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This is Home


This is Home

In the small town of Paradise, just north of Boston, 16-year-old Libby Winters lives a quiet but complicated life. When Quinn Ellis, a woman Libby has never met, moves into one of the apartments in her aunt’s house, just downstairs from Libby and her father, Bent, things get even more emotionally complex. Quinn’s arrival challenges Libby and her father to take risks for which neither felt they were ready. In the process, they change Quinn’s life for the better. Libby and Quinn are the two character poles in Lisa Duffy’s latest domestic novel, THIS IS HOME.

Libby and Bent have been on their own since Libby’s mother, Bent’s wife, died of cancer. But the truth is, it was really just the two of them long before her passing. She had never been happy as a wife and mother, and had left her small family behind before her diagnosis, only coming back to them for financial reasons. Now Libby and Bent are living in the big house, divided up into three apartments, owned by Bent’s sister, Lucy, who lives upstairs. His other sister Desiree, who recently split with her long-time boyfriend, is staying upstairs now, too. Add Libby’s giant dog, Rooster, and the place feels full before Quinn moves in.

"THIS IS HOME is an enjoyable and insightful read about home and homecoming, family and tough choices."

At first, Libby resents Quinn’s presence, but she begins to warm up to her and sees her aunts doing the same. Bent is the one who arranged Quinn’s move, but their connection is not clear to Libby, though their attraction is becoming apparent. Most of Libby’s friends are gone for the summer, and her closest friend, Flynn, is not acting like himself. Still, Libby is surprised to find herself drawing closer to Quinn as the weeks go by.

Quinn feels like her life is coming apart at the seams. Her husband John, a combat veteran, is missing, and she just found out she is pregnant. Moving into Lucy’s house seems like going in the right direction, but she doesn’t even have the energy to unpack her boxes. Quinn is struggling with what seems to be the end of her marriage to John, her high school sweetheart who is suffering from untreated PTSD. The Winters family, though all dealing with a lot themselves, makes room for Quinn in their house and in their lives, giving her the space to figure out what she really wants and what home truly means.

Libby and Quinn share much in common, including particular kinds of loss that are almost impossible to explain to others. Both women are strong and independent but growing toward an even greater strength as they come to understand that sometimes it is okay to lean on others for support and out of love. As the story unfolds, relationships develop and change, and tensions increase, with Duffy bringing a not-unpredictable but still satisfactory conclusion. The relationships are at the center of the novel, but that is not to say that the plot or characters aren’t nicely drawn and developed. Duffy does some good work creating parallels between Libby and Quinn (whose perspectives the novel shifts between) without being too heavy-handed.

THIS IS HOME is an enjoyable and insightful read about home and homecoming, family and tough choices.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on June 21, 2019

This is Home
by Lisa Duffy

  • Publication Date: June 11, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • ISBN-10: 1501189255
  • ISBN-13: 9781501189258