‘Home at Last” by Deborah Raney

Deborah Raney

Link Whitman has settled into the role of bachelor without ever intending to. Now he’s stuck in a dead-end job and, as the next Whitman wedding fast approaches, he is the last one standing. The pressure from his sisters’ efforts to play matchmaker is getting hard to bear as Link pulls extra shifts at work, and helps his parents at the Chicory Inn.
All her life, Shayla Michaels has felt as if she straddled two worlds. Her mother’s white family labeled her African American father with names Shayla didn’t repeat in polite-well, in any company. Her father’s family disapproved as well, though they eventually embraced Shayla as their own. After the death of her mother, and her brother Jerry’s incarceration, life has left Shayla’s father bitter, her niece, Portia, an orphan, and Shayla responsible for them all. She knows God loves them all, but why couldn’t people accept each other for what was on the inside? For their hearts?
Everything changes one icy morning when a child runs into the street and Link nearly hits her with his pickup. Soon he is falling in love with the little girl’s aunt, Shayla, the beautiful woman who runs Coffee’s On, the bakery in Langhorne. Can Shayla and Link overcome society’s view of their differences and find true love? Is there hope of changing the sometimes-ugly world around them into something better for them all?
 Home at Last is a fitting and exciting conclusion to the Chicory Inn series.  I loved the romance of the series and the real-life problems that fill it.  Home at Last wraps up most of the family issues and gives them a satisfactory conclusion.
It didn’t all happen the way that I expected, though.  I wasn’t far into this last book before I was sure that I knew how it was going to end.  I thought I had the perfect solution to each person’s problems, but Raney totally through me for a loop there.  While I had one main event right, the rest all had twists that I hadn’t foreseen.  Being surprised by a book is always a happy thing.
One of my favorite aspects of this series is the way that Raney weaves the stories of the family members together.  I love the way that each story begins in a book prior to the one that tells their story and then continues on into other books.  Lane and Shayla’s story was shorter than the others since this is the last book, but their ending is satisfying.
Raney tackled big issues with each book:  adoption, social/economic status, race, family, etc.  This last one, with racial tension running high through each page, takes the suspense to a whole ‘nother level.  She asks you to really put yourself into Shayla’s shoes and consider all aspects of the events happening to her.  I appreciate this honest appraisal of the racial tension plaguing our country and enjoy Lane’s desire to improve them.
I hope that Raney has a new series on deck.  I wouldn’t want to have to wait long for more of her work. 

About the author:
 
Deborah Raney‘s novels have won numerous awards including the RITA, National Readers’ Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, the Carol Award, and have three times been Christy Award finalists. She and her husband, Ken Raney have traded small-town life in Kansas-the setting of many of Deb’s novels-for life in the city of Wichita.
Find out more about Deborah at http://deborahraney.com.
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I received a free copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity,  All opinions are my own.

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