I just finished the debut novel from author Eve Marie Mont. A classic coming-of-age vibe. , Free to a Good Home. Mont puts a spin on the traditional "20-something-growing up-finding herself" theme. First off, Noelle Ryan isn't 20 and she isn't moving to NYC (someday, I would love for authors to explain to me why 90% of the coming-of-age novels are based around moving to the city). Noelle is in her 30s, unable to bear a child, divorced from a gay man and happy in her job. Doesn't sound like the typical storyline for this particular theme. I think that is why I actually liked the novel.
Noelle is trying to find her footing in her life. She is a successful vet tech, but doesn't get the pay or recognition she deserves. Noelle is always the girl who gives her all and doesn't expect anything in return. Thus leading to her decision to marry a man for the wrong reasons, help out her ex-mother-in-law out of guilt and take on a promotion, minus the pay raise. As the story unfolds, the reader is pulled into Noelle's world of giving her all. I was immediately drawn to her character- she is so full of life and desire to help. Noelle is a well-rounded character with struggles and success, but also a bit fearful. She is scared of change, of what it may bring. However, change is what she needed... not only for herself but for those around her. Noelle had to admit to herself what she needed and wanted- not what everyone else wants for her. Her family, ex-husband and his new boyfriend, boss, ex-mother-in-law, and potential love interest all put pressure on Noelle and she needs to make priorities.
Throughout the novel, Noelle introduces the reader to wonderful puppies and rescue dogs, as well as stunning houses (her hobby of choice is reading reality sites). The novel takes place over the course of a very eye-opening year, for both Noelle and the reader. Noelle is easy to relate to, even if we all haven't been through a divorce or a life-changing medical discovery. I felt that I could relate to her due to the overall theme and story line. Even though I haven't been through the things Noelle has, I have had struggles in my life that I overcame... Mont makes her characters easy to relate with all around (I found myself relating to her ex-mother-in-law who has MS on a certain level) through her use of common themes and struggles that all humans experience.
I enjoyed this novel... I felt like it was an easy read that was also heartwarming and thought provoking. I also needed a break from all the crazy end-of-the-world books and psychology books I have been devouring lately! I'd definitely recommend this book to my girlfriends as a quick pick-me-up.
write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow