Last One Home
by Debbie Macomber
Release Date: March 10th 2015
2015 Ballantine Books
Hardcover Edition; 320 Pages
Genre: Fiction / Contemporary
Source: Review copy from publisher
3 / 5 Stars
Growing up, Cassie
Carter and her sisters, Karen and Nichole, were incredibly close --
until one fateful event drove them apart. After high school, Cassie ran
away from home to marry the wrong man, throwing away a college
scholarship and breaking her parents’ hearts. To make matters worse,
Cassie had always been their father’s favorite -- a sentiment that
weighed heavily on her sisters and made Cassie’s actions even harder to
Now thirty-one, Cassie is back in Washington, living in
Seattle with her daughter and hoping to leave her past behind. After
ending a difficult marriage, Cassie is back on her own two feet, the
pieces of her life slowly but surely coming together. Despite the
strides Cassie’s made, she hasn’t been able to make peace with her
sisters. Karen, the oldest, is a busy wife and mother, balancing her
career with raising her two children. And Nichole, the youngest, is a
stay-at-home mom whose husband indulges her every whim. Then one day,
Cassie receives a letter from Karen, offering what Cassie thinks may be a
chance to reconcile. And as Cassie opens herself up to new
possibilities -- making amends with her sisters, finding love once more
-- she realizes the power of compassion, and the promise of a fresh
Last One Home is not what I would necessarily consider a romance, but more of a novel about a woman trying to reconnect with the family she left behind many years ago and make amends with her two sisters with whom she used to be quite close. I actually enjoyed the story about Cassie's reconciliation with her sisters, but was overly thrilled with the romantic theme to this one.
Cassie has had a difficult life since leaving her family at eighteen and getting married; after escaping an abusive relationship, she has had to work hard to support her daughter financially, and to deal with the emotional wounds of being emotionally and physically abused for years. I actually thought that Cassie's character was quite sympathetic and I really liked how she was able to overlook past grievances to try and move on with her life and reconnect with people from her past, including her family. I didn't a lot about Habitat for Humanity before reading this novel, although I have heard of them and do know some people who volunteer their services for them, but enjoyed learning more about how they operate. I was a little skeptical about how a single mother could do all of that volunteering for Habitat, work full-time, and take care of a twelve-year-old daughter, plus all of the other things she did, without having a mental and physical breakdown. Having been on my own due to a husband in the military, I know how difficult it is and I am a bit skeptical as to how all of this was done in the time period mentioned, but anything can happen in a novel, I guess.
At first, I wasn't overly crazy about either of Cassie's sisters or her 'boyfriend' Steve. All of them seemed to be a bit selfish, wanting something from Cassie that served their own needs. And I was totally turned off when the two sisters split the inheritance between them and left nothing for Cassie but some old furniture, for which she was totally grateful, considering her circumstances. To me that spoke of greed and selfishness, without any attempt to discover Cassie's story or why she left. Even when I got to know them better, the inheritance thing still rankled. However, I would have liked to have learned more about Nichole's situation, and would have especially liked to be a witness to her discussion with her husband when she gave him his walking papers. I sort of feel slighted over that as I felt her story ended a bit abruptly. Steve came one quite strong and sharp when he and Cassie first met and I wasn't overly crazy about his domineering attitude. He wasn't abusive or anything, but he certainly took a lot of things for granted without consulting Cassie. And he worked in cahoots with Cassie's daughter, making plans for her without her consent, and it drove me wild. And I wasn't necessarily annoyed with Steve, but also with Cassie, for allowing them to run all over her. Especially her daughter. Who is the parent in this relationship? She needed to put her foot down and tell her daughter to mind her own business once in a while, that sometimes adults need to make decisions without input from twelve year olds.
Last One Home is one of those novels that is pretty predictable and formulaic, even if there were some emotional moments. Personally, I thought the reconciliation with her sisters was rather too pat and smooth after all those years, and I wasn't overly crazy about how the inheritance was dealt as it just seemed selfish. I did like the message the book was sending about emotional and physical abuse and the toll it can play on both men and women, and the difficulties women face when they do manage to leave or escape. This is one of those novels for you however, if you are looking for something a bit mindless and easy to read, without much plot or character development, and forgettable once you are finished. It's not a bad novel, it's just not that memorable.