THE LONG WAY HOME - Mariah Stewart
The Chesapeake Diaries , Book 6
St. Dennis, Maryland - The Present
Ellis Chapman, now using her middle name to become Ellie Ryder, escapes to St. Dennis to claim her mother's legacy, all she has left after a very long fall from grace. Her father and her fiancé are in prison serving sentences for bilking their clients out of millions of dollars. She grew up with a jet-setting lifestyle and enjoyed the best of everything. As the public relations person in her father's business, Ellie came under investigation. While cleared of any involvement, she lost everything of value acquired with the taint of her father's ill-gotten wealth. To settle his debt, the government took her car, jewelry, and any other asset of value. All but one of her former friends turned their backs on Ellie. Carly Summit, who has worked hard to establish her own art gallery business despite her family's great wealth, remains a staunch friend and confidante. She offers great solace during all of Ellie's past and present troubles. Ellie's mother was a famous model, and since her property came before her marriage, Ellie can legally keep the house and some cash with one caveat: she must live in the house for six months before selling it. The house previously belonged to her mother's aunt, Lily Cavanaugh. Ellie has no choice—she has nowhere else to go, and no one in St. Dennis except her lawyer knows who she is, so she can escape media scrutiny. The house needs repair before she can sell it, but it is on the bay and has great views so will hopefully sell at a good profit.
Local St. Dennis building contractor Cameron O'Connor visits his friend, the lawyer handling Lily Cavanaugh's will. Discovering the house has been sold infuriates him because he wanted to purchase it. Cameron has taken care of the yard and minor repairs on the house for years, long before Lily died. He owed her. When he learns the new owner wants to fix it up and sell, he visits her and offers his help to fix it up if he has first right to make a purchase offer.
As the sixth book in The Chesapeake Diaries, THE LONG WAY HOME contains many previous characters, but that is no hindrance to the story, only an incentive to read the earlier volumes. As the title suggests, both Ellie and Cameron take journeys of discovery to a place of acceptance for all that has been. They both have pasts to overcome, and Ellie needs to become reacquainted with her mother, who died of cancer many years ago. Her father has one more straw to add to Ellie's over-burdened back, and the ghost of Lily Cavanaugh adds a connection between many different players in this story; her history adds to the peace, strength, and safety sensed in her home—another dimension Ellie will discover. An altogether charming and poignant tale, THE LONG WAY HOME will entertain readers from first word to last.