Reviews for Nowhere like home : a novel

Publishers Weekly
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An exhausted new mother joins a sinister commune in the disappointing latest from Shepard (the Pretty Little Liars series). Ever since she gave birth to her son, Jacob, Lenna has been struggling with her lack of friends and feeling unsupported emotionally by her husband, Daniel. So she’s especially receptive when she gets a call from her long-ago friend, Rhiannon, who meets Lenna at a café and invites her to Halcyon, an idyllic “mommune” in the Arizona desert. According to Rhiannon, the remote compound, founded by the enigmatic Marjorie, houses women like Lenna, providing them with refuge and friendship in the early stages of motherhood. Soon, however, Lenna discovers that Halcyon is hardly the Eden of sisterly support she’s been led to believe. Secrets abound, many of the women aren’t able to leave, and one resident turns out to be a revenge-bent figure from Lenna and Rhiannon’s past. While Shepard manages a few stretches of tantalizing suspense, the narrative’s slow start and rocky finish prove too much to overcome. This is far from the author’s best. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Feb.)

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

From the author of the popular Pretty Little Liars series comes a turbulent new thriller about an overwhelmed new mother who is haunted by her past. Following the advice of her old friend Rhiannon, who has reemerged out of thin air after disappearing two years prior, Lenna takes her screaming baby and leaves her husband a scrawled note explaining that they’ve gone to visit Halcyon, an off-the-grid, women-only community. Once there, secluded from the outside world, Lenna begins to question her decision and Rhiannon’s intentions. To protect herself and her son, she must determine which of her fears are real and who, if anyone, she can trust. In true Pretty Little Liars fashion, there are several twists and turns that readers won’t see coming, some a bit of a stretch from reality. But this is a fun, unpredictable, and daring read that will appeal as much to older young adult audiences as to intended adult readers.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Lenna Schmidt arrives with her baby, Jacob, at a “mommune” outside Tucson, where she’s trying to reconnect with an old friend. Little does she suspect that someone pulled strings to get her there. Two years ago, out of the blue, Lenna struck up a deep friendship with Rhiannon Cook, whom she met at an H & M store in Los Angeles. Mourning the loss of her mother, with whom she was incredibly close, Lenna hasn’t had many friends in her life. Rhiannon can be judgmental, particularly toward Gillian, a woman who hangs around the building where they all work, and Frederick, a co-worker on whom Lenna has a crush. But it turns out her life hasn’t always been easy; she tells Lenna that when she was young, her mother drove off a bridge with both her and her brother in the car, and her brother died. One day, Rhiannon skips town, leaving Lenna high and dry; in the radio silence that follows, Lenna begins to be friendly with Gillian, who has some pretty choice things to say about Rhiannon and, really, everyone else, including her roommate, Sadie. Now, two years later, Lenna has a secret—plus a husband, and a new baby—so when Rhiannon reaches out to see if she might want to visit the all-woman commune where she lives, Lenna agrees, hoping they might be able to clear the air. But what is supposed to be a sanctuary hides a malevolent presence from the past—someone hellbent on revenge. Lenna has to summon stores of courage and protective mother energy if she’s going to survive. Plenty of twists and turns, as well as some staggered narration—different voices, different time periods—keep the mystery moving. The payoff is okay. The thrills are fine. The deepest insight Shepard has to offer comes at the end: “All these missed chances, all these mistakes. It’s amazing people invest in friendship at all.” Fans of Shepard’s other books will be pleased. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.