Friday, August 19, 2011
The Road Home by Frankie J. Jones
Publisher: Bella Books
Lynn Strickland and her partner Crissy don't have much, but they're working hard at various jobs and Crissy is going to college. One day Crissy will have her teaching degree and then they can start saving the money to buy the horse ranch Lynn has always dreamed of. When Lynn finds a winning lottery ticket that is dropped by someone in front of her, she believes that all of her dreams are about to come true. Instead, everything unravels very quickly. Crissy demands that Lynn return the ticket to the rightful owner and this eventually leads to Lynn finding herself running from the law, rejected by her partner for her behavior, and on an adventure with an escapee from a nursing home. As she works to straighten out her life and win back Crissy, she learns that there are things more important than money and money can't buy them.
The Road Home is a very routine romance. Women who are in love encounter a problem, get broken apart and then work to get back together. The best character is Beulah Mae, the escapee. She's an elderly black butch who still knows how to treat a woman and can charm the birds out of the trees. You can imagine the twinkle in her eye as she moves through the story picking up women, but she also provides poignancy to the book, both as representing the plight of the elderly who find themselves locked away unwillingly and in the story of her early life as a lesbian of color. The other characters aren't as well established or seem harder to get a grasp of and, at times, are irritating in their irrationality. The reader's response to them may depend on the individual's definitions of honesty and honor and how each character relates to them. The story is engaging enough though and can provide a few hours of diversion.