Review: The Road Home by Erin Zak
Gwen up and left everything to pursue an acting career in California. And to be far away from her homophobic mother. Gwen reluctantly agrees to travel home for her father’s birthday party, only to discover that her mother is sick. There, she meets Lila, who has been somewhat of a replacement daughter for her parents since Gwen has been away.
The book was written well and flowed naturally. I was always interested in what was going to happen next. The author carefully constructed complicated relationships between Gwen and her mother, father, and friends. So there was a lot of anticipation to discover the inner workings of their dynamic and why Gwen needed to escape so long ago.
I love flawed characters, and this book was filled with them. Everyone was likable but weighted down by failed expectations, uncertain futures, the potential loss of loved ones, infidelity, etc. This was a tough book to get through because you were rooting for things to resolve for them but you kind of new that it wouldn’t be the happiest of all endings.
As the story progressed, I liked the chemistry between Gwen and Lila but I failed to understand why Lila was interested in Gwen. Gwen seemed more like an enigma to her than anything. The long lost daughter who is a semi-famous actress that nobody really speaks of. And when they are first introduced, Gwen is a raging b—- to her. I wish there would have been something on a deeper level that initially connected them to help me feel more invested into what could develop there.
The larger theme of this book is the strained relationship between Gwen and her mother. I have to say that I never really felt satisfaction of knowing why her mother treated her so poorly as a child and what/when was the catalyst for her change of heart. Seemed a little bit too easily wrapped up without providing the answers I was looking for.
And there was a bizarre reveal that I don’t think was necessary at all in this story.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. It was entertaining and just emotional enough for when you are in the mood for a rainy day romantic family drama.
I recommend this to those who like to read about romance, estranged families, terminal illness, caring for sick people, infidelity, volleyball, and flailing actors.
I received an ARC from Bold Strokes Books for an honest review.