The Road Towards Home: A Novel
“Fast-paced and fun to read, this tale told from an elder's point of view gives excellent insight into what many of us will deal with as we age.”
Not long after losing his wife, Noah Shilling finds himself in Clarion Court, an adult independent living community, thanks to his son and daughter-in-law. He does not feel ready to be "put out to pasture yet," but he doesn't like confrontations, nor does he want to live with his son. His living conditions are somewhat dull until Cassandra ("Sandra") Joyce moves in. Sandy is brash and outspoken, and Noah soon discovers she is the past flame of his old college friend. But she intrigues Noah, and he vows to get to know her more.
The two begin to share their meals together. Then when they learn their facility is due for some significant renovations, meaning they'll have to have their meals in their rooms, Noah comes up with a plan. He owns a rustic, unwinterized cottage on Cape Cod. Though he plans to head there for the summer, why not go early? Of course, this idea is against his son's wishes, but he wants to get away and have Sandy accompany him.
Noah is a retired college professor in his seventies and settled into his life yet capable of living independently with no infirmities. He wants to enjoy the time he has left and not be under the rule of his son. Realizing there's more to life than spending time in his room or playing cards or Scrabble with the other residents, he will not allow his son or anyone to deter him from going to the family seaside home.
Sandy, also widowed, moved to Clarian Court to escape the trappings of a big home, though she has had to deal with her two daughters to reclaim her life. One daughter, who lives locally, is upset and wants Sandy to move in with her. Still, Sandy would rather live in her car than be housed with her overbearing son-in-law. So imagine her surprise and delight when she finds Noah living here.
Against their children's wishes, the two and Sandy's monstrously huge canine named Melvin go to the Cape and embark on an adventure. Noah is more of a feline person, so he is a bit put off by the dog and all of Sandy's insect "friends," which she carts along with her. Once an entomologist, Sandy still has a great affinity for walking sticks and tarantulas, much to Noah's chagrin.
It's early spring, and it is chilly in the little house though they are sure to keep the wood stove stoked to stay warm. While Noah spends his days preparing his old wooden boat to launch, Sandy and Melvin take long walks along the beach and investigate the area. Though Sandy is due to only spend a few weeks with Noah and return to her new home after the reno is complete, the two fall into an easy and compatible relationship. Sandy would love to stay, and Noah wants her to.
Soon, Noah is pressuring Sandy to stay—even asking her to marry him—but twice divorced and having buried her last husband, she is skittish about commitment. Both carry years of baggage and are set in their ways, but will Sandy succumb to Noah's advances? And how will their offspring react to them being together?
Then a bit of mystery enters, and Noah is ready to make a serious stand about a young neighbor teen.
This novel describes how adult children seem to think they are to become the parent when their parents age. Most families have some dysfunction, and theirs are no different, but at Noah's and Sandy's age, aren't they entitled to some happiness and/or to live as they want? Fast-paced and fun to read, this tale told from an elder's point of view gives excellent insight into what many of us will deal with as we age. The role reversal is humorous yet endearing and proves love and companionship can be enjoyed at any age.