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A Home Of Her Own    by Brenda Novak order for
Home Of Her Own
by Brenda Novak
Order:  USA  Can
Harlequin, 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

After years of moving around, Lucky Caldwell returns to Dundee, Idaho and the Victorian house inherited from a loving stepfather. Lucky was ten when her mother Red married wealthy Morris Hill, but the marriage was short-lived. Red left town under suspicion of involvement in Morris's death from an overdose of insulin. While Lucky's surface motives are to renovate and sell the house, she also wants to learn the identity of her biological father. A clue in her mother's journal points to one of three men - a local business owner, a state senator, and a cowboy. Strengthened by an inner resolve, Lucy ignores the townsfolks' dislike (based on her mother's past and reputation).

Lucky encounters Mike Hill (Morris's grandson), disrupting Mike's 'peace of mind' and pulling him in two directions - attraction to Lucky versus his family's hatred of Red Caldwell. The heroine arrives in the worst snowstorm of the winter season to a house with no utilities, broken windows, and graffiti referring to her mother's sordid past. Lucky's attraction to Mike has existed since her teens, despite the age difference between them. Although she has to deal with animosity, threats of physical harm, and intimidating signs left on the Victorian house doorstep, there are also non-judgmental townsfolk.

Brenda Novak develops her characters well, giving credence to each no matter how small their role. I enjoyed descriptions of the landscape, such as 'she had no quarrel with the land. The surrounding mountains rose majestically ... the ice-covered pond at the bottom of the hill shimmered like a field of crushed diamonds and the leafless trees ... resembled nothing more than delicate white lace.' Novak leaves the question of Lucky's paternity unanswered, left to the conjecture of the reader (or perhaps for a sequel?) I recommend A Home Of Her Own as an amenable read, with tugs of suspense and an unexpected ending.

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