One man became her husband.
He had the face of an angel, and a voice that could tear your heart to shreds and leave it bleeding.
The year is 1974, and songwriter Casey Bradley is just eighteen years old when handsome, charismatic singer Danny Fiore crashes into her life and her heart. The first time she hears Danny sing, Casey is ready to toss away her entire future for a man who’s almost certain to break her heart. Danny has a white-hot talent and a single, blinding ambition: to become a rock star. The songs that Casey writes send an icy blue finger down the center of his cynical spine. But Danny knows exactly where he’s going, and he has no intention of taking any woman along. A girl like Casey would want things he’s not prepared to give. A home. Stability. Children. He’s married to his music, and that’s the way he likes it. Neither of them plans on falling in love. But sometimes, the heart has a mind of its own.
The other man became her best friend.
Guitar wizard Rob MacKenzie doesn’t have Danny’s looks, or his charisma, or his sense of style. Tall and gaunt and bony, Rob isn’t a god, just an ordinary mortal, an easygoing guy who wants nothing more than to write his songs, play his guitar, and find the right woman. But life is never quite as simple as it seems, and his search for Ms. Right keeps leading him down all the wrong roads.
Together, they became the holy trinity of rock and roll.
When Rob MacKenzie and Casey Bradley Fiore begin writing songs together, the result is an unstoppable hit-making machine that catapults Danny Fiore to stardom. But the road to success is littered with land mines, and life with Danny isn’t all that Casey expected. Rivers of darkness flow through her troubled marriage, and every time Danny breaks her heart, it’s her best friend Rob who picks her up, dusts her off, and glues the pieces back together.
When tragedy struck, she had to find herself.
It isn’t until she suffers an unimaginable loss that Casey begins to question who she is and what she really wants from life. As she searches for herself amid the wreckage, she discovers the bittersweet truth that the choices a woman makes at thirty may differ vastly from those she made at eighteen.
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Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte
J&G: ✯✯✯✯ Stars
‘His music was his mistress, a siren far more seductive than any mortal woman. And unlike mortal women, this lady wouldn’t disappoint.’
Jenny: I have to say Gitte, I was captivated by the expressive and stunning beauty of this authors prose. Her words immediately pulled me into the story and held me until the end, though it was a struggle at times as her words certainly shattered my heart over and over again.
I am completely exhausted. I feel as if my heart has run an emotional marathon as Coming Home continually tested my emotional limits. My poor heart is reeling as the story of Rob, Danny and Casey, three friends who come together through a mutual love and passion for music and who together pursue their dream to break in to the music industry, a story told over a 15 year period. Coming Home is told with emotion, beauty and a HUGE helping of angst. I felt love, anger, frustration, hurt and overwhelming sadness throughout….my resolve was constantly tested and I felt it all. Though, how I’m feeling after finishing this story? I’m honestly not sure.
“My name’s Daniel Fiore, and you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen, and I want to hold you in my arms and dance with you all night.”
“My name’s Casey Bradley, and I’ve been waiting eighteen years for you to come walking into my life.”
This author certainly wove a complex and heartbreakingly told story of self-discovery, friendship, loss, and intense love that is tested to its utmost limits. This was tough read wasn’t it Gitte and Coming Home certainly left us feeling pretty down as the sadness just kept coming.
Gitte: Well, I have to say this is one of the hardest reviews I’ve had to write because my emotions and feelings on this book are all over the place. I asked myself continuously whilst reading if there can ever be too much angst, too much heart-break and tragedy? Can a story be too depressing to read? After finishing Coming Home my answer is yes….yes and this is the one that finally became all of the above for me.
“Tell the world to go to hell…and follow your heart.”
Despite this, I could not put it down because the writing was implicitly beautiful, the love story embodied everything you’d want, making promises of something amazing and epic. When you strip everything away to the bare core of the story; this was a stunning depiction of love, friendship, despair and hope as well as individual growth.
“Nobody has the right to tell you what to want.”
I love high emotions, whatever that emotion may be. I love having a story make me feel so much I can’t stop my tears or even have me wanting to throw my kindle at the wall in frustration. Reading is an escape; the disappearance into someone else’s world. Wanting to live through the eyes and heart of a character that you feel so damn close to or connected with. Living and breathing their passion and desperation.
“You’re my whole goddamn life. Haven’t you figured it out by now?”
You want to laugh, cry, love, feel what they do right alongside them. However, to be bombarded by nothing but grief, heart-break, a sombre tones as well as despair and struggle from page one to the last proved too much for me this time. Too much in the sense that I have no idea what to say or how to rate Coming Home. These feelings I credit entirely on the sublime writing!
Jenny: I’m also at a loss on how to rate this one. I wanted to shout STOP at times the sorrow became too much to bear, and it was the sheer beauty of the writing that spurred me to continue.
We meet Casey who has led a somewhat sheltered life, living on a dairy farm, engaged to her childhood friend. She feels imprisoned by obligations and responsibilities, with expectations placed on her following the loss of her mother a few years earlier.
‘She felt as though she’d spent her entire life settling for second best.’
Danny Fiore enters her life with the force of a meteorite. This larger than life amazingly talented, exquisitely handsome, confident and self-assured man represents everything she has yearned for but never imagined possible. He steals her heart and awakens a longing, a dream and a chance at real happiness which Casey grasps with both hands. Yet behind the confident façade Danny is a vulnerable man plagued by scars from his past.
