One of the things that bother me about many books set in Atlantic Canada is how the characters aren't living, they're just waiting impatiently for death. This strikes me as odd because having lived here all my life I can't imagine a livelier bunch of people. Sure we've had more than our fair share of hardships but we love to have a good time and we're definitely wacky.
Crewe once again captures that wackiness in Ava Comes Home. Not that bad things don't happen, of course they do, where would the plot be if there wasn't? There is plenty of tragedy but as you turn that last page you aren't reaching for a bottle of pills to dull the pain; instead, you sigh, "Aw, that was nice!"
Ava Harris is an Oscar winning actress but what most people don't know is she was born and raised on Cape Breton Island. Ten years she's been in LA living the glamorous life but one phone call sends her rushing back home. Her family know her as Libby MacKinnon and they've no idea why she took off one day, leaving the love of her life, Seamus, behind. Now that's she's back in her hometown, she has to face the secrets in her past, ones she's kept hidden even from herself for years. Her family don't know how to reconcile the movie star in their midst to the girl they used to know. And then there's Seamus. Can he ever forgive her for leaving him?
What makes Ava Comes Home so enjoyable is the characters. The story centers around Ava but her crazy family and friends are delightful in their quirkiness. Aunt Vi, Lola, Maurice and Harold. All such fun supportive characters. They played off each other quite well. Some of the funniest lines come from the conversations between Aunt Vi and Uncle Angus.
Crewe successfully builds the tension throughout the novel. What was Libby's secret? I had to keep reading to find out and I was shocked by some of the revelations.
One of the things I loved most about the book might not be considered an asset for other readers. There are a lot of localisms which of course I understand but I wonder how readers 'from away' would view them.
What do you think? How much local flavour do you like in your books?
If you like a little humour, a little tragedy and a little romance, you'll enjoy Ava Comes Home.
*Bought book at book signing. Met Lesley, she's a nice lady.