The Road Home
by Susan Crandall, contemporary (2004)
Warner, $5.99, ISBN 0-446-61226-X
Susan Crandall's The Road Home is a story that I find very well-written but also so familiar that soon it crosses the line separating predictability from formula. When I am reading it, I am enjoying the story. But when I put it down - and it's very easy to do so - I am not compelled to pick it up and resume reading anytime soon.
Lily Holt returns to Glen Crossing with her thirteen-year old son Riley. Riley is the usual Rebellious and Tormented Teen becoming a pro when it comes to juvenile delinquency, arson, and junkie behavior. Lily's ex-husband Peter is an alcoholic. Soon after she returns to Glen Crossing, Riley's latest misadventures force him to take up a job to pay off the damages he caused. He ends up working for Clay Winters who is Lily's first and forever love. As they always do in this kind of stories, Lily, Peter, and Clay go way back. Lily loves Clay since she met him for the first time when she was eleven. As the years passed, Lily and Clay planned to marry, but Clay never returned to her after promising that he would. So Lily married Peter instead and Clay was heartbroken. He still is, by the way. Can love triumph the second time around, at least before I completely fall asleep out of ennui?
Oh, and did I mention that Peter's parents are rich, interfering parents-in-law that make Lily's life difficult?
Clay is appropriately tortured, Lily is appropriately suffering in her maternal crusade for love and well-behaved children, Riley is appropriately convenient as a handy plot device for love and more, and the story never deviates from the formula much. Ms Crandall writes very well so I can't dismiss this book entirely, but at the same time, I really have read this story many, many, many times before. What is this poor reader supposed to say? The Road Home, alas, is a well-written bore.
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