This book couldn't have arrived at a better time for me. I have really been feeling kind of overwhelmed lately as a working mom--sort of feeling lost and in a rut. This book was a breath of fresh air and a great kick off to summer reading for me. As a member of the One2OneNetwork I was fortunate to receive a complimentary review copy of Here, Home, Hope - by Kaira Rouda.
The main character, Kelly Johnson, is a 39 year old stay-at-home-mom and former PR professional who finds herself restless and in a rut. Married to a successful lawyer, mom to 2 teen boys and living in "Uppityville" as she calls it, she starts to feel like there might be more to life...something more she should be, or should be doing. She realizes she envies the seemingly successful perfect lives of her two friends, and makes a decision that she needs to stop feeling sorry for herself and make some major changes in her life. She begins with her "Things To Change" (T2C) List , using Post-it notes to record the changes she feels she needs to make to reach her goals.
Kelly's summer takes her through situations such as reaching out to the troubled anorexic teen daughter of her friend Kathryn, reconnecting with old friends and realizing they aren't so perfect as she copes with their infidelities, and her friends' loss through divorce, job loss and death. All the while she is also on a journey to self discovery and ultimately embarking upon a new career and owning her own business. Sounds like a lot to go through in just one summer, huh?
I really enjoyed this book. I really enjoyed Kelly's character, and how she uses humor to cope and navigate through life. The book takes you on an emotional rollercoaster with Kelly and the people in her life. It is a story of self discovery, women in crisis, friendship, family, and how a couple can remain strong and connected even when the marriages of their friends are falling apart all around them.
I also loved Kelly's list of "T2C" (Things to Change). A list of all of the T2C are in the back of the book for reference. I found a snippet from Kaira Rouda's Blog where she talks about Here, Home, Hope and the T2C List - She says 5 common components of reinventing yourself are:
1. Resilience. Stick to it. Go for it. Overcome the hurdles.
2. Flexibility. Go with the flow. Open up to change. Do one thing everyday that scares you.
3. Creativity. Find your passions. Ignite them. Creativity is intelligence having fun.
4. Put the Real You in your life. Be self focused for a change. If you aren’t happy, no one you love is happy.
5. Purpose. Have a higher calling. Give back. Lift someone else up and you lift yourself.
There were a few familiar references in the book from Ohio that I recognized. It seems Kaira Rouda spent most of her married life in Columbus Ohio. I grew up in Cincinnati Ohio...This made a connection for me, that added to my enjoyment of this book. I read that Kaira and family recently relocated to live on the beach in California. Now that's one T2C (Thing to Change) that I'd love to make! That has always been my dream, but with a snow-loving Canadian husband, doubt will ever become a reality. (Bummer!) Oh well, there's always vacation!
Kaira has recently been traveling, promoting Here, Home, Hope. You can find out about book signings HERE. Check out the book trailer video here. You can buy the book at These Places, connect with Kaira Rouda on Twitter or on Facebook.
My overall rating: Fabulous. Loved it. Great summer reading. Couldn't put it down. Would love to see this become a movie...Can't wait for more novels from Kaira Rouda!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from One2OneNetwork in exchange for my honest opinion. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions and thoughts expressed in this post are my own, and others may have differening ideas/opinions/results. I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”