Ballantine, Jan 2002, 23.95, 320 pp.
As a teen over two decades ago, Jewel Sabatino fled her Pueblo, Colorado home never looking back over the years. However, the Greenwich Village resident knows that it is time to go home. So Jewel, her teenage son Shane, and her dying best friend Michael Shaunessey return to her hometown not sure of the welcome she will receive.
In Pueblo, Jewel is back in the fold of her Italian family except for her unforgiving father, who has not spoken to her in all this time. He refuses to welcome back his daughter. The rest of the family opens their arms to Jewel and her entourage. Michael's brother Malachi arrives to help his sibling through his final days. However, as death is in the air, renewal is too as Malachi and Jewel begin to fall in love, but will then family crisis keep a relationship from fully forming between them?
NO PLACE LIKE HOME is an insightful relationship drama that plays out on several stages. The key cast is a warm ensemble though they seem stiff at times, but the story line belongs to the lead protagonist. Jewel feels like sandwich meat trapped between the two generations that surround her as well as trying to come to grips with her different types of love for the Shaunessey siblings. Barbara Samuel shows that with love you can go home even if much has changed in the interim.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner