From the author of book club favorite The Salt House comes a deeply affecting novel about a teenage girl finding her voice and the military wife who moves in downstairs, united in their search for the true meaning of home.
Sixteen-year-old Libby Winters lives in Paradise, a seaside town north of Boston that rarely lives up to its name. After the death of her mother, she lives with her father, Bent, in the middle apartment of their triple decker home—Bent’s two sisters, Lucy and Desiree, live on the top floor. A former soldier turned policeman, Bent often works nights, leaving Libby under her aunts’ care. Shuffling back and forth between apartments—and the wildly different natures of her family—has Libby wishing for nothing more than a home of her very own.
Quinn Ellis is at a crossroads. When her husband John, who has served two tours in Iraq, goes missing back at home, suffering from PTSD he refuses to address, Quinn finds herself living in the first-floor apartment of the Winters house. Bent had served as her husband’s former platoon leader, a man John refers to as his brother, and despite Bent’s efforts to make her feel welcome, Quinn has yet to unpack a single box.
For Libby, the new tenant downstairs is an unwelcome guest, another body filling up her already crowded house. But soon enough, an unlikely friendship begins to blossom, when Libby and Quinn stretch and redefine their definition of family and home.
With gorgeous prose and a cast of characters that feel wholly real and lovably flawed, This Is Home is a nuanced and moving novel of finding where we belong.
Authentic characters resonate throughout this engrossing novel from Duffy (The Salt House) as a woman tries to understand why her husband, a soldier with PTSD, has left her. Quinn Ellis's husband, John, was deployed twice in their five years of marriage; after the last tour, he came back to their home in Massachusetts but soon after disappeared. Quinn's work as a nanny is the only thing keeping her anchored while she tries to find John and waits for him to get in touch with her. After receiving a notice that her lease won't be renewed, Quinn accepts an offer from John's former sergeant, Bent Winters, a local cop in Paradise, Mass.: she can stay on the first floor of the triple-decker he lives in with his sisters, Lucy and Desiree, and his teen daughter, Libby. Alternating points of view from Libby and Quinn provide the contrasting perspectives of a teenage girl on the brink of adulthood and a wife coping with the sorrow and guilt of her fractured marriage. Over time, Quinn and Libby come to see each other as family, healing their mutual loneliness. A healthy dose of humor balances the sadness of Quinn's story. Intensely real and deeply emotional, Duffy's rich novel is worth savoring from the very first page.