Rowan Barnes has left her beloved hometown Portland, Oregon, to take her dream job. She landed the position as grill chef at a new up-and-coming restaurant in Texas. She feels completely out of her element amongst the pro-gun, pro-life, pro-God bumper stickers that seem to be everywhere. When she’s not on the job, she’s terribly homesick and to make matters worse, it seems like her friends from home are moving on without her.
Kate Landreth is Texas through and through with her southern drawl, flowing red hair, cowboy hat, and rifle skills. She’s got a big heart and is dedicated to her father and the cattle ranch they run.
When Rowan shows up at the Landreth Ranch to pick up the beef order for her restaurant, the two women are immediately drawn to each other. As they become closer, Rowan starts to see Texas through Kate’s eyes. Kate is reticent to give her heart to someone who isn’t sure they can make Texas their home. She’s not looking for a repeat in the broken heart department.
When Rowan finds herself at a surprising crossroads, she has to ask herself if home is where she grew up, or where her heart is?
I don’t think Kate and Rowan could be more likable. At first glance it appears like they are opposites – city girl meets country gal. That’s true to a certain degree. In her punk rock t-shirts, Rowan definitely sticks out when she arrives in Texas. Her liberal leaning sensibilities also set her apart. Most importantly, she is tremendously homesick and that keeps her from giving Texas a fair chance.
Kate is 100% country girl. She’s used to the wide-open spaces of her ranch and she’s just as comfortable in jeans and flannel as she is in a floral sundress. When she’s introduced in the book, it could have been set to a Dixie Chicks song.
Once I got to know Rowan and Kate it became clear they are more alike than different. They’re both incredibly kind, loyal, and driven. They go out of their way to introduce each other to favorite things from their respective hometowns in order to wipe away the stereotypes they bring to their friendship. In the end it’s clear they perfectly complement each other.
The Writing Style
Home is told in third person from both Rowan and Kate’s point of view. This worked for me because they each have a lot going on outside of their relationship. I needed that information so I could best understand what was weighing on them. The pace of the story is smooth and easy – never too rushed, never too slow. I thought the tiny details Alexander included in the book added to the character development and overall feel of life in Texas. There were also grand moments like kissing in a rainstorm that felt almost cinematic.
Alexander did a wonderful job making Texas a third main character. Her descriptions of the unbearable heat, delicious food, southern drawls, and starry skies engaged all my senses and now I’m considering a road trip to the Lone Star State.
None for me.
Home was a delightful read. It’s a familiar story with enough distinctive and charming details to make it feel fresh. With such likable characters it was easy to get caught up in the story and root for a happy ending. This book is perfect for a relaxing weekend of reading.
Excerpt from Home by Jenn Alexander
The texts from Rowan were a welcome distraction from what had otherwise been a long and unpleasant night. Rowan was a breath of fresh air during a suffocating time in her life. She had such a quick sense of humor and a zest for new experiences. Seeing Texas through Rowan’s eyes gave all of her mundane ranch life a certain magical quality. Their date to the rodeo (and Kate could now admit it was a date) had been so much more fun than she could have hoped. There was a tangible chemistry, but beyond her attraction to Rowan they had a natural, easy way of being together. It scared her a little to think Rowan might have the potential to grow into someone important. It was a terrible time for her to be dating anyone—for either one of them to be dating anyone—but that didn’t stop the optimism from bubbling free in her chest, a warmth that Kate happily embraced.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781612941691
- Publisher: Bywater Books
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