The Shortest Way Home
By Miriam Parker
Dutton Books, $26
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It’s love at first sight for Hannah when she enters the tasting room of Bellosguardo vineyard in California’s Sonoma Valley. On a weekend away to celebrate their upcoming business school graduation, Hannah is expecting a romantic getaway with her boyfriend, but what she gets is so much more.
Miriam Parker’s debut novel The Shortest Way Home cunningly takes on societal expectations and wraps up in an adventure just begging to be read on a comfy couch with a glass of wine. (That will be the first and last wine reference for this Sonoma Valley-set novel, I promise.)
Hannah is just a few weeks away from moving to New York with her boyfriend where her enviable, well-paying new job in finance awaits. But, by the end of the weekend, she’s received a job offer from the winery to help them realize their potential. Hannah decides to put her plans—and her love life—on hold while she pursues this unexpected opportunity.
There’s a fair amount of agonizing in her decision, and, as Hannah learns, nothing is perfect, but she trusts her gut, and reserves the right to change her mind. It is a great reminder that none of us has a crystal ball, and really, what is the worst that can happen?
With verdant vineyards as its backdrop, Parker creates a charming new community for Hannah, complete with the quirky town gossip who takes Hannah under wing and a charming cottage dwelling straight out of House Beautiful. Throughout the novel, Hannah must make choices: where to work, where to live, whom to love (there is a delightful flirtation with a new love interest). What she ultimately chooses, again and again, is her own happiness over traditional ideas of success. The book gives a warm embrace to the notion that happiness is success. Hannah proves to be a true heroine, not just for herself, but for her readers too.
We look forward to seeing what interesting, complicated, smart and funny protagonist Parker’s writes next!
Intern Brontë gives The Shortest Way Home four (out of four) paws