Despite the police investigation subplot, Home Out of Ashes is a brisk, emotional domestic, one where the characters are good, relatable people who strive to do right and fear disappointing each other. A new grad-student colleague, Marie, may hold Harry’s hand a little too long upon meeting him, but his devotion is never in doubt. Instead, Ballard finds drama in this couple’s efforts to rediscover who they are and what they want out of life when suddenly their circumstances have changed.
And things do change. After suddenly losing her income, Rett elects to rent out the family home and move into a fixer-upper in tiny Stella Mare, not far from her father’s house. She and the kids embrace a new life of goats, chicken coops, and fresh blueberries, with love and support from the sisters—and dogs!— that have given the previous books in this series such spark. Meanwhile, Harry faces injury, uncertainty, and the possibility that he may not know what he wants. His heartache is touching, especially as captured in Ballard’s inviting and incisive prose, but even more so is the trust and partnership he shares with Rett, even when out of reach.
Takeaway: Touching family story of a first-time stay-at-home mom going rustic.
Comparable Titles: Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone, Susan Sanford Blades's Fake it So Real.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A