February 8, 2014

The Long Road Home

Cover of audiobook: The Long Road Home
The Long Road Home
Mary Alice Monroe
Published: Brilliance Audio 2010
Length: 14 hours 39 min
Narrator: Sandra Burr
Genre: Contemporary
Source: Own book
Her husband's suicide left Nora MacKenzie alone, and his shady Wall Street dealings left the Manhattan socialite penniless. By a miracle she's held on to their mountainside farm and she'll keep holding on, no matter what. The property is Nora's one chance to wring some dignity out of the sham she's been living. The Vermont locals think she's a princess on a back-to-nature kick, but she's not afraid to get her hands dirty. Nora's serious about learning the farming business if she can figure out where to begin. Against the locals' skepticism, she has only one ally: Charles "C.W." Walker. C.W. is hardworking, gentle with the animals and a patient teacher of the hundreds of chores Nora needs to learn. Slowly she starts to believe she'll survive in her new life, even flourish. She might even be willing to open her heart again. But she won't return to a life of lies and the truth about C.W. may be more than Nora's fragile heart can bear.

This was an audiobook that I enjoyed a lot.  It was well narrated by Sandra Burr and I was soon enveloped within the story in her capable narration.

The book begins with a prologue that sets the scene and changes the lives of some of the characters.  CW and  Nora lives are especially  turned around completely.  The value they once put in a busy, rich, powerful life dissipates and turns to the simple, hardworking way of those who eke out a living by the land.

Nora is gutsy and determined, everything seems to be against her, yet she learns what once would have been incomprehensible, and in doing so she finds herself truly at home.  On the farm that she and her husband bought, she meets CW, a man who is willing to help her make something of her life on the farm.  Yet always, we the reader know more, and wait with a dread overhanging our heads.  How will Nora handle all that there is to know?

CW has seen what power and ruthlessness can do, he has turned his back on it, yet he is still called back to it.  He shows that he still has the skill of a plotting chess player, one who is able to line up all his strong pieces and bring about the result that he desires.  He too will walk the long road home.

Some of the minor characters are a very much part of this book.  Seth the farmer, who is in charge of the farm and his delightful family.  Esther who at first resents Nora's intrusion, yet in the end is freed to follow her way home too.  May, the old aunt who has cared for her brother's children - Esther, Frank and Junior, is another character who brings the wisdom of family, love and support into their lives.  Nora sees and values them all, she comes to care deeply for them.  

Greed and power play agains faith, trust and love in this book and each character plays their part in strengthening either one or the other.  Who will win out?  Cunning is needed. The best chess player will win!
4 stars

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