Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Long Way Home / by Robin Pilcher

English-born Claire Barclay's mother remarried Leo after the family lost their father to cancer. It may have been a blessing in disguise because Leo became more beloved by Claire than her biological father could have been. So when Claire, now living in New York as a restauranteur with her adoring husband Art, receives word that Leo is ill and needs full-time care, she flies back to Britain, back to Leo's quaint Scottish manor, to be with him. The situation may seem relatively uncomplicated--Leo's physically incapable of living alone but refuses to leave his home--but it presents a problem for Claire and Art who, even though they agree to relocate temporarily to Scotland, are presented with Leo's lingering financial woes as well as his medical ones. To add to things, Claire's teenage love Jonas Fairweather is back on the scene as a local realtor/financier and Claire has to deal with her emotional feelings--she abandoned her romance with Jonas after meeting Art by chance just prior to her first year of college--as well as the logistical constraints relating to Leo.

Pilcher is actually the son of Rosamund Pilcher (cozy romance author of titles like Winter Solstice and An Ocean Apart) and shares many of his mother's stylistic charm and delicate relationship nuances. He's been well-received for previous titles and has found success in the mainstream as well as niche markets, however this book is a bit bland by comparison. While the plot is perfectly plausible, the story hovers too much around Claire's issues and though intermingling segments highlight her earlier life as well as her now happy partnership with her husband, there really isn't enough conflict to involve the reader in her story or emotions. The other characters read a little too formulaic. They're all a little too much like one another to provide any originality as the drama unfolds, leaving things a little too tame, even by cozy standards. The author's clearly not another Nicholas Sparks, nor is he Debbie Macomber, but his other titles may intrigue readers more than this one. (FIC PILCHER)

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