Home is Where Your Heart Is

Bonnie Gardner

Ellie Starling is shy; she is in her final semester of medical school. During the wedding of a friend in Alabama during Christmas, Ellie reconnects with ‘Mack’ Macauley. He is an ex- Army medic and former boyfriend, and they are both finishing medical school together. Unfortunately, they drifted apart nearly a year earlier because Mack had some traumas to process from his time in the military and from his unhealthy relationship with his family. Ellie lost interest because she felt Mack was using her and had never taken the time to get to know her. After spending all those months apart, they have both grown up. Mack wants to try dating Ellie again, but she is withholding judgement until she understands Mack’s growth and handling of his traumas. 

While this book has promise, the execution of the details drags it down somewhat. For example, readers hear repetitive conversations play out in each protagonists’ head: When one asks, “Are we dating?” the other one muses, “I wonder if we’re dating….” At times, the pace is steady, and at other times it drags. The result is that it takes longer than expected to read this story because of the uneven tension and the short supply of actions to propel the story forward. On a positive note, both of these protagonists are likable, with a core of inner strength and confidence to believe in their own inherent worth as people. They have strong friendships with others, and their family dynamics are much healthier than they used to be, leaving the reader with a strong sense of joy and hope for this couple.

Carey Sullivan