I’ve read most of Elizabeth Berg’s novels. I find her style easy and detailed and enjoyable. What I’ve enjoyed most in her books has been her ability to look into a woman’s soul, what she is feeling and how she is managing change in her life.
In Berg’s newest novel, Home Safe, Helen Ames is living a much different life than she expected following the death of her husband, Dan. A renowned author that was always able to tell a story, finding the smallest of things to give her inspiration , Helen is now suffering a severe writer’s block. She finds herself overly dependent and involved with her grown daughter Tessa, and Tessa constantly reminds her mom of her displeasure in this fact.
Helen is shocked when her accountant infoms her that Dan had taken most of the money in their retirement fund out, close to $900,000………….but where? Helen is faced with needing to earn money and still wondering and searching for what Dan did with the money. A phone call and then a visit from a man she’s never met open the door to where the money went…….and what Dan had done with it. The journey really begins at this point.
I found myself liking Helen from the very start. I could sympathize with her loss and I even liked some of the quirky, some might find, weak qualities in Helen. This character is so real. I wasn’t wild about her daughter,Tessa, but her personality and the love she has for her mother are made clear by the end of the book.
I really enjoyed Helen’s journey, as this is how I see this book, her journey from grieving widow, can’t write any longer author, a woman whose roles have changed and she is moving along grudgingly. I loved her insights about what she found great joy in, I loved how she excelled in bringing out the best in a writer’s workshop she led. I got lost in the language and details of this book, the scenery, the rooms, the people. I felt I was in Chicago, and just outside of San Fransisco, and in all the places where Helen saw inspiration. I think that because the main character Helen is a writer and is in love with books and all things writing it makes it all the more warm and welcoming to me.
As I was reading this I was thinking of assigning a rating of a 3 to this book, but as I finished it today, my opinion changed, I loved the last 50 pages of this book. Have you felt this too in books, a place where you don’t want to put it down, you need to learn the conclusion, and yet you feel so satisfied, so at peace, so much like………gosh it’s just like I wanted it to end, only I didn’t even know it? This is how I felt just a couple of hours ago.
If you are a follower of Elizabeth Berg you will enjoy this, its’ reminiscent of many of her earlier novels in feeling. If you haven’t read any of her books this is a good one to begin with. I’m giving it a 4 out of 5 stars……I really liked it.