“You terrify me…You make me hungry for things I’m not sure I have a right to want.” – Casey
Theirs was an intense, passionate and all-consuming love. These were two people whose strengths and weaknesses would test them as individuals, test their marriage and test the friendship and creativity they shared with their friend and fellow music partner Rob through the years.
“I’d give it all up for you……I’d put on a tie and sit at a desk all day if it was what you wanted.”-Danny
“I’d never ask you to do that. It would crush your spirit.” – Casey
“I love you that much.” – Danny
As I began to anticipate how this story was to play out, I did consider putting it aside. I wasn’t sure if i was prepared to put myself through the torment I knew was to come. However, I did continue because I was committed to these characters, their struggles and their story and felt a necessity to see it through to the end. One thing I don’t particularly like is when my hand is forced in regards to my feelings about a character. When “that” character becomes something entirely different than the one I’ve fallen in love with, through no fault of the character but merely to accept another, then it puts me off kilter. As my feelings differed to that of the author, I felt as though the character I was invested in was let down although the authors love and passion for her story was never in question. I know you share the same thoughts as me on this Gitte, and as you can explain it much better I’ll hand it over to you. Coming Home certainly tested us didn’t it?
Gitte: We really were tested Jenny and kudos to Laurie Breton for making me so passionate about my feelings, however, I feel it only right to voice my issues with this story. As a reader I was put in a position where a choice was taken out of my hands. Without wanting to spoil anything, what we have here is the beginnings of an epic beautiful love story. It started out so heart-warming, exciting and hopeful. Danny and Casey; so very much in love, taking a chance on each other whilst struggling to fight for their dreams; living in poverty to chase their aspirations of making it in the music industry side by side. Their journey was burdened by obstacles, pain and rejection. It was filled with tragedy and desperation. Yet it had a love so extremely powerful.
“We’re charmed. Nothing can ever hurt us.”
The stunning writing made this an addictive journey where I rooted for Danny & Casey as well as Rob, I revelled in their passion, love and friendships. The three musketeers with a friendship forged by steel; an unbreakable bond. The dynamics were those made of nostalgia and the making of memories.
Then slowly but surely the Author shifted focus and penned a story where characters were made a stark difference of. We suddenly had a bad guy and a good guy. The attention slipped and only the negative or bad was highlighted and the good guy is suddenly ‘not so good’ and was made to lose his voice and his way; I was clearly forced to ‘un-love’ him in order to like where this story was going. This broke my heart, truly it did, because it was an injustice in the making. Why make us fall in love with a character then suddenly only show us the bad, which in my opinion was consequential of a hard life, and from there on end continue to do so despite his struggles and tragic past? The Author took sides about a third way through the story, she wanted an outcome and come hell or high water, this was going to happen no matter what and at who’s cost. Thereby making me, the reader, unable to have my own opinion thus I was forced into a corner just as she was.
‘Never enough time…Not in a lifetime would there be enough time to satisfy her hunger for him.’
Now, writing about a love so strong and a passion so fierce; how is it possible to reject that and paint a picture so bleak and heart-wrenching about a romance that withstood an uncountable amount of struggle and grief? A love withstanding everything thrown at it cannot be compared to a love that’s never been truly tested.
I fell in love with both Danny and Rob equally; however, I felt incredibly angry at some of the developments and if it wasn’t for the outstanding beauty of this Authors writing, I would have stopped reading.
This story made me realise, that actually, there can be too much angst and heart-break when it’s as relentless as in Coming Home. Also, I really don’t enjoy when an Author tries to sway my opinion by dismissing one of her beloved characters by suddenly only highlighting the bad and not giving them the credit they so truly deserve, the credit she originally penned when we began this journey.
“I’m sorry it took me so long.”…..“You were born to be held.”
So yeah, I’m at a loss….I loved, absolutely loved the stunning beauty of the writing. Coming Home had the promise of epic-ness, a unique rock star story spanning decades with characters who embodied raw passion, hope and perseverance.
“Not everybody gets a second chance….”
Then….well I’ve never felt so emotionally tired and utterly despondent as I did upon finishing this story, not in a long time. Hence my confusion and inability to say whether I loved it or not. Perhaps my strong emotions and jumbled thoughts mean that I did, who knows? I’m still confused and morose!!
J&G: We have to say we were very surprised at the intensity of this book. You see, last month we put a call out to our fellow readers asking them to recommend a book which had lots of romance, passion, it HAD to have humour and it was to be nothing overly angsty with no love triangles. Basically we were in the mood for a sweet romance which would make us smile and Coming Home was mentioned a few times and so we took the plunge. We didn’t read any reviews and didn’t know a lot about the story so we were really taken aback by enormous level of angst and the sheer heartbreak and sadness felt throughout Coming Home.
However, we were pulled into the story immediately by the phenomenal writing and there was no turning back as we felt compelled to follow Casey, Danny and Rob through their journey of self-discovery, pain and heartbreak. There was no way we could put this book down until we turned the very last page even though it left us in a state of emotional exhaustion.
“I’m just an ordinary guy”
“No…….What you are is the air that I breathe.”
There are so many aspects to this story as we unravel the past and doubts that plague Danny, the unattainable dreams that taunt Casey and the constant stream of broken relationships that follow Rob.
“I need to find out where I fit into that world.” – Casey
“You fit right here…by my side” – Danny
There is no doubting that despite our issues, we found this to be a beautifully told story and regardless of the fact that we weren’t completely content with the way some aspects played out, Coming Home did leave us breathless. If you love your angst, if you love your heartache and you want to experience some truly beautiful writing, then we recommend picking up Coming Home.
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