Thursday, April 9, 2015
Ballantine Books/March 10, 2015
Growing up, Cassie Carter and her sisters, Karen and Nichole, were incredibly close -- until one fateful event drove them apart. After high school, Cassie ran away from home to marry the wrong man, throwing away a college scholarship and breaking her parents’ hearts. To make matters worse, Cassie had always been their father’s favorite -- a sentiment that weighed heavily on her sisters and made Cassie’s actions even harder to bear.
Now thirty-one, Cassie is back in Washington, living in Seattle with her daughter and hoping to leave her past behind. After ending a difficult marriage, Cassie is back on her own two feet, the pieces of her life slowly but surely coming together. Despite the strides Cassie’s made, she hasn't been able to make peace with her sisters. Karen, the oldest, is a busy wife and mother, balancing her career with raising her two children. And Nichole, the youngest, is a stay-at-home mom whose husband indulges her every whim. Then one day, Cassie receives a letter from Karen, offering what Cassie thinks may be a chance to reconcile. And as Cassie opens herself up to new possibilities -- making amends with her sisters, finding love once more -- she realizes the power of compassion, and the promise of a fresh start.
Last One Home is not what I would consider a straight up romance. There is a romance but the sisters' relationships and their attempts at reconciliation is the driving force of the story. The main focus is Cassie and her desire to get back in touch with her sisters whom she has not seen since she left home at eighteen. Years have gone by with little communication between the sisters but that's all about to change.
Cassie Carter has done a lot of hard growing up since she left home as a teenager. Her marriage ended in disaster and she was lucky to get away. Cassie moves to Seattle with her twelve year old daughter to give them a better life. She's close to her childhood home but distant enough to give her the fresh start she's dreamed of. Part of the new life Cassie envisions for herself and her daughter is their own home. That's were Habitat for Humanity comes in along with Steve Brody.
Steve Brody is a workaholic and has no patience for anyone he thinks is a slacker. He allows his first look of Cassie to set his mind to the type of person she is. He really should learn not to judge a book by it's cover - or in this case, a person. Cassie doesn't let Steve's surly attitude get to her and stop her from making her dream of home ownership come true. I understood how Steve's past colored his objectivity when it came to Cassie but being a jerk right off the bat didn't exactly endear him to me.
Cassie's sisters, Karen and Nichole started off as immature bitches. They were still holding grudges against Cassie and her leaving without knowing the full story. It turns out their lives were not as perfect as they thought. Cassie showed how much she had matured by moving beyond the past and welcoming her sisters into her life. There were times when I felt sorry for Cassie and how everyone was treating her. The people in her life assumed they knew things about her and judged her on those assumptions. Some of the scenes evoked such strong emotions for Cassie, it took me by surprise.
It's not only Cassie Steve becomes closer to but also her daughter Aimee. Cassie and Aimee are a package deal. Cassie would do anything for Aimee and I did enjoy their close relationship but there were times when Cassie needed to take charge and be the parent, not the friend. Aimee was too manipulitive when it came to getting her mom and Steve together. She pushed and Cassie should have taken charge of the situation but she didn't which left me frustrated.
I really don't know how Cassie found the time to work as a stylist, volunteer as a women's shelter, put in hours at Habitat for Humanity and raise her daughter. When did this woman sleep? Add in a new romance and I had to wonder how anyone could realistically keep this schedule. Good thing this is fiction!
The plot takes a few turns which were mapped out early on so no real surprises. There are some emotional moments but ultimately, it's an easy, predictable story.