This Is Home
By Lisa Duffy
Atria; paperback; $16.99; available June 11
Lisa Duffy, the master interpreter of the emotional complexities, asks the question of what defines home in her new novel, This Is Home.
Is it a physical foundation, the presence of family, or something intangible? Characters grapple with this question in this nuanced and poignant story of finding where, and with whom, we belong.
In the seaside town of Paradise, Massachusetts, sixteen-year-old Libby Winters doesn’t have a typical home life. She lives on the middle floor of a triple-decker house with her father, Bent, and their 100-pound dog, while Bent’s sisters Desiree and Lucy occupy the top floor.
A former soldier turned policeman, Bent works nights, leaving Libby under her aunts’ supervision, and she wants nothing more than her independence.
Quinn Ellis’s idea of a perfect family has vanished, along with her husband, John, a war veteran. After his two tours of duty in Iraq, he carries the burden of war home with him and refuses to seek help for his PTSD. One night, he disappears after an argument. Months later, John still has not returned and, with an eviction notice in her hand, Quinn is now living on the bottom floor of the Winters’ house.
Libby is initially skeptical of Quinn, but she soon realizes that they aren’t as different as it first seemed. As they both struggle with the often confusing realities of trauma, love, and identity, they tackle these questions: How does war change a person? What happens to loved ones left behind? What is the meaning of home?
This Is Home is told from Libby and Quinn’s alternating perspectives, and each chapter gets to the heart of their hopes and fears that come with being a teenager and a military wife, respectively. This is a moving, multigenerational story that explores and redefines the families we choose and the homes we create, some of which are in the most unlikely of places.
Duffy’s debut work, The Salt House, was released in 2017 and it earned many accolades, including being named one of Bustle‘s Best Debut Novels by Women. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and three children. For more information, visit: SimonandSchuster.com and LisaDuffyWriter.com.