Mini-Review: The Shortest Way Home by Miriam Parker

Shortest Way HomeAfter years of dreaming of and working toward a life more stable than the one she grew up in, Hannah is finally about to have everything she ever wanted. With a high-paying job, an apartment in Manhattan, and a boyfriend about to propose, all she and Ethan have to do is make it through the last couple of weeks of grad school, and the future they had planned will be theirs to keep.

But when they take a romantic weekend trip to Sonoma, and Hannah is spontaneously offered a marketing job at the first (and seemingly financially unstable) winery they visit and doesn’t immediately refuse, their meticulously planned forever comes crashing down around them. And then Hannah impulsively does the unthinkable–she turns down her job in New York and decides to stay in California.

Abandoning your dream job and life shouldn’t feel this good. But for Hannah, it is an eye-opening experience; and she realizes that maybe, after all her dream-chasing, she hasn’t actually been caring for herself. And this new life certainly seems like a dream come true–living in a picturesque cottage overlooking a vineyard in lush Sonoma; new friends with pasts and hopes the likes of which she’s never encountered before; and William, the handsome son of the winery owners and an aspiring film director who captures Hannah’s heart only to leave the very city she let go.

The mission to rescue the failing winery becomes a mission to rescue Hannah from the image of herself she thought she wanted. The young girl who ached to escape Iowa and leave her past behind for a glamorous life is now given the chance to come to terms with the upbringing that made her who she is.

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: NetGalley and Overdrive Audio/Public Library          My Rating: 2½/5 stars


The Bottom Line: I struggled with this book and had I not listened to it, I most certainly would have added this title to my DNF list.  With the exception of the dog, I found every major character in the book to be tremendously selfish and hard to like.  While I completely appreciate circumstances led to so many of each character’s decisions, they had choices and each often made the wrong decision and simply caused more hurt, resentment, and anger to fester.  With so many years of negative energy swirling around, it isn’t a great surprise the tone of this book is relatively depressing.  So, why didn’t I DNF this book?  Because I really liked the setting, all the information about the wine, winemaking, and the vineyard, and the steps taken to make the setting so much more than it has been for so many years.  Had the setting been populated with more likeable, sympathetic characters, I most certainly would have assigned a far higher star rating.   As this is the author’s debut novel, I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water.  From a technical perspective, there is nothing wrong with this book, and I think, given time, Miriam Parker will be a very good author.

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