun and live life in the fast lane. As you are reading the book you couldn't help wondering just how she would react to finding out the truth about her birth and wanting to get to that part of the read.
There is also a romantic interest in the book for Jessie. At first I wasn't too sure about this, as Dusty seemed "too perfect" for her - a bit too over confident about what he wanted and expected to get. He seemed just a tad too eager to move things on, and in his position as a single parent he should maybe have been a little more cautious, taken things a little slower, but as the story went on I warmed to him more.
Jessie's other secret does get revealed eventually, although the reader knows about it long before the other characters in the book. This was perhaps my favourite part of the book as I found the changes to Jessie's day to day life intriguing, thought provoking and fascinating to read about. I am being deliberately vague here, so as not to spoil the read.
An enjoyable read about a family and its relationships that you can really lost in.
Jessie Ryder is a successful photographer but with secrets. The first secret is that Lila, her niece, is actually her daughter. Her sister Luz and her husband Ian took Lila the moment she was born and have brought her up as their own child along with three sons that came along later. But there are more secrets that Luz doesn't know - Jess and Ian had a brief fling before he got together with Luz and Ian is the father of Lila - both adoptive and natural. But there are even more secrets; Jessie is visiting them now, after sixteen years, as she is losing her sight and wants to take a final `look' at her family, particularly her daughter, before it all goes dark.
Jessie is an interesting character and I wasn't always sure I liked her. She deals with emotions by running away and never seems to stick with anything. She comes like a whirlwind into Luz and Ian's life and appears to be causing disruption - teenager Lila is becoming wayward and ends up involved in a tragedy, and even the grieving widower next door gets sucked in to Jessie's mayhem. And yet she's also a woman who feels greatly for the mistakes that she has made in her life and who wants her family to be happy and does what she can to further that.
Despite me not really being interesting in family relationship books this one was very good - I wanted things to turn out well, for Jess and her sister to go back to the close relationship that they formerly had, for Jess to have the support she would need in her future. This book portrayed the complex family dynamics that can take place in what seem to be ordinary lives and the ways in which those we love can hurt us as well as heal us. There's a gentle and sweet romance in the book too, as well as a fascinating vignette into what it must be like to go blind as an adult. I recommend this book as an enjoyable and excellently-written read.
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