Title: The Last Homecoming by Dan Chabot
Genre: Currently #41837 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Publication Date: October 12, 2017
Source: Request from author
Title and Cover: The Last Homecoming – Beautiful cover relates story setting
Chabot’s book is divided into sections that tell the story of each of the four families that lived in this 90-year-old house they called home. It’s a heavily nostalgic book mourning innocent times in a quickly changing country set in a rural area of Michigan they call the U.P. (Upper Peninsula). Nettie, the current and last owner, has invited one of each generation who has strong, loving memories of their childhood home to celebrate a last Christmas there before it is demolished for a bridge.
The author has an easy and descriptive style of writing that pulls you into the story with his character insight and sense of humor. Each generation is broken down from the Renwicks, who built the house, through the MacAlindens, Summerhavens, and current owner/occupant, Nettie. Each has a Reader’s Digest story to tell, some heart-rending, but all are at a point in their lives where they must celebrate that time they were carefree children in a home and a town where everyone takes care of the other, and times are simple but satisfying.
Nettie launched a fight to cease the proposal to demolish the home but lost. Still, the investigation she launches brings to light some very disturbing information that will change the politics of not only the county but also the state. In the meantime, Nettie began preparation for shutting the house down and discovers a secret no one saw coming.
Each generation, each family has an important tale to tell of life in rural America–the Renwicks in the twenties to WW2. The MacAlindens from 1942 to 1956–post-war America radical changes. The Summerhavens from 1956 to 1970 consisted only of mother and daughter–Willow, who loved the boy next door so powerfully and tragically. The Tannehills, 1970 to 2010; Nettie, the survivor in a large home she’d eyed growing up and finally managed to own. Each family and specific character is well developed, appealing, and easy to sympathetically invest.
So much innocent fun back in a more simple time, families of a small town knowing each other, their stories, failures, triumphs. Even the mail carrier who served the home through all generations, knew each family, has been invited back as well. He has his own stories to tell of the neighborhood and the occupants of 401 Barnhill Road.
It’s a beautiful tale of Americana, of special shared Christmas memories, of the deepest personal emotional events in the lives of the people who all share the one common thread–the home where they grew up. Each added their initials to the beam in the treehouse out back–where so many stories were swapped, games played, ideas and dreams shared.
It’s a compassionate story of love, loss, and redemption. As times changed, technology changed, the house changed (but it never did acquire a fireplace). Clean book, beautiful cover, emotionally charged story. I was given this book in exchange for an honest read and review and can heartily recommend. Heart-rending literary fiction that will continue to resonate with you.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five of Five Stars
The Author: (From Amazon Author page) Dan Chabot is a veteran newspaper editor, writer and columnist who spent 25 years with the Milwaukee Journal, much of that time as the editor of its popular and beloved Green Sheet, a feature section printed on green paper that specialized in whimsical and offbeat stories, humor and advice columns, puzzles and games, and of course, the comic strips.
Chabot is a native of Ontonagon, MI, a small Upper Peninsula town similar to the one depicted in his new novel, “The Last Homecoming.” These days Chabot lives in Florida. He and his wife, Mary Ellen, have three grown sons and six grandchildren. “The Last Homecoming” is his second novel; the first, “Godspeed: A Love Story” posed an intriguing question: How can a lie be wrong when it makes so many people feel so good? ©2018 V Williams