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Home Safe (2005)

by Elizabeth Berg

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,0976513,767 (3.54)78
Beloved author Elizabeth Berg tells the story of the recently widowed Helen Ames and of her twenty-seven-year-old daughter Tessa. Helen is shocked to discover that her mild-mannered and loyal husband had been leading a double life. The Ames's had saved money for a happy retirement, planned in minute detail, but that money has disappeared in several big withdrawals spent by Helen's husband before he died.… (more)
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    The Victory Club by Robin Lee Hatcher (wrz2)
    wrz2: A wonderful story of hope and faith of the women at home during WWII
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    The Beach House by Jane Green (whimsicalkitten)
    whimsicalkitten: If you like Elizabeth Berg, you'll love the Beach House.
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    Tender Grace by Jackina Stark (infiniteletters)
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    The Richest Season by Maryann McFadden (kitkeller)
    kitkeller: I didn't expect to finish this book -- I had convinced myself it was trite, maybe Christian-fiction. So I tried a couple of times to just put it down and move on to another book. But I *kept coming back* until I finally acknowledged, I like this book, and I really want to know what happens to these people. I recommend it -- you will care what happens. It's well-written and NOT trite and NOT Christian-fiction.… (more)
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    Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher (chlibmaria)
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» See also 78 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
Beautifully written novel about motherhood, life, and life after death. I hated to put it down, and I will certainly find another novel of Berg's!! ( )
  stephanie_M | Apr 30, 2020 |
Helen looses a husband and in the process her sense of self. The book chronicles her recovery. I found myself angry and impatient with her at various points which seems to me a good sign, that the character was believable. ( )
  snash | Apr 25, 2020 |
I was willing to put up with Helen's deliberate ignorance and childish behavior until the money went 'missing'. A year later?! It took a year for someone to tell her it was gone? WTF? In what universe? Even if I were stupid enough to not have a joint brokerage account (which, ahem, I'm not) it would NOT TAKE A YEAR for some financial guy to tell me what happened. Even if I were like Helen, incompetent at being a functioning adult, money guys aren't and they don't keep things like this to themselves. Oy vey. So that killed it for me.
I'm not sad.
  Bookmarque | Jan 21, 2020 |
Helen, a recently windowed writer, tries to come to terms with being on her own and a serious case of writer's block. Helen can't stop meddling in her grown daughter's life, and the book is basically about Helen trying to become a less annoying human being. This was almost a 3 star book for me, but the ending was terrible. It felt like the author forgot about the first 90% of the book, and just wrote an ending based on a loose summary someone gave her. ( )
  lwright01 | Apr 1, 2018 |
In this stunning novel, beloved bestselling author Elizabeth Berg weaves a beautifully written and richly resonant story of a mother and daughter in emotional transit. Helen Ames??recently widowed, coping with grief, unable to do the work that has always sustained herƒ??is beginning to depend too much on her twenty-seven-year-old daughter, Tessa, meddling in her life and offering unsolicited advice. Then Helen is shocked to discover that her mild-mannered and seemingly loyal husband was apparently leading a double life. When a phone call from a stranger sets Helen on a surprising path of discovery, both mother and daughter reassess what they thought they knew about each other, themselves, and what really makes a home and a family. ( )
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
  cdiemert | Jul 30, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
If we look at the path, we do not
see the sky. We are earth people
on a spiritual journey to the stars.
Our quest, our earth walk, is to look
within, to know who we are, to see that
we are connected to all things,
that there is no separation,
only in the mind.
--Native American, source unknown
You get the hovering gray of early morning, or late afternoon-- the hours of yearning.
There's the wind and the rain

And the mercy of the fallen. . .

There's the weak and the strong

And the many stars that guide us

We have some of them inside us

--Dar Williams

"The Mercy of the Fallen"
Again the pyrocanthus berries redden in the rain, as if return were return. It is not. The familiar is not the thing it reminds of.
Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened. Don't open the door to the study and begin reading. Take down the dulcimer.
Dedication
For Jean-Isabel NcNutt
For those who have gone before us.
For Pat Raming and Marianne Raming Burke
For women with cancer
who have found their fire,
and for those who are
still searching.
For Jennifer Sarene Berg and Julie Marin Krintzman
First words
Dear Martin, I know you think I keep that green rock by my bed because I like its color.
I had been right to want to drive to the midwest, taking only the back roads.
Oftentimes on summer evenings, I would sit outside with my mother and look at the constellations.
This morning, before I came to Ruth's house, I made yet another casserole for my husband and my daughter.
You know before you know, of course. You are bending over the dryer, pulling out the still-warm sheets, and the knowledge walks up your backbone. You stare at the man you love and you are staring at nothing; he is gone before he is gone
Quotations
Sex is so shaky and mysterious. I will never unravel it.
…it had put them on the fast track for being comfortable with each other. As they were, ever after. Always comfortable in a way that Dan described as home safe.
I do not believe the army is a good idea for people with regular human hearts.
Without her husband or the practice of laying out words on a page, she feels that she spends her days rattling around inside herself; that, whereas she used to be a whole and happy woman, now she is many pieces of battered self, slung together in a sack of skin.
What she feels, suddenly, is that she has come to see Dan. He is not here, but here he is.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Beloved author Elizabeth Berg tells the story of the recently widowed Helen Ames and of her twenty-seven-year-old daughter Tessa. Helen is shocked to discover that her mild-mannered and loyal husband had been leading a double life. The Ames's had saved money for a happy retirement, planned in minute detail, but that money has disappeared in several big withdrawals spent by Helen's husband before he died.

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Book description
Contains: The day I ate whatever I wanted -- Returns and exchanges -- The party -- Over the hill and into the woods -- Full count -- Rain -- The day I ate nothing I even remotely wanted -- Mrs. Ethel Menafee and Mrs. Birdie Stoltz -- Double diet -- The only one of millions just like him -- Truth or dare -- How to make an apple pie -- Sin City.
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