My childhood was marked by large family gatherings, like the Thanksgiving in this photo
I grew up in the same small town as the families of my dad’s three brothers & my mom’s two siblings. My cousins walked the halls of my school with me, and I seemed to stumble over at least one relative every place I went. At one point, of the twenty or so homes on our street & extension, about seven of them housed relatives—granted some were distant.
The presence of my extended family left me with a strong feeling of being loved and watched over, of being part of something good.
Some of my best memories involve family dinners—my four siblings, I, and my parents sitting around the table during those few short years when we were all home and healthy and happy How quickly the time has flown since those days under my parents’ roof.
I enjoyed my childhood, but I truly did not realize what a rare treasure it was until I began teaching. I teach high school English at a small-town Christian school, and I calculated that in our tiny community of 80 kids, 20% of them come from fractured homes &traumatic pasts. Unlike me, their childhoods include abuse, foster care, a parent in prison or on drugs, death of a parent, being raised by grandparents, no father, never met their father, or unhappily married parents who divorced. So they are highly entertained when I share stories from my growing up years!
I enjoy going home again in my mind. I think that’s why I’m drawn to books about large, chaotic, loving families facing life together even after they’re adults. I call it my Walton’s Syndrome.
The latest book to provide my Walton’s Syndrome fix is Deborah Raney’s charming story Home to Chicory Lane.
Chicory Lane is where Audrey & Grant Whitman raised their five kids. Now that those kids are grown, they’ve invested a large part of Grant’s retirement and much sweat equity into transforming their home into a bed & breakfast. The book begins as they’re ready to jump into the new world of innkeeping. However, little do they expect their first—nonpaying!—guest to be married daughter Landyn, who has run back home after a fight with her husband. Though shocked that the newlyweds have run into trouble after just six months, Landyn’s family rallies around her and her husband Chase in a beautiful way.
Because that’s life in the Whitman family—parents, adult kids, and grandkids, supporting each other through tough times with grace, humor & prayer. And then, as Grant says, “Learning to enjoy the lull between catastrophes.”
What I liked best . . .
- The gentle flow of the story—perfect for a crisp fall day & a cup of tea!
- The whole idea of running a bed & breakfast (My Lorelai Gilmore Syndrome!)
- Getting to know the Whitmans & their adult kids (They’ll be featured in more books to come!)
- Going along for the ride as Audrey & Grant learn to handle scheduling and preparing and unruly guests (even young beauty queens)
- Seeing their daughter Landyn grow & change as she puts her life back together
- Speculating on the future relationship between Link & Bree
My favorite quotes . . .
What you should do next . . .
You can grab a copy of Home to Chicory Lane at this link. ***Thanks to Deborah Raney & Litfuse PR for providing a copy for me to review.
You can connect with Deborah . . .
So glad you stopped by to soak in some nostalgia today. Blessings, friends!
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