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Little Women + WWII Setting = Love Comes Home

  • Christa Banister Contributing Writer
  • 2014 30 Jul
<i>Little Women</i> + WWII Setting = <i>Love Comes Home</i>

Author: Ann H. Gabhart
Title: Love Comes Home
Publisher: Revell

If you’re like me, and you’re new to author Ann H. Gabhart’s “Rosey Corner” series, I’ve got some good news. If you start with the third book Love Comes Home, it’s perfectly fine.

Yes, Gabhart is just that skilled at making Love Comes Home feel self-contained, and while I’m sure there’s benefits to reading Angel Sister and Small Town Girl beforehand, it doesn’t take long to figure out what makes these charming small-town locals tick. See, unlike many novels that thrive on rollercoaster twists of plot, Love Comes Home is far more interested in offering three-dimensional characters.

Like Louisa May Alcott did so masterfully with Little Women, Gabhart also understands the complexities—and comedic possibilities—of sisterly dynamics when introducing the audience to the Merritt sisters. With World War II drawing to a close, the citizens of Rosey Corner, which includes these four very distinct sisters anchoring the narrative, are busy gearing up for the homecoming festivities for their men in uniform.

But as excited as Kate, Evangeline, Victoria and Lorena are for the next phase of their lives, not everything goes as smoothly as planned. Not surprisingly, war changes people, and Gabhart does a fantastic job of exploring the emotional aftermath.

For one sister, it’s wrestling with what it means to be married to someone you don’t know all that well anymore. For another sister, it’s watching your spouse struggle with something that didn’t have an official name at the time, namely post-traumatic stress disorder. The loss of a spouse and extended family, and the challenge of moving forward, haunts the two remaining sisters, and through vivid prose, Gabhart allows the reader to feel the sting of each disappointment.

An intriguing study in what happens when our life plans don’t line up with God’s will, Love Comes Home may be set in the past but has plenty of timely resonance all the same. Should my description come across as a total bummer, however, there is plenty of levity to balance these more serious circumstances.

It takes a particularly skilled pen not to descend into total cheesiness in the quest for a happy ending, and Gabhart clearly understands the tricky balance. The spiritual applications Gabhart makes are also organic and unforced, which is always a welcome development in Christian fiction.

Filled with memorable characters you can’t help rooting for and a few unexpected detours along the way, Love Comes Home is historical fiction at its finest, an opportunity to learn about the past by escaping to a fascinating new world filled with possibility.

*Published July 30, 2014