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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

"The Shortest Way Home" by Juliette Fay ~ A Great Read

"The Shortest Way Home" by Juliette Fay


Sean has spent twenty years in Third World war zones and natural disaster areas, fully embracing what he’d always felt was his life’s mission. But when burnout sets in, Sean is reluctantly drawn home to Belham, Massachusetts, the setting of Fay’s much-loved Shelter Me. There, he discovers that his steely aunt, overly dramatic sister, and quirky nephew are having a little natural disaster of their own. When he reconnects with a woman from his past, Sean has to wonder if the bonds of love and loyalty might just rewrite his destiny. Completely relatable, The Shortest Way Home is another perfect serving of a slice of life from the irresistible Fay.

Winner of the Library Journal Award for Best Women's Fiction

Published by:  Penguin Group
Pages:  416
Genre:  General Fiction
Author Website:  Juliette Fay

Trailer of the Book:


Juliette Fay’s first novel, Shelter Me, was a 2009 Massachusetts Book Award Book of the Year. Her second novel, Deep Down True, was short-listed for the Women’s Fiction Award by the American Library Association. She received a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and a master’s degree from Harvard University. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and four children. The Shortest Way Home is her third novel.

Juliette Fay has written a compulsively readable book about the pull of love and commitment over the draw of what can seem to be selfless motives and adventure.   This is a book that was so absorbing I read it through without stopping to breathe in one afternoon.  There are hints of Anne Tyler in Fay’s simple, stating- the-facts writing style…heartbreaking moments of the ordinary that capture you.   A book to be read with a cup of tea or three and an uninterrupted few hours to yourself.
The characters drawn in this novel are just lovely and beloved.  Kevin, a child with sensory  integration disorder, is charming and loveable while he presents a plethora of problems to his “just passing through” uncle.  The uncle--Sean, fighting  his own demons of concern over inheriting his family’s genetics for Huntington’s Disease, only wants a respite from the fear and from being  a “war weary” nurse in horrific Third World countries.  However, he finds his home town and his own family as challenging as those he just tried to escape. Other characters are equally well-defined and loveable in Fay's truth-telling.  They reach out from the pages and live in your imagination.
I found the conflicts of Sean’s decision to go back to his mission work vrs his need to be responsible for his nephew and failing aunt…and to find lasting love and acceptance in his hometown, brilliantly and beautifully represented.  I loved the story and felt the pressures of Sean’s conflict with him.   The inspirations and recognition of his  authentic self gained from old friends and family serve as a lesson for Sean and us.  This is a deeply moving story.  I felt myself drawn in several times, and moved to tears.
Juliette Fay’s prose is beautiful and deftly handled.  She has a way with words and with imparting wisdom. This is a book to enjoy and savor.  I’m inspired to read all of her books.
4.5 stars              Deborah/TheBookishDame


Teresa Cypher

Looks wonderful, Deb! Nice review. The interview (video) was so good. Thanks :-)


Hi, Teresa! You'd love this book! Thanks for stopping by... :]


Juliette Fay was here not too long ago and most of the women there were huge fans of her work. They spoke about the characters as if they were friends of theirs. I'm so glad to see this book is so good!!


I'm so glad to hear others felt the same about the characters, Kathy. They were so "familiar" and loveable. I didn't mention Rebecca, Sean's massage therapist friend, who is an especially awesome character. I can see why people would want to discuss them!

Juliette Fay

Deb this is such a thoughtful review - I'm so glad you enjoyed the book and clearly got all the nuances of conflict the story had to offer. Thank you so much!

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