I'm going to simply begin with this...I loved this book. Loved it. I can't remember the last time I have read a book that I could identify so closely with the characters. More on that in a moment.
If We Make It Home is the first novel of Christina Suzann Nelson. It is set in the Pacific Northwest (a place I'd love to visit someday) and it follows the lives of four college friends twenty-five years after graduation.
Ireland is now a jaded college professor who is facing a serious allegation at work. It was best for her to take some time away and evaluate her life while she allowed rumors to die down. Victoria is a successful speaker who has taught women how to be the perfect wife and mother. She then realizes she may have her career crash down around her because she didn't listen to her own advice. Then there is Jenna, the character that I most closely related to for rather obvious reasons. She's a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of triplets (okay, maybe not that part). Her babies have now left home and she finds herself in limbo trying to figure out this whole empty-nest thing. And lastly there is Hope, a friend they all had fond memories of but who sadly had passed away from cancer only a year before. (The back cover states she's died, so this isn't a spoiler.)
Due to various circumstance, Ireland, Victoria, and Jenna find themselves back at their alma mater where they discover Hope has died. While in the cafe her daughter now runs, House of Hope, they meet Glenda. She's an older woman who takes groups of women into the wilderness to teach them survival skills. On a whim they all decide to go, as a tribute to Hope.
Their trip soon turns "Gilligan Island-ish" when they find themselves lost, hurt and without a guide, while trying to find their way out of the forest Glenda had dropped them into. They have to learn to trust themselves and see if they can manage to find their way home again.
This was a great first novel and one I enjoyed more than I thought I would when I first saw it offered. Jenna was definitely someone I related to on so many levels. The overall writing was wonderful. This is a book that I have continued to think about even weeks after finishing it.
Nelson uses great detail to introduce the characters to us in the beginning and get us invested in them. Each main character tells the story from her point of view. Nelson writes each section from a first person point of view with the character's name as a heading in order to keep straight who is talking. I enjoyed this as she would often tell a scene from each of the characters point of view, giving us a broader sense of what was happening.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I look forward to reading more from this author.
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