On COMING HOME (the book)

Coming Home by April Plummer

On the eve of my return home from vacation, I wanted to mention a recently published book out there (COMING HOME by April Plummer) that really took me by surprise.

Let me start at the beginning. I met April Plummer through an online class I took in January/February. She was one of over 100 participants in this class but she became known quickly because from day one she put herself out there, revealing her warmth through tweets and Facebook posts and blog posts and responses to others’ questions and comments. Within a week or two, she had become the heart of our group because of the kind way she approached everything and everyone in our community. I was really looking forward to getting to know her better.

Then, she announced that in a few days, her self-published book, COMING HOME, was going to be available as an e-book through Amazon.

My first reaction, I will admit, was “Uh-oh.”

My cynical brain questioned whether she’d been so sweet because she knew that a very successful way to get people to buy your book is to get people to like you, to root for you, to want to know you better. But then I thought, does it matter if this is what she did? All of us in this class either have written or are writing books and we took this class to learn more about how to build an audience through social media. She just happened to be the first to announce publication of her book. Still, I don’t like to be mislead, especially regarding a person’s temperament; I usually trust my instincts about people but meeting someone virtually is very different from meeting someone in person. What if she wasn’t anything like what her written (140 character) interactions suggested she was?

And there was still one more not so friendly reaction on my part. She self-published. Now, I know a lot of people are self-publishing and many of the self-published books out there are really well written and are great stories, BUT self-publishing also attracts writers whose books really aren’t ready for public consumption. What if she was one of the latter? I don’t have time to waste on reading fiction that is in draft form unless I’m editing someone else’s or my own work. A published book, in my mind, should be polished. There can be imperfections but it needs to be something I can read without constantly wanting to edit it.

I went on Amazon and read the book’s description (you can read the full description here). It basically said it was about a young woman who leaves her home after her mother’s man-of-the-night rapes her at gunpoint. She lands in a town far from home and begins to rebuild her life when two people claiming to be her grandparents arrive and upset things all over again. Could be interesting. Or not. Could be over the top. Could be so many things. It’s so hard to judge a book by its cover or its author-written description.

So, I had to make a choice: ignore her appeals to buy her book or bite the bullet, buy it, and give it a chance.

I’m so glad I gave it the chance. April Plummer’s COMING HOME is a coming-of-age story told mostly from the point of view of an intelligent, thoughtful young woman who has faced a great deal of disappointment and devastation in her life but doesn’t allow it to hold her back from becoming the person she is meant to be. I found it very easy to connect with the main character even though my life experience is very different from hers. She has a huge heart, some common sense, and a deep need to survive. Her story, as it unfolds, is disturbing yet uplifting, full of solitude and community, and comes full circle in a surprising yet satisfying way. It isn’t perfect. There are places where I wished a character had been given a little more complexity or a story line had not worked out so cleanly, but the writing was lovely, the characters were believable, and the plot was truly interesting.

My mind has been opened . . . a little bit. I will consider more self-published books in the future. And, I may trust my instincts a little bit more regarding people I get to know online. I won’t always be right but I have to say, April is a pretty awesome person. Check out her blog and dish out the $3.99 to buy her book on Kindle. I enjoyed it. I hope you will too.



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18 thoughts on “On COMING HOME (the book)

  1. I have April’s book on my TRP ( I really, really need a reading vacation to play catch-up with my books!), so I was especially interested to read your post.

    I appreciate your honestly in reviewing both our girl April and her book. That you gave us just enough of her novel to plant interest, and without spoilers (oh how I HATE spoilers!) is particularly wonderful. Bravo for composing such a wonderful review, Sara 😀

    1. What’s a TRP? I’m assuming some sort of reading device. I also have a backlog of books but am glad that I pulled April’s to the front. It reads very easily so it was perfect before bed reading for me.

      I hate spoilers too, unless I’m sure I’m not going to read the book (and that defeats the purpose of the review doesn’t it?)

  2. I’m so glad you’ve discovered what so many others are discovering indie publishing is bringing out so REALLY GREAT fiction. I think we all wonder with so many indie publishing today.

    April’s book is up next when I finish the one by another published friend who is putting her backlist out there. You might want to check out Patricia Kay on Kindle. Her books are wonderful, too.

    1. It’s a whole new world out there. The hard part about the indie movement is that we still don’t know who to trust to guide us toward books we’ll like. Not that the traditional publishing world always guided me right. I still go to Mom and a few select friends and sometimes NPR when selecting books. It’s through friends that I’m starting to learn of the indies.

      Thanks for the Patricia Kay recommendation. I’ll check it out.

  3. What a sweet and insightful review, Sara. You were honest in all the right places. I have April’s book on my tablet’s Kindle, and I’m looking forward to reading it. Unfortunately, I have a stack of books ahead of it to read. I’m thinking of cataloging my own TBR stack!

    So…when are you reviewing Summer of the Ancient? I can get a copy off to you today…;D

    1. I know what you mean about needing to catalog your TBR books. My backlog is frighteningly large and growing every day. Summer of the Ancients, huh? You mean adding another book to my pile? For you Jodi, I will gladly add it to my stack. I don’t do too many reviews but I will do the occasional one in the future. Who knows? Maybe yours will be among those I review. . .

    2. Have you considered politics? That was a great answer to my blunt question! Email me a way to get Silki to you, and I’ll sneakily see if I can bribe the other members of your Review Panel. Deal?

      1. I already got Silki a few weeks ago. It’s in the cue but I probably won’t get to read it for awhile. I let you know what I think once I’ve read it. Still not sure what I’ll be reviewing in future but I will definitely keep it in mind. AND, I would be the worst politician. I’m too good at seeing both sides of any issue.

  4. Very nice article on April. I, too, have her book on my TBR pile–on computer desk top (don’t have a Kindle) trying to find the time to figure out how to get it on my Nook.

    1. Thanks Cora. I usually am uncomfortable reviewing work by my peers but I think the experience of choosing to read her book and enjoying it really taught me a lesson.

  5. Great review, Sara! April’s book is in my to-be-read pile as well. I’m slowly working my way towards it as I go through my monthly book group selections and all of the YA books I am fiendishly devouring.

    I share your skepticism of both the self-published and those I’ve met online (present company excluded, of course). But through the WANA class, I’ve been delightfully amazed at how wrong I was to doubt either. 🙂

  6. Great review, Sara. I read April’s book and enjoyed it. The struggles were realistic for all parties–main character, her mother, and her grandparents. I loved her father, even though we only had a brief meeting with him. I had some questions at the end…and wanted another chapter, but that is not how books go. Maybe a sequel?

    1. I wanted more of her father, too. Sometimes, for me, having questions at the end are good, but I agree that I might have liked a little more clarity at the very end. I’d read a sequel although I’m not sure it is the type of book that typically has a sequel. Thanks for stopping by Janice.

  7. OMG, ladies, I’m crying. Seriously. I think you all may have just given me what I needed to keep writing. I’ve been out of it lately. I’m not sure what happened. I think the whole…trying to find balance thing…threw me off. I’m still trying to work it out in a way that doesn’t neglect either my family life or my writing life. I was seriously considering giving up my writing life…until I read this. Sara, thank you. Somehow, even though I have to be more careful at work, you have given me the encouragement I need.

    Give me a couple more weeks, ladies. I’m going to figure this out.

    Sara, thank you for such a lovely review! You were honest, and I love that. You have the same reservations I’ve had over self-published novels, but I’ve found some gems I didn’t expect. I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed my book. And you are honest enough to admit there were places that could have, in your opinion, been improved. I’m sure there are places.

    Thank you so, so much. I cannot express my gratitude enough.

    1. Glad I was able to give you that nudge that maybe you needed. It is SO hard to find balance. I hear ya. You’re very welcome, April.

So what do you think?