Almost Home

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 05 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

I kept seeing this book pop up as I was browsing titles and there was something about the cover that I kept coming back to. I finally decided to check it out and I am glad that I did. Almost Home is the story of Dolly and Si and their boarders . In a small town in Alabama, a couple takes in boarders to help pay their tax bill on their beautiful home, which has been passed on down Dolly’s family line. They are also building a lake and a skating rink, which will help bring in income. The story really focuses on the people who come to stay though. There is a couple whose farm failed and they needed an escape. Another couple of professors who lost their jobs due to the war and the Great Depression. There are also 2 vets, one of which is still healing from his time in the service. Then there is a young widow who lives down the road and befriends them all. Each person will find that living with Dolly and Si will bring them to healing and togetherness, while also building amazing bonds of friendship. Throw in some old pirate tails and story of buried treasure and you have a real adventure. This story made me laugh and gasp and cry and wish for more. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a refreshing story about love and life and all that means. I received a free copy of this story from NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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Si and Dolly have fallen on tough times and rent our rooms in their giant home. It seems they minister to their boarders, in addition to housing and feeding them. They model marriage for them and they treat all as family. Ann and Jesse have left a failing farm to get their feet back under them and get their marriage on track. Daisy, a WWII widow and Reed, sent home from the war with physical wounds and PTSD, find healing in their new friendship. The back story is of Catherine and the pirate Andrew and their love story and mysterious disappearance. Other boarders carry part of the story, along with the expelled couple who were asked to leave the home.
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My introduction to Valerie Luesse was a surprising delight.  Almost Home gave such a breath-taking view of life at home during World War II.  The United States is just coming out of a decade long depression and people are looking for jobs wherever they can find them. 

Dolly and Si have a boarding house in Blackberry Springs, Alabama.  They are trying to save money to pay the taxes on the house so that they won't lose it.  Si has lots of schemes to come up with the money.  His latest being building a lake and a skating rink in an old barn.  Some of the residents help Si out during their free times.

Dolly uses her home as a place of healing for those who need it.  Anna and Jesse are a young couple who have moved from Illinois to Alabama so that Jesse can work and save money to go back to their farm.  Reed is a wounded soldier who needs to heal from his mental and physical wounds.  Although Daisy doesn't live in Dolly's boarding house, she needs Dolly's healing touch too.  She is a widow of the war, and needs to give herself permission to start over.

Underneath the over-arcing story is the story of Andre and Catherine--a pirate and a preacher's daughter.  All kinds of legends and myths revolve around Andre, including a buried treasure.

This is definitely a five star book, with two thumbs up, and a diary/map to the treasure.

My thanks to Revell Publishing and for providing the galley I read.
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I really enjoy this authors writing! I don't read much fiction that is set in the time frames she writes in. Its just not something I am all that interested in, but I make an exception for her! Her characters are always deeply layered and written just like real people with real problems and emotions. I can easily put myself in their shoes, even though they lived years ago and in a situation that I have never been in. And I think that is a sign of a wonderful writer!
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Christian Historical set in Alabama during the war. A couple lives near an Army plant in a big old house where they took in boarders to help pay their taxes. Money and jobs were in short supply but there was work at the Army plant. These people, mainly three couples, came together in this big old house, living as best they could. This story is full of wonderful Southern warmth, charm and humor. You'll just love these people who are all struggling in their own way, trying to get by, putting a good face on it and learning from each other in the long run. The bond that they form is very strong. This is a new author for me - I'm a fan now.

"We both like tendin’ to our own knittin’ and don’t get on each other’s nerves.”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher and NetGalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Almost Home is a delightful Southern Historical story set in the 1940s.  I loved the characters and the boarding house setting sets up a wonderful set of circumstances.  This book is so charming and I loved reading it.
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Almost Home is a lovely historical novel set in a boarding house in 1940's small town Alabama.   Recommended for fans of historical fiction and inspirational fiction.
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This was a story that kept me guessing until the end. And left me wanting more. What a wonderful description of how a group of strangers became friends and all survived the depression and the second world war. The story takes place in Blackberry Springs, Alabama. You will genuinely care for  Ms. Luesse's characters. We have a wonderful mix of people, who have all suffered lose and find themselves at Dolly's boarding house. It would be hard to pick a favorite. We have an unemployed couple of professors from Chicago, an estranged young couple from the Midwest, a widower from Mississippi,  and a shattered young veteran struggling to heal from the war. There are a couple of outstanding neighbors as well, a young widow named Daisy and a special older blind neighbor named Lillian. There is so much to this book. You will learn what it means to help your neighbor. How to be a true friend. And how sharing helps the load grow lighter. This could have been a dark and sad novel, but I loved the way this author was able to draw hope out of the darkness.  I enjoyed this story so much and I would definitely recommend it.  I received a copy of this book from Revell through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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Book Court - Where I'm the Judge and Jury

