Publisher: Lake Union
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Betting on the city of Detroit’s eventual comeback, cousins Addie and Samantha decide to risk it all on an affordable new house and a culinary career that starts with renovating a vintage diner in a depressed area of town. There’s just one little snag in their vision.
Angus, a weary, beloved local, is strongly opposed to his neighborhood’s gentrification—and his concerns reflect the suspicion of the community. Shocked by their reception, Addie and Samantha begin to have second thoughts.
As the long hours, problematic love interests, and underhanded pressures mount, the two women find themselves increasingly at odds, and soon their problems threaten everything they’ve worked for. If they are going to realize their dreams, Addie and Samantha must focus on rebuilding their relationship. But will the neighborhood open their hearts to welcome them home?
Let’s start with that gorgeous cover, isn’t it stunning?! I’ve not read the authors previous book and based on the blurb I was expecting it to be on the lighthearted side, basic women’s fiction with a cutesy plot. Instead this was SO much more, it definitely has its fun moments and happiness but at its core it’s much deeper and full of substance. It tackles some extremely relevant and timely current issues in a really respectful and realistic manner. It touches on love, loss, community, and quite a bit more.
This is told from two points of view, cousins Addie and Sam and it switches back and forth between the two every chapter. It follows their lives and those of the staff and their community over the course of a year. When it begins, The Welcome Home diner has already opened its doors and is struggling to find its place in this tight knit and hesitant neighborhood. The residents are suspicious and guarded and for good reason as Detroit has had many struggles as of late. Addie and Sam were both well drawn characters with interesting histories and plenty of emotional depth, I enjoyed getting to know both of them. There is a large cast of colorful supporting characters as well with often painful, unique pasts that added an extra layer of emotion.
This story revolves around food and Lampman’s descriptions were scrumptious. She includes a handful of recipes from the story at the end and I will definitely be trying a few out! Interspersed between the food are some heavy hitting topics such as human trafficking, race relations and gentrification of a community. It’s all handled with grace and a style all of the authors own and leaves much to be discussed, this is an ideal book club read.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to the author for my review copy.