Whenever I leave for vacation, no matter where I go or how long or short the vacation turns out to be, I am always in a hurry to return home. It’s weird because I know instantly when I need to get away and plan all sorts of fun trips for me and my family. We countdown the days until we leave and are extremely excited when we get to wherever our destination is. Then I begin another countdown—the one to go home.
I’ve always wondered why that is and the simple answer is, there’s no place like home. So when my editor approached me about writing a small town series where siblings return to their hometown after their grandmother’s death, I immediately gravitated to the idea. Usually, I like to formulate story ideas on my own, but family is such a huge deal for me that this one clicked instantly.
Sweetland, Maryland is a fictional town, built on very real elements, such as a quaint Eastern Shore community and a family rooted in love and tradition. The Cantrells, like so many families, have had their issues to deal with over time—the perfect son marries a not-so-perfect woman who is anything but maternal and actually despises the town and the family she’s built there. As a result the children are also in a hurry to leave Sweetland once they’re old enough. Before she knows it the grandmother is left in Sweetland, alone. Coming home for each of the six siblings is hard, but necessary. Facing the demons that they’ve carried with them all these years is another matter entirely.
It can be hard to believe that a place could make facing fears, healing from old wounds, and simply moving forward in life possible, but there it is. Pliny the Elder said, “Home is where the heart is.” How true that is. How many times have you had an awful day at work and the hours seemed to drag on and on, and then it’s finally time to leave and you head home? There may be problems to deal with there as well, but you’re infinitely more comfortable, more at ease and all those problems and even the bad day you had suddenly doesn’t seem that awful. Isn’t it wonderful to have a place like that to return to?
The Cantrell men—Quinn (Homecoming, Now Available), Preston (Just Like Heaven, Now Available) and Parker (Summer’s Moon, August 2014)—have all come home. They’ve made their peace with their past and are now focused on their futures. Without the foundation laid by Mary Janet Cantrell, their grandmother, there would not have been a home for them to come back to and making their way through their obstacles may have been just a little harder. I for one, am very pleased, that they had the town of Sweetland with all its quirky citizens and lessons to be learned to fall back on. Now, we’ll just have to see if the Cantrell sisters—Raine, Savannah and Michelle—will also use their homecoming to find love and happiness in their future.