CHARGE (What is the author trying to say?): To explore the effects of World War II and the Great Depression.

FACTS: A family home becomes a boarding house as a couple tries to save their home. Their assorted guests are all fleeing something. A young couple runs from their failed farm, professors flee their closing university, a widow escapes the pain of losing her young husband, and a veteran flees the horrors of war. Can they find what they were searching? Can the home be saved? Can a local treasure legend be solved? This is a sweet story of healing and redemption.

VERDICT (Was the author successful?): Guilty, as charged. A very pleasant read.

#AlmostHome #NetGalley
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"Almost Home" is a story that is beautifully shared and will have the reader longing for a circle of people to live life with such as the characters in the book.  Blackberry Springs is a place that is changing so much due to World War II and Dolly finds her home changing and her life both after she opens her open to be a boardinghouse.  As Dolly connects with newcomers to town and neighbors, she realizes she needs them all just as much as they all need her home and each other.  Tragedy and changes can create a wedge between people, but it can also build a tie just as strong and result in hope.  Reading this book painted such vivid pictures for me, as the author's style of writing is so descriptive and flowy, it felt as if I was a part of the story.  I loved getting to know the characters, they all became so real to me and I loved learning their stories and seeing the bonds that they all built with each other.  As the intrigue and backstory of the house draws them even more together, I loved seeing this play out and this aspect of the story as it added an additional element to it.  I am looking forward to reading what Valerie will write next!
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Almost Home is a pretty good read. I enjoyed this book. I give four stars. I recommend it for other readers who love a well written and clean fiction.
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I liked this book very much. It pulls you in from the start and makes you want more. 

Great setting, time period and characters. A southern novel at it’s best for sure. I enjoyed this book and learned a few things along the way. 

I highly recommend this book. It’s a 4.5 stars from me.

Thank you NetGalley and Revell for a copy in exchange for an honest review. Loved it!!
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You know that this will be a Southern novel when the author starts out by talking about “Yankee carpetbaggers” as boarders, but this genuine language brings out the charm of the owners and the setting - southern Alabama! 
Miss Dolly and her husband, Si, rent out rooms to the Clanahans, a dreadful couple, Anna and Jesse Williams, a young couple who need a fresh start, Dr. and Mrs. Hastings, university professors who need jobs, and Joe Dolphus, a widower in search of work.
The Clanahans are ordered to leave the house the first evening that Anna and Jesse are there for insulting their hosts and Dolly’s cooking!
The house they live in, which Dolly calls “Little Mama’s house”, is a Southern landmark, which is lovingly cared for by its’ owners, is a farmer “river pirate’s house.” Dolly and Si changed an old barn into a roller skating rink, and they are planning on making a lake for the whole community to enjoy and to help pay for the taxes on their home.
You will have to read the story for yourself to find out how living with Dolly and Si changes and enriches everyone’s lives, and how a decades-old mystery is solved!
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This is a southern story. Set in Alabama in those good 'ole days. Dolly's home is the place that Jesse and Anna find themselves, after they've lost everything they owned. They've forgotten why they fell in love and almost lost each other in the bargain.

Dolly. She opens her doors and makes her boarders feel like family.

There's also the story from the past...about a new bride and groom who vanished on their wedding day. Nobody knows what happened to them, it was believed that they drowned.

Dolly's friends are determined to find out what happened.

Along the way, they find themselves again.

This is a sweet and heartwarming story. That hint of mystery kept me turning pages. I also enjoyed the depths of each character as they discovered again their purpose in life.

Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books from various sources, including, publishers, publicists, authors, and/or NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review, and have not received any compensation. The opinions shared here are my own entirely.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
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Genre: WWII, historical, Christian fiction.

My Rating: 4 stars.

My Recommendation: 16 up.

My Favorite Character/s:  Each of the characters is one of a kind, and I love following each of their stories. I can't say I have a favorite though since each one made the other better. They were people bonded into a family by tragedy, friendship and an eternal Love.

My Thoughts: This story opened on an easy to follow and mesmerizing description of what life was like during WWII. I loved this story, it was so interesting and a new look at WWII for me. The whole book was so deep and the characters' struggles so real that the book just kept me swiping from one page to the next. 

Warnings: There are suggestions of . . .  not ghosts but I'm not sure really what to say what but like the house was "living". Which made me uncomfortable.

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, and I am truly happy to provide it!
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This story will make you laugh and cry.  I did not want to put this book down.  This is the type of story that shows how people take care of other people during crises.  These were people’s that didn’t know each other but who grew to love one another.  They grew to be a family even when they were not related.  I loved the characters and how they interacted.  I received a copy of this book from Revell for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
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I anxiously awaited to read this and when I first started it, I literally read almost half of it right off. The gentleness of the characters and the way their lives become weaved together. There is a sweetness to the description and I just love how unique the characters are.

Something happened to my enjoyment of this book a little over halfway through. The fault may be mine, since I don't have as much time to read now, but there was a disconnect with the characters as well. I wanted to see more of Anna's story, although I loved Reed and Daisy's story. And then the mysterious story from the past came into play, and unfortunately, it distanced me more from soaking in each character. 

Saying all that, the romance was sweet and made me happy. The spiritual content is good, although a couple strange "Pentecostal" moments that I didn't agree with. I love the setting and I could totally picture the style and way of life following the Second World War.

If you love a story weaved with several characters and a slight hint of mystery, then this one is just for you.
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With the United States highly involved in WWII, the small town of Blackberry Springs, Alabama, is running over with people wanting to work in the government's munition plants. Realizing they need extra income to pay the taxes on their large house and land, Dolly and Si Chandler long time residents of this little community open up their home and rent bedrooms to single men and couples who have come south to work. Their boarders who come from different backgrounds find a home in their house until they can get back to their real home or have enough money to establish their own home. The boarders are treated like family by Dolly and Si and end up becoming a part of their extended family. And with a little bit of romance from those who lived in their house many years ago and also from those who are currently living in their house, this book is a truly wonderful story with beautiful, flowing language. 
And thanks to NetGalley for the ecopy for my Kindle!
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This is a book about survivors, some young, some middle aged and some eccentric, makes for an interesting read……It’s the 1940's and Dolly Chandler is running a boardinghouse in her family home in Blackberry Springs, Alabama. It is at a time of World War two and some are looking for employment and some of the boarders have brought their painful pasts with them. A young couple having marital problems, but maybe staying with Dolly and her husband and getting to know the other people in the house, will help set them on the path to healing. Dolly is a motherly figure and her old family home is a haven for the boarders. And of course discovering a secret diary from the 1800s will be interesting as well. Reading the diary about a pirate and his marrying the preacher’s daughter and the mention of buried treasure and their disappearing on their wedding night has everyone’s attention.This is a delightful book and the characters are very interesting…..I was given a copy from the publisher via netgalley and these words are my own.
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Almost Home, a novel by Valerie Fraser Luesse, opens in 1944 in Blackberry Springs, Alabama.  Americans are having a difficult time and some have come to work in a munitions plant. The novel tells the story of the boarders staying at Dolly Chandler's once grand family home.  They are a varied group, each with their own story.   However, they are not the only ones with a story.  The house, with its own story, plays an important role in the narrative.  

There is so much about this book that is engrossing.  The author brings to readers a collection of diverse, charismatic characters who are now living away from their own homes.  We follow them as they deal with their struggles.  Enduring and beautiful relationships are formed. It became obvious that the family they became was as important as the ones they were born into. This story is a reminder that good people do exist, as do second chances.  There is a current of mystery throughout that adds intrigue to the story. Beautifully written and packed with emotion, Almost Home is wonderfully readable novel.  Highly recommended.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Revell and NetGalley.  The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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