Title: Come This Way
Author: Michelle Schlicher
Release Date: October 21
Publisher: Self Published
Source: A copy of this book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Check this book out on Goodreads.
Pre-order at: Chapters
A hiking and outdoor enthusiast, fifty-year-old Fern Conrad can’t imagine spending her time doing anything else, much to the dismay of her daughter, Colby.
Kara Dawson, a twenty-five-year-old student therapist, has shut life out to focus on her sister’s illness. That is, until a chance meeting pushes her to confront the possibilities—by letting go and moving forward.
Eighty-three-year-old Nettie Campbell heals in the hospital while facing the consequences of her actions. Can she repair relationships and forge new bonds as she comes to terms with the truth?
Come This Way is an emotional, honest look into the lives of women who are discovering their own strength. It is a story about difficult choices and the people around us who help us find our way. (Source: Goodreads)
Come This Way follows 3 plots that slowly entangle. Fern and her daughter Colby get lost in the woods while they are out attempting to reconnect before Colby moves across the country. Kara Dawson is about to lose her sister to cancer when she meets Eric and starts to fall in love – something she’s scared to do with Kate only weeks away from death. And finally Nettie Campbell is the hospital isolated from a family who feel betrayed by her recent actions. Come This Way examines these women’s lives and the tough decisions they have to make when it comes to living, loving, and family.
You may remember that I reviewed Michelle Schlicher’s last book, Gracie’s Song, earlier this year. I was a little surprised when Schlicher reached out to me about Come This Way because my last review was exactly positive. The truth is though I jumped at the chance to read another one of Schlicher’s books. Having the opportunity to see someone grow and to see how she has developed as a writer was like a blessing to me, and I really appreciate the opportunity she has given me in sending me another of her books.
Come This Way is several stories in one, all of the stories connect in some way or another by the end of the book, but more importantly they are thematically linked. All of the stories look at women in love and loss. Each of the women in this book have lost something, and are in some way or another trying to repair or reconnect with someone. I liked the fact that the characters didn’t really need to meet each other across the 3 stories, in fact that 4 main leads don’t actually meet at any point. The thematic connection was enough. I did at times feel there was a little too much overlap in the the stories being told in terms of situations being similar or 2 characters being used to express something too similar.
There are 3 main plot lines – Fern and Colby, Kara, and Nettie. I think the strongest overall was probably Fern and Colby. The characters had a good sort of chemistry, the pacing was solid, and the progression from distance to re-connection was really strong in that particular portion of the book. The pacing was really what gave this section the most strength, the book only takes place over a few days, and Fern and Colby’s days feel like 2 days. There’s a strong sense of time and movement to their story. This could have been stretch out into a whole book in my mind.
Nettie’s section was probably my favourite. I think the characters were the best developed and the minor characters felt more real than many of the other secondary characters in the other portions of the book. I did feel at times that Nettie’s portions of the book expressed something almost a little too similar to Fern’s feelings. Both of these plots deal with a mother letting go of their child in some way and moving on with their own life. I think they do diverge significantly by the end which makes that overlap a little easier to deal with. I felt like there were some inconsistencies in relationship developments in this portion. Nettie and her granddaughter, we are told, have no relationship but there seemed to be some slips and inconsistencies with this because they seemed to have an extensive relationship just not a positive one.
For me Kara’s story was the weakest. I feel like the whole romantic plot line with Eric should have been more to the background, and the situation with Kate should have been more the focus. Perhaps for other it felt more focused on but to me it felt like more care and attention was put into Kara and Eric’s relationship – a relationship I didn’t really buy into unfortunately. It felt way too rushed for me, I didn’t see a spark and Eric felt like a he was more of a stock perfect guy than any kind of appropriate match for Kara. It all felt kind of forced and I think I could have lived with Kara just coming into her own after Kate’s death without having to be “in love” with Eric. Finding a life outside of the hospital would have been a more worthy accomplishment in my mind.
I liked a lot of the characters, I don’t think I personally identified with any of them but I certainly see how many other people could, which is a good thing. I think Nettie and side character, June, were probably the most well developed characters in the whole book. They had the strongest back stories for me, which I really liked, I just wish everyone else was as well developed as these two were.
The writing overall was a huge improvement over Schlicher’s previous book. The threads of the story flowed really well and I think the story was stronger with characters that were markedly more developed. I really enjoyed reading it – in fact I read the brunt of it in only and afternoon. I wouldn’t say it was outstanding but I do think this is a good book, and I would actually recommend it for fans of this sort of family drama genre.