I extend my sincere thanks to Atria Books for gifting me an advanced copy of Lisa Duffy’s newest novel, This is Home.
In the seaside town of Paradise, MA, 16-year-old Libby Winters doesn’t have a typical home life. She lives on the middle floor of a triple-decker house with her father, Bent, and their 100-pound dog, while Bent’s sisters Desiree and Lucy cohabitate the top floor. A former soldier turned policeman, Bent, works nights, leaving Libby under her aunt’s supervision, and Libby wants nothing more than her independence.
Quinn Ellis’s idea of a perfect family has vanished, along with her husband John. After her husband’s two tours in Iraq, he carries the burden of war home with him and refuses to seek help for his PTSD. After an argument one night, he disappears. Months later, with John still gone and eviction notice in hand, Quinn finds herself living on the bottom floor of the Winter’s house.
Libby is skeptical of the new tenant downstairs, but soon, she realizes she and Quinn aren’t as different as she initially thought. As they both struggle with the often confusing realities of trauma, love, and identity, Libby and Quinn grapple with these questions: How does war change a person? What happens to loved ones left behind? What is the meaning of home?
When I first read the synopsis for This is Home, I knew it would be the perfect summer read for me. Upon starting the novel, I was drawn to both the characters of Libby and Quinn so I especially enjoyed how the novel alternated perspectives between the two women. Although Libby is younger than Quinn, she has been through a lot in her short life which has made her wise beyond her years. I had to remind myself on multiple occasions that Libby is only 17.
Lisa Duffy did a wonderful job highlighting the effects that war can have on not just a soldier, but that soldier’s family. There were numerous heartbreaking moments within the pages that really brought that aspect home to me. A quote that I found to be extremely poignant about Quinn and her role as a soldier’s wife; “It’s the wife I lose sleep over. It’s you. The one fighting a war you didn’t ask for.” This resonated with me on many levels as the spouse of a soldier is left fighting a war they didn’t ask for and even years after the war has ended, the spouse is likely still fighting the effects of that war.
I must add that there is a particular character in this story that I think served a major role in what This is Home is about. This character is a little different from all of the others; he’s big, furry, has four legs, spends the majority of his time on the couch, is pretty lazy and although he is a dog, he is affectionately named Rooster. I truly loved all that Rooster added to the story. Anyone who is an animal lover will appreciate his presence in Libby, Quinn and Bent’s lives.
Besides being the perfect summer read, this also makes for a great book club pick! I am thinking of recommending it to my own book club as there are aspects of This is Home that I am dying to discuss with a group!
Thank you again to Atria Books and Lisa Duffy for gifting me an advanced copy of this novel. This is Home will be published on June 11, 2019, and is available for pre-order now. e/O��K