Friday, March 15, 2024

Book Review: Nowhere Like Home

By Sara Steven 

When Lenna gets a call from her old friend Rhiannon, she is startled; Rhiannon disappeared years ago without a trace. But Lenna is even more startled to learn that Rhiannon has a son and that she lives off the grid with a group of women in a community called Halcyon. Rhiannon invites Lenna, a new mother herself, to join them. Why suffer the sleepless nights by yourself? It takes a village, after all.

Lenna decides to go and hopefully repair her relationship with Rhiannon, but as she drives into the desert and her cell service gets weaker, she becomes suspicious. Who are these women and why did Rhiannon invite her here? And that is before she learns about the community's rules (no outside phone calls, no questions about people’s pasts) and the padlock on the gate that leads out to the main road. But Lenna has other concerns, secrets from her past she is terrified will come out. When a newcomer arrives in the community, Lenna’s worst fears are confirmed—she was brought here for a reason.

Nowhere Like Home tackles themes of complicated friendships and trauma but all with Sara Shepard’s expert twists that you don’t see coming. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

From the start, Nowhere Like Home gives off a very suspenseful and thrilling vibe. Lenna and her infant son are making their way to a place called Halcyon, an off-the-grid community that is only known by way of word of mouth. It is a very selective, secretive place–and the reader gets the impression that Lenna is running away from something. It feels like a last resort choice, but given one of her old friends (Rhiannon)  had reached out to her out of the blue to invite her, she can’t help but feel as though the next steps she chooses are ones that are most likely fate. Not to mention the chance to see Rhiannon again.

As Lenna spends time there, we get to see the wariness she feels from her perspective. No one appears to be who they really are. They all seem to have run away from something–and phone calls outside of the community are frowned upon. In order for the reader to better understand the relationship Lenna had with not only Rhiannon but others who play a key factor in her choices, the story is told from multiple perspectives, along with a time jump backwards roughly two years, when it all began. When Lenna initially had formed a friendship with Rhiannon. When Lenna’s deepest, darkest secrets had taken root, haunting her every day of her life from there on out. 

I absolutely loved the suspense! Nothing was laid out or cut and dried. I always wondered if something would lurk menacingly around the corner, and I was never disappointed with that. In one scene, I felt certain of who the “bad guy” was, but then I was completely and totally wrong. Other clues would surface, leading me down another path, but then that would lead me to a dead end, too. It was so exciting! I had the toughest time putting this book down and taking a break, because I wanted to find out how things would end for Lenna. 

The story takes place near Tucson, Arizona, and there is reference regarding Three Points (a town outside of Tucson). My parents happen to live there, so I can vouch for the vast desert and space out there–the perfect setting for an off-the-grid community. Lenna finds herself at a gas station out there, and I’ve actually been to that gas station several times! That was fun to read about. It’s not often such a remote place like that is featured in a book I’m reading. Nowhere Like Home was the perfect thriller. A definite five-star read!

Thanks to Dutton for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Sara Shepard:
The Heiresses
Pretty Little Liars (series)

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.

Listen to this book on Speechify!

No comments: