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The Road Home (The Letter Series) (Volume 2)…
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The Road Home (The Letter Series) (Volume 2)

by Kathleen Shoop

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I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

The Road Home is book two of The Letter series. In this portion, Jeanie Arthur has passed away. During the funeral, Katherine and Tommy learn that during their separation from their mother, she had touched and influenced many lives. They quickly realize that they didn't really know the woman that they called mother. Secrets are revealed that opens their eyes and gives them a glimpse into the years they were apart.

This was a heart rending story of love and hope. I loved the way they all turned to God during their most difficult times. Katherine's strength and determination is see inspiring, when she finally realizes her amazing gift, she embraces it wholeheartedly. Tommy's love for his family and drive to succeed is wonderful. I thought this novel was absolutely awesome, the characters were courageous, and the story came back full circle. I can't wait for book three to answer a few questions that are still lingering. ( )
  Simmy905 | Aug 22, 2015 |
Good historical fiction! The family is torn apart. Their mother must live without them and Tommy and Katherine must learn to survive alone. Alternating between past and present, the story unfolds of family and their constant struggle to reunite.
I wasn't certain about how long it would take me to read this book as it looks a bit lengthy when you pick it up. Once you start reading though, the pages fly by and soon you are at the end and wishing for more. I felt the heartache as mother had to be separated from her children because as a mother, that is a terrible thing to endure. Then seeing from alternating times and views how events unfolded was awesome. I must say that I loved the history throughout and that it felt like I could see the scenes as they were described.
5/5 for me. This is the second in a series and can be read alone, but I would still suggest reading them in order.

Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book. I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine. ( )
  ashleywintters | Aug 3, 2015 |
The Road Home opens in 1905, with Katherine standing over her mother's coffin, having had the opportunity to forgive her for past trespasses as she lay dying. Forced by her mother's death to revisit these painful years, Katherine struggles to understand her mother's life; particularly as the funeral brings with it many strangers and unexpected revelations.

In an interconnected series of stories, twins Katherine and Tommy come to uncover the truths about their mother's life: both forced to return to painful memories and years in order to understand their mother's actions and achieve an ultimate sense of peace.

Broken family connections, miracles, hopes, and redefined pasts: all these form the foundation of a powerful story that's Book Two of The Letter Series in a saga which stands powerfully and firmly on its own for newcomers, yet creates and cements a powerful account of change for those who want further details on the evolving story of uncertain family connections and ultimate healing. ( )
  DDonovan | Aug 1, 2015 |
Having read and been fully captivated by the first book in the Letter Series. The Last Letter, I have been eagerly awaiting this second book and couldn't wait to jump in. If you haven't read the first book don't worry as it can be easily read on its own as the author refers back to previous events, BUT in all honesty you will be missing such a touching story, the heart of what they have gone through whilst also getting to know the captivating Arthur family even more.

This is a story of love, hope, regret, forgiveness and realizing not everything is as you believe it is. The story follows a mother's love for her children, her despair at not being together and the hardships they have all faced whilst being separated. Jeanie Arthur is a character that reaches out to me from the pages and literally pulls away at my heart while reading her story, I could follow her journey of obstacles and how she overcomes them all day long. The time period is 1890's when status and titles were completely different from today's world. Now finding herself divorced from her addict & two timing husband, the world is massively different in how she is treated, penniless and unable to look after her two eldest children she makes the heart wrenching sacrifice to let them go and serve other families in the hope that they one day they will find a better life.

You will follow Jeannie, her daughter Katherine and son Tommy's determined story as they each tell their own tale after being ripped apart from one another throughout the book as it swaps between them as you read. Unfortunately for both Katherine and Tommy their life wasn't what their mother hoped and they both had to endure the harshness of the times they found themselves in. Will they finally be reunited?

I've got to admit I was constantly apprehensive whilst reading on, anticipating what could go wrong for them, holding my breath as I read. This was another realistic and compelling tale from a truly magnificent author, I am sooooo hanging on for more of the Arthur family's story, following on from where it left, hoping that it won't be too long. ( )
  beckvalleybooks | Jul 31, 2015 |
Poverty and hardship are nothing new. They have stalked society as long as society has existed. And women and children have always suffered disproportionately, especially when there is no male bread winner. The turn of the century was no easier in this respect than it is now as is evidenced by the main characters and situations in Kathleen Shoop's novel The Road Home.

