Charlene Ann Baumbich, author of the Dearest Dorothy series, STRAY AFFECTIONS and DIVINE APPOINTMENTS, writes nonfiction books of humor and inspiration. Call her the evangelical Erma Bombeck, and you pretty much have it right. Baumbich’s comical style reads through even her most tender moments of drama and real-life mishaps and miseries. Reading one of her books will make a reader both laugh and cry (and sometimes do both simultaneously).
"Beautifully engaging throughout, this lovely tale of a broken-hearted, broken-bodied middle-aged woman entwines itself with an able-bodied, full-hearted young woman, and Baumbich weaves a fine story of love, friendship and sacrifice that is fully satisfying."
In her newest fiction offering, FINDING OUR WAY HOME, Baumbich creates a once principal ballerina named Sasha Davis, who has suffered a career-ending fall while performing with her dancer husband, Donald. As Ms. Davis grieves the loss of her illustrious career, she attempts to recover in the security of her hometown in Minnesota, living in her recently deceased beloved mother’s home. Ms. Davis, or better known to mere commoners as Sasha, hires a youthful caretaker, Evelyn Burt, who in every way is her polar opposite.
Large, a bit clumsy, gregarious, somewhat unrefined, but with a heart as big as Texas, Evelyn does her level best to meet every physical and emotional need Sasha has, which is not an easy task as Sasha seems bent on making Evelyn the object of her unhappy disdain. At the ripe age of 19, Evelyn already runs her own odd job business and is newly engaged. This disturbs her parents and causes a growing rift between them. Her fiancé, Jorden, doesn’t help smooth matters out since he has a reputation as a player around their small town. Evelyn’s folks want her to attend college first and foremost before making a lifetime commitment of marriage. Still, Evelyn is strong-minded and able-bodied, and it takes more than parental frowning to dissuade her.
Day by day, Evelyn and Sasha fall into a predictable routine whereby Evelyn caters to the beck and call of her employer. Only after Sasha’s surgeons and specialists decide it’s time for the fallen ballerina to start physical therapy does life with the recluse start to change. Sasha slowly begins to look back on her life as a ballerina and introspectively grieve not only the loss of her career, but also of her marriage, which she single-handedly attempted to end. As her body slowly mends and she becomes stronger and more mobile, Sasha changes inside as well. Just in the nick of time too, for the always able and capable Evelyn is suddenly faced with tragedy and heartbreak of her own, and the once-caregiver becomes the one being taken care of.
Beautifully engaging throughout, this lovely tale of a broken-hearted, broken-bodied middle-aged woman entwines itself with an able-bodied, full-hearted young woman, and Baumbich weaves a fine story of love, friendship and sacrifice that is fully satisfying. Tender and tasteful, FINDING OUR WAY HOME will happily find its home in the libraries of countless new readers.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on March 20, 2012