Book Review: My Father’s House by Rose Chandler Johnson

Posted June 16, 2016 by meezcarrie in Christian, Rose Chandler Johnson / 4 Comments

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about the book

Growing up, life is idyllic for Lily Rose Cates due to one constant — her father’s love.

But in her sixteenth summer, all that changes without warning. There begins Lily’s struggle to find herself and the life she’s lost. . . . Marriage promises fulfillment, but her happily-ever-after barely survives the honeymoon. Her husband’s sophisticated façade hides a brooding man with even darker secrets.

When all illusions shatter, Lily must make hard choices — abandon her husband or risk losing much more than her marriage. She flees their home in Detroit and sets out on a fearful journey to a house in Georgia that her husband knows nothing about. This is one woman’s compelling tale of love and survival as she finds her way back home to who she’s meant to be . . . in her father’s house.

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GENRE: Women’s Fiction
PUBLISHER: Rose Chandler Johnson
RELEASE DATE: March 13, 2016
PAGES: 314

“You’re gonna be all right, Lily Rose.”

My Father’s House by Rose Chandler Johnson is captivating in its Southern gentility.  Words lilt across the page, iced with a Georgia drawl that makes you wish for a wraparound porch and a tall cool glass of lemonade. (I had neither the porch nor the lemonade at hand, but I made do.)

Family beats at the heart of My Father’s House – those we’re born into and those we gather around us.  In Lily Rose Cate’s case, it’s the family she’s gathered around her that makes for the most compelling characters. Annie Ruth, Sugar, Aunt Mae, Julie, Sam. Each are brimming with quiet wisdom and personalities you want to hug. With lines like “There ain’t no roads back to yesterday”, Annie Ruth was my favorite character of the bunch!

Lily Cate herself is young and almost painfully naive and quite often I found myself shaking my head at her. But like most Southern gently-bred women, she is made of stronger stuff than she appears to be at first glance. Though she makes some rash decisions at the beginning – and then some decisions I didn’t quite understand in the middle – the fact remains that she’s a survivor. She had the courage to get help when she needed it, and she knew where to go to find safety.

Side note: This book will make you hungry for some good completely-unhealthy Southern food. I’m just sayin’.

Bottom Line: Southern fiction meets domestic drama meets a coming of age story in Rose Chandler Johnson’s debut novel, My Father’s House. Johnson has a gift for setting, and each scene leaps vibrantly off the page. At times the prose takes on an almost memoir-quality, as though Lily Rose herself is sitting in a rocking chair next to you on the front porch, recounting the events in her smooth Georgia drawl.  In fact, I was already thinking along these lines when I came across this statement from Lily Rose in reply to Sam’s question about whether the novel she’s writing is autobiographical: “Not in actual events… but maybe the themes… the themes are similar.” I wonder, if I asked Rose Chandler Johnson the same question, if she would answer me like Lily Rose answered Sam 🙂

(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)

My Rating: 3.5 stars / Liked it!

Reviewer’s Note: I would classify this novel as Christian fiction. That said, there are a very few instances of profanity, some uses of God’s name in a non-reverent manner, and the addressing of more mature themes such as domestic abuse and spousal rape. These themes are part of Lily Rose’s story and are handled frankly but with grace.

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about the author

rose chandler johnson

Rose Chandler Johnson is the author of the award winning devotional God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments. My Father’s House is her first novel. She happily makes her home near Augusta, Georgia.

What about you? Lily Rose’s favorite heirloom is her Daddy’s desk. What is a favorite family heirloom or memory that you have?

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4 responses to “Book Review: My Father’s House by Rose Chandler Johnson

  1. Winnie Thomas

    I inherited my grandparents’ piano. As near as I can determine, it was made around 1900, It is a beautiful upright made of dark wood. I also inherited my great-grandmother’s china set. She died in 1960 at the age of 90. Family rumor is that it was her mother’s before that, so it’s very old. Almost all of 12 place settings are intact. Of course, I don’t dare ever use it! LOL I do dare use the piano, though, although it protests!

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