Twenty years ago, Claire Maloney was the willful, pampered, tomboyish daughter of the town's most respected family, but that didn't stop her from befriending Roan Sullivan, a fierce, motherless boy who lived in a rusted-out trailer amid junked cars. No one in Dunderry, Georgia - least of all Claire's family - could understand the bond between these two mavericks. But Roan and Claire belonged together...until the dark afternoon when violence and terror overtook them, and Roan disappeared from Claire's life.
Now, two decades later, Claire is adrift, and the Maloneys are still hoping the past can be buried under the rich Southern soil. But Roan Sullivan is about to walk back into their lives....
By turns tender and sexy and heartbreaking and exuberant, A Place to Call Home is an enthralling journey between two hearts - and a deliciously original novel from one of the most imaginative and appealing new voices in Southern fiction.
Just finished "A Place to Call Home" . . . I wish I could give it TEN STARS . . . It's billed as a romance novel, but I beg to differ. I don't buy romance novels. But I bought this audio book. It IS a story of love, one that began in childhood, with a depth of compassion, bravery and loyalty that many adults could learn from. Deborah Smith is an excellent writer, capturing the essence of small town life in the south perfectly, the love of family, the "charity" for the "less fortunate", the turning of a "blind eye", the scenic back roads, and the "other side of the tracks". She puts a face on those that the "nice" people often choose to overlook. I find this most refreshing, having grown up as the daughter of an alcoholic and having Sunday School teachers who never spoke of it or acknowledged it. There is a reason that Jesus says we must come to Him as little children. I think that's the most striking thing throughout this book. Roan and Claire, damaged and hurt, kept the untarnished, unquestioned love for one another that began in childhood. When family failed, community failed, and even when they failed themselves, faith did not fail. This is by no means a religious book. But it's a clean book, it's a redemptive story. It brings people and their failings full circle.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
This was a funny, sad, up lifting and heart breaking story. The book is in 2 parts. Part one is when they are children. The things the little girl says and does mad me LOL... at work no less. The author really had a way with a child's point of view. Great Job! Part 2 jumps 20 yrs later. They come together and help one another threw past and present problems. This book is a true romance of the heart and sole. (So, not a steamy sex filled book.)
9 of 10 people found this review helpful
A Place To Call Home is an involved story arc about a huge family-I was tempted at times to make a list of who went with what family, but I finally gave up and simply flowed with the tale.
I really got a kick of Smiths 'Claire' character.... as a youngster-a snotty tomboy with mean big brothers, she thought she had to be brash to make herself seen. She reminded me of myself as a 10 year old-tall, lanky and awkward with an impossible kinky home perm my grandma had to give me every summer to keep my hair 'controlled' over vacation Calire is sweetly and realistically written by Deborah Smith and very much the center of the novel. Her casually adopted local bad boy, who protected her from the mean kids was also written with both realistic frailties and boldness.Their childish love and faithfulness to each other seemed very realistic. Deborah Smith has a way of showing a lot of humanity in her characters. They came to life for me. Especially the grannies. There was an era of grannies on that generation who ruled the house. Granny Elizabeth and Granny Alice were very familiar personalities to me.
Kymberly Dakin did a wonderful job keeping all the names and southern drawls straight and well as keeping the plethora of family members alive in my mind. I'd be happy to listen to another move narrated by her anytime.
This was a super fat summer listen-coming in at 14 hours I believe, it kept me entertained by the pool during scorching hot weather. I was listening to it on my iPad without headphones and another mom came to watch her child by the pool. I was politely putting my headphones on when she asked me if I would just leave the iPod on so she could listen along with me. We both became engrossed with the storyline over several days and, though I continued to play it in the evening for an hour or so, when I came back to to the pool, my neighbor would ask if we could listen again-Deborah Smith was a new author for both of us and very much enjoyed.
Not a lot of drama-but what there is is compelling. It's a very nice family story of growing up, lives changes and finding lost loves. This isn't literature - it isn't a bodice ripper - and it isn't overly peppered with sex and profanity for those who are offended easily..there is some but it's in context and not gratuitous.
Definitely a woman's book, with a lot of scenic southern back country, family intrigue and errors of judgment, changes in opinions as happens to real families. I hope Smiths other books are so realistically told. It was worth my credit and I'm downloading another Deborah Smith right now.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
What did you love best about A Place to Call Home?
I love theat the town "looser" became somebody because one little girl paid attention to him. The author accuartely portrayed the life of a "throw away" kid. Iloved the type of love bewtween Roni and Claire. I was not "weird" even with the age difference. I loved how Roni would make promises and they all came to pass. I loved that they were able to hang on for so long. Everything all came to be a big circle.
What other book might you compare A Place to Call Home to and why?
Not any one book in particular. I love the stories where all is lost and one day the loved one comes back into their life (lives).
What does Kymberly Dakin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Kimberly Dakin did a great job with the southern accent and tempo. She was made it easy to listen to with distinct voices for everyone and used the proper inflection. Everything was well played out and in context with the character's personality and emotions.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
The letters. It was sad/glad/longing and all of that. Roni wrote all of those letters to Claire not knowing if he would ever see Claire again in person.
Any additional comments?
This was a suprisingly sweet story. I took a chance on it being that I have not heard of the author or the book, but it was worth it. A love story the the bone. Definately worth your credit.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
I really loved this story, the first part while Clare and Roan are children, the second part as adults. It is about family - the joys and failings. Wonderful old people, amazing young members of family.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I have this on my library for some time now and i just finished re-reading it. Claire and Roan are true characters brought to life by Deborah Smith. There were certain circumstances to the story which i can relate to. Life of people i know, not the same but the upheavals of family and townspeople drama.
Their childhood connection brought them back together despite the long and arduous years apart. Roan recreated his own family when he took a young boy into his care and brought him as his son, only...... And Claire, she stayed true to her heart. The heartbreak, the inspiration, and hope of life together with Roan was almost a never.
It's a long enjoyable and at the same time a frustrating listen because when it was over, I was lost and looking for more of their story. I enjoyed listening to the narrator too. I'm actually trying to get all Deborah Smith's audiobooks slowly.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
The storyline was really good, the narration was really good, using my Lord's name in vain is so disgusting and un necessary
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
My only critique was in the author's long drawn out explanation of the many relatives. The who's who history of the families, cousins, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews.
Who owned what and where. There were so many of them, it was hard to keep them all straight. But less would have been better..The author wrote with humor and the narrator did an excellent job. Anyone from a small town could relate to the subject of this book and how cruel small town living once was by a certain few.The division of classes, the cruelty of children who were better off than others. In all, I liked the message of this book.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful
MUCH too long. The story could have been told in half the time. The extended family was an unnecessary distraction.
Loved the book. It was like listening to someone telling you a story.