Authros: Frank Armstrong, III and Paul Brown

Publisher: Penquin Books

ISBN-10: 014312191X ISBN-13: 978-0143121916

Juliette Fay, author of The Shortest Way Home, is a graduate of Boston College (undergraduate) and Harvard University (Master’s degree). (Inside front cover, 2012) She has authored two other books, Shelter Me (2009), which got a 2009 Massachusetts Book Award of the Year, and Deep Down True, made the short list for Women’s Fiction Award at the American Library Association. Currently she resides in Massachusetts with her family.

The Shortest Way Home presents the reader with a potential life threatening scenario for the main family in this novel, Huntington’s disease. A good portion of this book is character self-reflection regarding this health possibility and what to do if it becomes a health reality. Family is a common denominator throughout this read from the main characters to their friends. The daily trials and tribulations are entirely believable and really hit home with most anyone who has lived a bit of life and made some sacrifices for family.

Sean, the main character, is an altruistic young man who has spent the vast majority of his life traveling to far away places and caring for people far less fortunate. After years on the road he finds himself back home trying to figure out the next step. He has not been very connected to his family while he was traveling and needs to learn how to live with them now that he is home. His family is somewhat dysfunctional and without grounding, but endearing all the same. Sean is divided between what to do with his family and how best to proceed with his own life.

Sean’s younger sister, Diedre, has been overseeing the spinster aunt Vivy and nephew, but longs for more and when Sean comes home this provides her with opportunity to spread her wings and move to New York to pursue her dreams of acting. The elder brother died before Sean left and has a ten year old son, Kevin, who is floundering and in desperate need of a father figure. Sean reluctantly steps into the uncle/father role and actually finds that he enjoys it.

Health and social reasons find Sean connecting to some of his old high school classmates. His old crush turns out to be so not what he had hoped for, but they continue to be friends. He connects with a gal, Rebecca, who has had a crush on him since high school. She tries to keep things on an even and not too dependent level, but finds that her old crush is still quite alive. She breaks it off to allow Sean room to go his own way. However, Sean feels a lot of emotion for her too and has a difficult time trying to determine whether or not this is something he might be happy with.

I enjoyed this read and believe you will too. Juliette Fay obviously has a keen eye for subtle romance and how to string a series of scenarios together to keep things spicy. I give her a two thumbs up!


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