In Home Another Way, Christa Parrish tells the story of Sarah Graham, a young woman who has lost her baby, her husband, and her place as a violinist at Julliard. She travels to Jonah, N.Y., to collect the money her father left her in his will. She’s broke, so the money will come in handy, but she’s blindsided by a provision in the will stating that she must spend six months in the small mountain town to pocket her inheritance. Sarah wants nothing to do with her father. She blames him for destroying their family and forcing her to live with a grandmother who refused to show her love or approval. Sarah can’t let go of this anger toward her father, and it has made it difficult for her to maintain relationships and enjoy life. The last thing she wants to do is live in her father’s house and interact with the town’s residents.
During her stay in Jonah, Sarah spends a lot of time with Maggie, the owner of the Jonah Inn who was in love with Sarah’s father; Beth, Maggie’s daughter and a waitress who was disfigured in a fire; Jack, Maggie’s son and the town’s pastor; Doc, a loner who spends nearly all of his time caring for Jonah’s poorest residents; and Memory, an outspoken woman who cares for her brain damaged son by herself and befriends Sarah when everyone else wants to stay away. At first I was afraid Parrish had created a cliche small town, complete with busybodies and goody goodies, but she quickly put my fears to rest. While the focus is on Sarah and her troubles, each of these characters has a story or a secret that helps Sarah on her journey to forgiveness.
Home Another Way is unlike many of the other Christian novels I’ve read, and that’s what I liked best about it. There are many themes within the book, such as forgiveness, adultery, abortion, divorce, and premarital sex, and Parrish is never preachy. Best of all, Sarah is unlike any character I’ve seen in Christian fiction (granted, I haven’t read all that much) because she’s not really religious. She’s promiscuous, vindictive, and angry, but also vulnerable and caring. She’s far from perfect…she’s real. The book didn’t end like I expected, and I was glad because it made it more believable. Parrish created a wonderful cast of characters in Home Another Way (she made me sad that there isn’t that small-town sense of community where I live), and I hope she revisits these characters in the future.
Disclosure: I received a copy of Home Another Way from Bethany House for review purposes. I am an Amazon associate.
© 2008 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.