“Norris writes with a lyrical pen, painting landscapes and intense emotional moments with easy grace.”
The Long Way Home is a compelling work of fiction set in 1950s Madison County, Nebraska.
At the heart of the story is Maggie Davis, a middle-aged widow and recent heiress to a grand Victorian manor. The stately home, which Maggie shares with her spirited nine-year-old daughter Jenna, also serves as a bed and breakfast to a once regular, but now transitory, clientele.
The kitchen table is the epicenter of lively, often contentious, dialogue where no topics are off-limits. An outspoken neighbor and routine visitor delights in keeping everyone on guard with her opinionated tirades but is frequently reigned in by an elderly, equally forthright family member who has recently become a permanent dweller at the manor.
Maggie finds herself struggling with the painful memories of her husband’s tragic death, as well as the stirrings in her heart associated with a new house guest. A scandalous scheme to swindle her out of her property rides on the heels of a sudden, unexpected death, pointing to a member of the family as a suspect. Set against an intriguing backdrop of family secrets, scandal, and love, the story culminates with an emotional twist.
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in. Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”
“The root of joy is gratefulness. It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”
Brother David Steindl-Rast
Gratitude is an internal expression of thankfulness for what one has. It is a recognition of wealth that is independent of monetary worth. This attitude of gratitude is at the core of a joyful heart.
The practice of gratefulness is to truly take notice, to be present to the gifts of our lives from the moment we awaken in the morning until we go to bed at night. In this way we remind ourselves that gratefulness is an approach to life that we can cultivate and reference at any time. In other words, we’re not waiting for something to happen or our circumstances to change before expressing gratefulness.
When we embrace the essence of gratefulness, we are reminded that time is limited and experiences are momentary, so we tend to treasure deeply what we have now and live more fully in the realm of what really matters.
Having entered the autumn season of my life, I often sit in thoughtful solitude as golden memories drift through my mind like colorful falling leaves. I ponder each and every one, drawn into the glorious fragrance of sweet remembrances. There is comfort in the simple things, a blessed calm in the knowledge that everything will change. Having lived long enough to more fully understand the circle of life, the seasons now bring a certain kind of hope. ~ D. L. Norris
…says Jean K about The Long Way Home. “Each of the characters was so realistic and brought back memories of visiting family in a home very much like this one. I know I will want to read this book again in the near future. Thank you so much to the author and publisher for giving me the chance to read and review this amazing story!
One of the most cherished moments while reading occurs when you come across a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things that you once believed was unique or particular to you. And behold, here it is, written by someone else, a person you’ve never met, maybe even someone long since passed. And it’s as if a hand has stretched out from another time and place and grasped yours.
The kitchen table. In my family, it was here that important discussions had their genesis. Opinions were readily expressed on religion, politics, family values, money matters, raising children, taking care of the elderly, education, social responsibility, and death. Typically, children listened, and adults talked. That said, at a very young age, I had a clear idea of the persuasions, perspectives, and prejudices of those who sat around the table with their cups of strong, black coffee. Occasionally, discussions were heated, and tempers flared. For emphasis, there was an occasional smack of the hand on the tabletop. But, at the end of the day, these same strongly opinionated kinfolk showed their unending love and respect for each other with hugs, kisses, and goodbyes—until the next spirited visit took place.
It is easier to find a score of men wise enough to discover the truth than to find one intrepid enough, in the face of opposition, to stand up for it.
Archibald Alexander Hodge
Now, more than ever, the pursuit of truth is paramount to our well-being and future—individually and as a people. Standing up for truth is essential, even when it’s not popular. I was fortunate to have a mother that insisted truth be upheld and honesty regarded as an invaluable character trait. She consistently modeled her teaching by example, often saying, “Stand up for the truth at any cost.” It was an early, life-changing lesson.
Having entered the autumn season of my life, I often sit in thoughtful solitude as golden memories drift through my mind like colorful falling leaves driven by a brisk wind. I ponder each and every one, drawn into the glorious fragrance of sweet remembrances. There is comfort in the simple things, a blessed calm in the knowledge that everything will change. Having lived long enough to more fully understand the circle of life, the seasons now bring a certain kind of hope. ~ D. L. Norris
Today is my sweet mother’s birthday—she would have been 93 years old. Although I miss her every day, she left me with such a beautiful legacy—my love of reading.
My mother was an avid reader, and I was often the happy recipient of her uncanny ability to bring a story to life. I would sit comfortably on her lap or plopped cross-legged on the floor in front of her chair to be whisked away to a faraway magical land.
The Velveteen Rabbit. I was utterly engrossed in every word of Margery Williams’ delightful tale, allowing my young mind to imagine the well-worn little rabbit snuggling with the boy or his deep conversations with the Skin Horse. “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.” Of course, this one quote opened up an entire world of fantasy for me. If this were true, then my entire stuffed animal and doll collections had the potential to become real also. It was a life-changing concept for an imaginative seven-year-old.
And then there was The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen. Tears always appeared in my eyes when my mother read of how the little duckling was ostracized by his siblings and other farm animals simply because he was different. The redeeming finale of ugly duckling transformed into beautiful swan never failed to bring a round of cheers.
Of course, Cinderella was my hero, both while she was a mistreated young stepsister and later when she became a lovely princess. I knew that all things were possible when one simply believed because Cinderella said so. Besides, she had Gus the mouse to substantiate her claims.
There was Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and a score of other classics never to be forgotten and first introduced to me by my mother. I’m still reaping a blessed return on her incredible investment.