RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: A Mother’s Homecoming by Tanya Michaels


Title: A Mother's Homecoming
Author: Tanya Michaels
Publication Info: Harlequin 2011
ISBN: 978-0373753727
Genre: Contemporary Romance

A Mother's Homecoming This review was written by JB Hunt. This story was nominated in the Best Contemporary Series Romance categories.

The summary:     

For Pamela Jo Wilson, returning to her sleepy Mississippi hometown means coming face–to–face with her past. At seventeen, overwhelmed by the responsibilities of a new marriage and family, she fled Mimosa. But Nick Shepard wasn't the only one Pam left behind. Now, thirteen years later, she just hopes she can make things right with her ex–husband and the child she barely knows.

Nick's first instinct is to protect his daughter, but his little girl is hell–bent on meeting the woman who left her behind. With his own feelings for Pam being as powerful and all–consuming as ever, how can Nick know what he's feeling is real? And how can he trust Pam again?

First she has to convince him she's through running. That she's come home—this time for good.

And here is JB Hunt's review:

I was already a Tanya Michaels fan when I picked up A Mother’s Homecoming, so I knew what to expect: her trademark humor, engaging dialogue, emotion that grabbed the reader but didn’t pull her into an abyss of sentimentality.

To avoid spoilers (and there’s a BIG one in the very first chapter), I’m going to stay away from too much plot summary and focus on the reasons I think the novel belongs on the keeper shelf.

1. Second-chance-at-love stories are my favorite, so I was rooting for Pam and Nick from the start. Pam gets not only a second chance with Nick but also a second chance at motherhood with her daughter, Faith, who is now 12. Michaels balances the heat of a reignited romance with the very different emotions surrounding a mother-daughter reunion, and both emotional arcs are satisfying.

2. Pam is a recovering alcoholic, and the story treats this with the gravitas it demands, but there’s a balance between the reality of hitting bottom and lighter moments that feature Pam’s self deprecating humor. She takes her situation seriously, but she knows how to laugh at herself, too. And she is hella funny.
She describes her mother, Mae, who “possessed all the warmth and maternal instincts of a cottonmouth.” But Pam doesn’t let herself off the hook either. She admits she has “a boatload of mistakes to keep her humble. Possibly an entire fleet’s worth.” So yeah, Pam’s a bit of a mess, but I liked her from the start. The story never gets bogged down in her baggage. She is entertaining , even when (maybe especially when) she’s fighting hard to turn her life around: “It wasn’t that you couldn’t go home again, Pam thought as her car bounced in the exact same pothole that used to make Nick’s vintage Mustang stutter after their dates. You just have to be crazy or desperate to do it.”

3. The sex is pretty delicious. I would compare these scenes to some of Jenny Crusie’s – very hot but also very real, including some of the awkwardness of two people relearning each other’s bodies after a decade apart. There’s the remembered crazy passion of two high school seniors and the mature heat between adults who’ve been knocked around by life.

4. The setting is in the Deep South, but things don’t get too “precious southern” like some small town stories, thankfully. The particularly southern notes have an edge to them: “…Mississippi sun beat through her windshield with enough intensity to make her feel like an ant on the frying end of a juvenile delinquent’s magnifying glass.”

5. The story paints a vivid picture of 21st century parenthood, both within the tense and new mother-daughter relationship and the comfortable but changing relationship between Nick and Faith.

6. And the ending feels just as real. It’s not a fairytale. All the challenges don’t miraculously dissolve when people say “I love you.”

So even though Pamela Jo “with the voice of an angel” once envisioned riding back into Mimosa on a tide of celebrity rather than in her beat-up rattletrap of a car, she finds something a lot better than fame – joy, forgiveness, love, passion, hope. As a reader, it was really fun and kind of inspiring being along for the ride.

This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Sony | Kobo | All Romance eBooks.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Sally says:

    Well thought out and spot on review. I concur.

  2. 2
    Tanya Michaels says:

    Wow. Thank you so much for the thoughtful review (and for avoiding spoilers!!!)

  3. 3
    SB Sarah says:

    I try really hard to white out or disguise the spoilers, but I agree, JB gets mad props for writing an entire review when there’s a big ol’ twist in the first chapter. That’s a tough challenge in a review!

  4. 4
    infinitieh says:

    Awesome review!  I initially bought the book for the Thierry Pepin cover but now I actually will read it.

  5. 5
    Vicki says:

    I like the second chance at love stuff and the return of the prodigal parent stuff, too, but was dragging my feet due to the Southern setting (severe PTSD after attempting to move to the very rural south 20 years ago). However, I will give this a try based on your “not too precious” comment.

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