My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Once a high powered financial whiz, Jonathan Caine’s world has come crashing in around him. Accused of insider trading, his assets are frozen and his seemingly charmed life has evaporated around him. With no where else to turn, Jonathan decides to head back to his family in New Jersey to care for his ailing father, just in time for his twenty-fifth high school reunion.
Jacqueline Williams is the former prom queen who married the high school quarterback. But Jackie didn’t get the happy ending she was hoping for — her husband abuses her and has threatened to kill her and cut off access to their children should she ever bring up the word “divorce” to him again.
Back in the high school, Jonathan couldn’t have thought of approaching Jackie. But now he’s back and the two soon strike up a romance. If only they could find a way to get Jackie’s husband out of the picture without creating more harm for Jackie or her kids.
Adam Mitzner’s The Girl From Home starts off with a great hook and then slowly unravels the lives of Jonathan and Jackie. The first section of the novel moves from the past to the present, painting a solid picture of how and why Jonathan and Jackie have got themselves into their respective situations and then beginning their affair together. It’s one the past and present merge that the novel hits a bit of bumpy spot and loses some of its early momentum.
To say too much would be to ruin some of the revelations of the last half of the novel. But I can honestly say that the second half doesn’t entirely deliver on the promise of the first.
But I’ll give Mitzner credit — he makes both characters likeable enough anti-heroes that we can root for them — even as they’re lying and cheating. And the change in meaning to Jonathan’s mantra of “I want what I want” over the course of the novel is extremely well done. (It starts out as Jonathan only wanting a beach front property in the Hamptons to slowly becoming about wanting to be a better man for Jackie and in the light of his father’s illness).
As a thriller, I felt like I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough during the first half of the novel, eager to find out what might happen next. It’s once a certain event occurs that the novel loses a bit of its momentum and I found it not quite as engaging as the first half promised.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a digital ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.