You can’t find where you truly belong until you discover who you really are…
This is the sequel to Fiona McCallum’s bestselling, Life of her Own (2019) and the second book in the Ballarat series. You can read our review of that here. In that, Alice Hamilton finished her degree as a mature age student and leaves her toxic job and de facto partner David. That story is left with a question mark… which is finally answered here, in the delightful, The Long Road Home.
Alice has left Melbourne behind and is now enjoying her new life in Ballarat with the freedom to explore her future now she’s stepped away from the constraints of her upbringing. There is a lot of pain in Alice’s past, but she has definitely moved forward in life now. She’s learnt the hard way that knowledge is power, and is looking forward to her legal studies, then making a difference as a lawyer with heart. She has a lovely apartment, a dog, Bill, and good friends…
“This was really the first time in her adult life Alice was truly living a life for her and really felt free at a deep, soul level.”
But whilst Alice’s life is looking up, back in Hope Springs the world of her former husband Rick Peterson is unravelling. After a chance meeting a few months earlier at a funeral, Rick and Alice have reconnected. And it’s fortunate they have, because Rick is about to need Alice’s friendship like he’s never needed it before.
Rick has always felt a bit lost – as a farmer, he could never admit he didn’t feel the deep connection to the land that the only son and third generation farmer should. And now he’s suddenly being forced to come to terms with just why his heart isn’t in it and what’s behind his fractured relationships. Has his whole life been a lie – and if so, where did that lie begin?
Fiona McCallum really is a master storyteller, and here is no different. This is an inspiring story about how when your life falls apart sometimes help can be found where you least expect it. In a genre where we can often guess where we’re headed, this book truly was a wonderful surprise. I hadn’t read Life of her Own, but this can absolutely be read as a standalone.
Fiona has created that smaller town, tight-knit community feel that as a reader you relax back into and never want to leave. Especially at this time in the world, this story was as comforting as it is entertaining. All the characters are complex with their own well-crafted arcs. I especially adored Alice and Rick – I really can’t say too much here in case I ruin all the glorious turns in the story, but I have my own Rick in my life, and really loved Fiona’s creative choices here.
Fingers crossed for a third book in the series. I’m not done with these characters yet. The Long Road Home is a lovely read that transported me away for the day. I loved it.