As the novel opens in 1905, Katherine Arthur stands at her mother's casket reflecting on all that had passed between them, the misunderstandings and hard feelings that had only just started to heal. Her twin Tommy has yet to be able to let his own unhappy feelings and estrangement from their mother go. The novel then moves back fourteen years in time to when the family was splintered apart, suffering terrible hardships, gross indignities, and bowed down by tragedy. Years prior, after discovering that her father and husband lost the fortunes of most everyone they knew in Des Moines, the once proud Jeanie Arthur left the city with her shamed husband and their young children. They left destitute to try and make a new future. Unfortunately that future included the death of oldest son James, infidelity and abandonment by her husband, divorce, and the need to board her surviving children out with sympathetic families as Jeanie tries to get back on her feet. But families who seem sympathetic in public can be infinitely less so in private. The family Katherine ends up living with takes terrible advantage of her, forcing her to work herself to the bone and depriving her of food. As if that isn't enough, the father of the family is a disgusting lech whose professed religious feeling and his shrew of a wife are the only thing that have kept him from doing more than brushing up against and sneaking inappropriate touches from the young teenager. Tommy, meanwhile, moved between situations, one terrible, which left deep emotional scars, and one wonderful caring one until he is left alone, by choice, to fend for himself. Jeanie has no idea of her children's suffering as she tries to find a way to reunite them with herself and her young, slow daughter toddler, Yale.

Jeanie learned that family and the angels among us were the most important things during her own trials but it takes at least until her death for Katherine and Tommy to accept the same thing, at least in terms of their mother although they recognize it with regard to their own families. Each of them grapples with the idea of forgiveness, both for the staits their mother was driven to that tore their family apart and for themselves and the rancor they harbored for so long, never knowing the whole story.

The back and forth between the two different times in the Arthur family's lives is a little hard to get used to in the beginning, especially since there are also scenes that go even further back to their privileged past and to the moment they lost everything. The book is a sequel and it surely benefits from a reader who has read the first one so that many of the secondary characters' importance and the necessary backstory which is merely alluded to here are already a part of their reading lexicon. Without this information, the reader is left wondering why Katherine and Tommy are still trying (and, in Tommy's case, failing) to reconcile with their mother and why they and their families feel that they don't really know Jeanie Arthur fourteen years after she reunited them. Shoop has done a good job evoking the turn of the century in Des Moines and the farming communities close to it. The dreadful and demeaning options open to the poor are well drawn and her characters' perseverance, endurance, and strength is impressive. I wish I had read the first book before this one though because there is just too much unexplained here for the tale, and its ending to be satisfactory although it certainly points to the importance of even just one person acting as an angel for others in changing lives forever. ( )
  whitreidtan | Jul 24, 2015 |
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"1891--Living separately for three years, fourteen-year-old twins, Katherine and Tommy Arthur, have done their best to make each boarding house feel like home. But unrest grows as they are driven to questionable actions just to survive. Meanwhile their desperate mother is confronted with breaking yet another promise to her children. Then a miracle descends. Hope rises on a cold, rainy night and changes everything. If Jeanie could just get word to Katherine and Tommy she knows she can set their lives right again. Agitators, angels, and dangerous "saviors" bring to light the Arthur's unmatched determination and smarts. 1905--Those she tries to forget, those awful years that hurt so much, the memories still haunt Katherine Arthur. Now, tearful mourners at her mother's funeral force her to revisit a time in her life that both harmed and saved her in the most unexpected ways. Tommy grieves his mother's passing as well. He too is thrust backward, compelled to rediscover the events in his life that shaped the man he has become. Will he commit to reconstructing his broken life? The Arthurs come to understand that forgiveness is the only way back to hope, the only way to find all that was good in the misfortune that transformed their lives forever" --Cover p. [4].… (more)

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