Author: Susan Mallery
Published: Mira; Mar. 2011
Genre: Contemporary romance
Synopsis: After nearly a decade as a sous-chef in a trendy eatery, Jenna is desperate for a change. She's supported her ex-husband's dreams for so long that she can't even remember her own. Until she sees a for-lease sign near her parents' home and envisions her very own cooking store.
Her crash course in business is aided by a streetwise store manager and Jenna's adoptive mother. But just as she's gaining a foothold in her new life, in walk her birth parents—aging hippies on a quest to reconnect with their firstborn.
Now Jenna must figure out how to reconcile the free-spirited Serenity and Tom with her traditional parents, deal with her feelings for a new love interest and decide what to do about her ex's latest outrageous request. In the end, Jenna will find that there is no perfect family, only the people we love….
My Take: I'll be honest here, contemporary romance is not a genre I read. However, the description sounded like a book I would love and I am so glad I took the risk because what the book contained was a bunch of women dealing with real emotions and real life and no bodice-ripping which is what I imagine romance novels to contain. Oh who am I kidding, I went through a phase in seventh grade and that's totally what the romance novels contained that I enjoyed reading! Anywho, this book was much more mature and much more my style!
Already Home centers around Jenna who is recently divorced and decides to return to her home town of Austin, TX. She was a chef in LA with some success but her ex-husband ruined her confidence. She decides to open a cooking store, knowing much about cooking but little about retail. Luckily she is smart enough to hire Violet who is street-wise and has a lot of retail experience. Between the two of them they are able to make Jenna's store, Grate Expectations, a new success with some hard work. The descriptions of the store and the cooking classes they hold there make this a store I wish I had in my home town!
At any rate, nothing is ever as easy as it seems. Jenna's life is thrown upside down when her birth parents show up unexpectedly. See, Austin, TX is her hometown because her adopted parents raised her there since she was an infant. She loves her birth parents with her whole heart and never felt that anything was missing. She wasn't looking for her birth parents, so their arrival was a shock to say the least. Jenna's birth parents are hippies from Napa, CA (why is everyone from Northern California in books always a hippie?!). Jenna must now deal with this new found relationship and all its complications.
Violet also has new problems of her own. She is starting to dip her toes in the dating game. She hasn't had much success with it before and thinks she may have found The One with Cliff. However, when she starts changing herself for him and he starts becoming more controlling, all may not be as rosy as it initially appeared.
Let's just say, that I could not turn the pages fast enough! I adored this book and all of the characters within. Already Home was a realistic portrayal of women and the realities we face with friendship and family at its root. I look forward to reading many more books from Susan Mallery.
Cover Lust: This is so scenic! Who doesn't want to eat al fresco under the stars?!