I have been a longtime fan of Juliette Fay’s. Her previous books --- SHELTER ME and DEEP DOWN TRUE --- were both Bets On selections, thus when THE SHORTEST WAY HOME came across my desk, I was excited to read it. Here, Sean Doran has spent 20 years overseas in the third world helping others. Tired of his work and in need of a break, he comes home to Belham, Massachusetts, where he sees that life for his elderly aunt, his sister and his nephew is in need of some of his attention. He assesses what is going on with the same methodical techniques he learned overseas, only to come to see that he too is in need of attention. He sees that he has been avoiding a lot of things in his own life, including dealing with the loss of his mom from Huntington’s Disease and his dad, who left his three young children with the aunt and went away. An old crush crosses paths with him, as well as a young woman who was a wallflower in high school who walks back into his life, and suddenly feelings of attachment start to creep up when he least expected them.
I never knew where the story was going to head, and Juliette does a wonderful job of building tension and ratcheting up the plot while balancing a deep look into many of the characters. No easy feat!
Also, those who love Lisa Genova, who does a stunning job in her work of tackling issues with the brain within her fiction, will appreciate how Juliette here explores both Huntington’s Disease and Sensory Processing Disorder within the storyline of THE SHORTEST WAY HOME. And she does a brilliant job of it as well. Oh, and attentive readers will recognize that Belham is where SHELTER ME was set, and some familiar faces from that book make their way in here. Nice to see what they have been up to!