Love Comes Home
The year is 1945. The war is finally over, and the Merritt sisters, along with their family and friends in Rosey Corner, Kentucky, rejoice as their beloved soldiers finally return home from battle. All except one sister’s soldier, that is.
These siblings couldn’t be more different. Beautiful Kate is dependable and conscientious. Married to Jay in a whirlwind romance just before he shipped out for Europe, she works for a Lexington newspaper and fills her days with writing as she waits with anticipation for his return from serving in Germany. Stylish Evie has long been the pampered daughter of her family, and her focus is largely on external beauty, whether it’s in her home or her own appearance. Like Kate, she has found employment, working as a secretary. She is anxious for husband Mike to return home and to pastoring, as she has plans for them both. Tori, who is quiet, outdoorsy and hesitant, is seeking to find her way through grief after a shattering loss. And youngest sister Lorena Birdsong is the joy and delight of her adoptive family, yet she feels in her heart that something is missing.
"Gabhart has drawn a lovely and bountiful tale of life in a small town you’ll want to visit yourself, with characters so vibrant and true you’ll wish they were your own family."
The Merritt sisters aren’t quite prepared for the changes that the fighting has brought into their lives. Jay, stationed in Germany, has seen things that have rocked his soul, yet he has found hope in the midst of despair. Temperamental Evie is anxious to resume her position as a pastor’s wife upon Mike’s homecoming, but is quite confounded when he doesn’t seem much like the same man who left to fight. He isn’t able to slip back into the pastor’s role he vacated when he enlisted. But how can he? Fighting the enemy and struggling with war have left him with questions of faith and life that he can’t quite answer. And Tori waits, simply existing at her parents’ home, caring for baby daughter Samantha and fishing. Her heart cries out for her beloved husband who will never return, lost forever in a Japanese prison camp. Each of these women --- and Lorena (or Birdie, as Jay calls her) --- learns that war changes not only those who fight, but also those who stay at home.
But life does go on, and transitions and transformations are on their way. Tori is quietly pursued by a Rosey Corner farmer who she thinks she wants nothing to do with. But is she creating not only a reputation for herself, but also a future as the newest town hermit and oddball? Evie wants the life she imagined when she married Mike in prewar days. How can she face a life other than the one she’s planned? Kate has always believed that she can fix everything for everyone, but soon discovers that she has her own issues to deal with. And Lorena’s deepest question is why her birth parents left her on the steps of the town church. Didn’t they love her? Didn’t they want her? And does she really want to try to find them?
Join the Merritts as they venture out into postwar life and love. Ann H. Gabhart has created rich characters and relationships among the Rosey Corner characters who deeply engage and captivate the reader. How will Tori decide to live the rest of her life without her wonderful husband? Will tragedy derail Kate’s and Jay’s satisfying marriage? What will Lorena do when she discovers her childhood history? And can Evie and Mike reclaim the calling that God has placed on them?
The Merritt sisters can’t imagine the lives ahead. Or the challenges they’ll have to endure in this new, postwar life. But as they faithfully move forward with the help of God, family and neighbors, they’ll find that hope and love await them.
Gabhart has drawn a lovely and bountiful tale of life in a small town you’ll want to visit yourself, with characters so vibrant and true you’ll wish they were your own family. All of the characters --- including wise old Aunt Hattie, odd Fern, steadfast Clay, and, of course, the Merritts --- will settle themselves in your heart and make you sorry when you’ve reached the end of this beautiful book. LOVE COMES HOME shares with us the personal strengths and commitments that made the individuals of the Greatest Generation so great. It reads beautifully as a stand-alone title, but if you’d like to revisit Rosey Corner and learn more about the Merritts (as I think you will), you’ll want to read ANGEL SISTER and SMALL TOWN GIRL. Both books will entrance and delight you, just as LOVE COMES HOME will.
Reviewed by Melanie Reynolds on August 13, 2014