I finished Homebody by Orson Scott Card on February 10, 2010. How I found this book at the library, I couldn’t tell you. It was possibly on a list of must-reads. Or, maybe, it found me.
Insert spooky music here.
The jacket’s summary was slightly misleading, though, as it described events out of order, which I assume was in an effort to make the story appear more suspenseful or certain events more critical. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good story. But I think the blurb could’ve been more concise and less scattered.
Don Lark was easy to empathize with, and his grief and anger were justified. I enjoyed Cindy’s character and the almost romance but, if I’m being honest, she seemed unnecessary to the story. In fact, it made me think Don was a man who fell in love easily and I believe Card wanted to prove the opposite. How could a man, who refuses to open his heart, almost fall in love at first sight with one woman, then fall in love with a different woman only a couple of months later? It just didn’t fit the Don I’d built in my mind: a man who refused to let anyone in.
While I was pretty sure about Sylvie from the start, I enjoyed the way Card developed her character and revealed her (and the house’s) secrets minus info dump. He has mastered the use of flashbacks that don’t cause the reader to disconnect from the main plot. And the biggest lure of the book’s summary – the hint of a haunted house – fulfilled and exceeded my expectations.
I liked the world Card created, built on the idea that houses are living things which absorb what is put into them. However, there weren’t any creepy or suspenseful scenes, at least for me. And the conflict never really felt that intense until the end. The pace and obstacles were acceptable, but I didn’t worry about Don until Chapter 21 and there were only 22 chapters. Perhaps, in my imagination, Don was just too strong for me to really believe he might be in danger.
Overall, I thought this was an entertaining story.
Read Homebody if you enjoy a male POV, who has suffered a great loss but hasn’t totally given up on the possibility of opening up his heart again, with a lot of description about home renovations, some magic, a supernatural romance, and wrongs being righted.
Purchase Homebody on Amazon. (I read the 1998 hardcover version.)