The Road Home (The Letter #2) by Kathleen Shoop. Oakglen Press 2015. 494 pages. ****
Alternating between 1891 and 1905, twins Katherine and Tommy and their mother, Jeanie Arthur relates the events that forced them to live separately from each other. The harshness of the time is told in unflinching detail, Tommy is compelled to live outdoors, compromising his conscience in order to survive and Katherine is accused of fortune-telling while seeing the ghost of her deceased brother while resisting the advances of her employer Mr. Christoff. Jeanie's goal is to earn enough money to reunite her family and restore her name in society. Betrayed by her husband, father, and best friend, Jeanie was not prepared for the poverty and isolation afforded women in society at that time. Caring for a daughter, Yale, who is challenged on various levels, adds to Jeanie's burden in maintaining a place to live and remaining hopeful about the future.
A heart-warming historical fiction story of friendship, family and love, Shoop does not disappoint. Not having read the first book and receiving this one from BookSparks as part of the 2015 Summer Reading Challenge, I was curious as to whether it would be enjoyable as a stand-alone novel. I was drawn instantly into the story and stayed there until the final page. Shoop has a gift for providing a keyhole to a historical place and time that makes me grateful for the abundance of the twenty-first century and yearning for more about Katherine, Tommy and Yale. I definitely will read the first and third book and am now a Shoop fan.
Bestselling author Kathleen Shoop holds a PhD in reading education and has more than 20 years of experience in the classroom. She writes historical fiction, women’s fiction and romance. Shoop’s novels have garnered various awards in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, Eric Hoffer Book Awards, Indie Excellence Awards, Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the San Francisco Book Festival. Kathleen has been featured in USA Today and the Writer’s Guide to 2013. Her work has appeared in The Tribune-Review, four Chicken Soup for the Soul books and Pittsburgh Parent magazine. She lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children. For more information, go to kshoop.com or visit her on Facebook or at @kathieshoop.