A Long Way Home
Myra Hargrave McIlvain
File Size: 5351 KB
Print Length: 208 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: White Bird Publications, LLC (February 18, 2020)
Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
BLURB: After crippling her husband in an auto crash, Meredith Haggerty endures years of his abuse while harboring a plan to escape when she can make it look as if she died. She grasps her chance at freedom on 9/11 when she survives the fall of the North Tower. Heading to a new life in Mexico, her seat-mate on the bus is Father Jacque Richelieu who convinces her to teach English at his community center on the Texas Rio Grande. She finds a home, but she and the priest discover that they have not found themselves.
This was an interesting look at the aftermath of 9/11 from the point of view of someone who escaped one of the towers. Meredith, the central character, was very well drawn in this story, and her emotional reaction to having survived when so many of her coworkers did not is strong and real in the book. The internal tension she felt between relief at being able to escape from her abusive husband and guilt over how she did it was also very believable. I liked her as a character right away.
While Meredith is planning to go on to Mexico when she flees New York City, that plan is changed when she decides to stop in the Rio Grande Valley and work in the community center headed up by Father Rich. I especially liked the cast of characters who were part of that community center – the workers and the children and it was a interesting look at that kind of life in that part of Texas.
The story also touches on the dangers immigrants face trying to come to the United States from Mexico, and also reveals on a personal level what will compel a mother to send her son across the river.
For the most part everything works well in this book; the plotting, the characters, and the pacing. The only thing that caught me up a little bit was how quickly Father Rich and Meredith entered into the physical part of a relationship once he decided to leave the priesthood. For me, it would have been more believable had they stepped into that intimacy a little more tentatively, but then this is a romance novel on some levels and people who read purely for the romance element expect the physical part of the relationship to be prominent in the story.
Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the read. There was enough humor to make me smile now and then, as well as wonderful descriptions including this when Meredith is thinking about her father’s swift death from cancer, “Then he was gone, his body whisked away like dust on fine furniture.”
In the past I’ve read McIlvan’s Waters Plantation and reviewed it here, and I must say that I enjoyed this more contemporary story just as much.
Myra Hargrave McIlvain is a teller of Texas tales. Whether she is sharing the stories in her books, her lectures, or her blog, she aims to make the Texas story alive. She has freelanced as a writer of Texas historical markers, written articles for newspapers all over the country, and for magazines such as Texas Highways.
McIlvain has written six nonfiction books about famous and infamous Texas sites and characters. Her most recent, Texas Tales, Stories that Shaped a Landscape and a People, is a collection of 113 of her favorite Texas history blog posts. Her historical fiction includes Stein House and The Doctor’s Wife, both of which chronicle the development of the thriving German seaport of Indianola on the Texas coast. The characters in those award-winning books have recently returned in Waters Plantation an award-winning sequel that opens in 1875 post Reconstruction Washington County. A Long Way Home is McIlvain’s eleventh book. Visit her BLOG meet her on FACEBOOK and TWITTER and GOODREADS
Do come back on Wednesday when Myra will be my guest with a fun interview with Meredeth. In the meantime, be happy. Be safe. Be healthy.