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Where the Heart Is, A Homecoming Review

Where the Heart Is, A Homecoming is a beautifully written and emotionally resonant story that offers inspiration and hope without shying away from the real difficulties people face, for a moving and multilayered work of contemporary fiction.”


Heartwarming and thought-provoking, Where the Heart Is: A Homecoming by D.L. Norris is a novel in which love, parenthood, and family history intertwine, exploring the many-faceted legacy that new generations inherit from those who came before. 

When Jenna and Marcus learn from Aunt Lee that Jenna’s father has passed away, they decide to move back to the old family manor house in Tilden, Nebraska. It’s a new life for all of them – 9-year-old Ben learns to grieve for his beloved grandad with a new maturity, 6-year-old Allie discovers a different style of life by bonding with an Amish girl, and Aunt Lee’s narrow views are challenged by the family’s younger generations. 

Marcus and Jenna, with baby Landers on his way, are glad to rediscover the beauty of their birthplace, which awakens many golden memories. However, family history is never straightforward – while exploring the manor, Jenna stumbles upon her forebears’ secrets, which shake her to the bone. Will she and her loving family be able to dispel the manor’s darker side? 

With a pen both sweet and sharp, Norris writes a layered and absorbing story, offering the readers a vivid picture of Tilden and its thriving community, mostly descended from Scandinavian settlers. Far from being a purely sentimental portrait, Norris succeeds in bringing to the page light and darkness, hope and grief, humanity and prejudice, and the occasion to reflect on complex themes such as homophobia, racism, and the oppression of women. 

Imbued with a sense of the divine, the novel captures the conflict between old-fashioned views and the open-minded attitude of a new generation of believers, showing how the only way forward is to embrace the changes that will improve the future for everyone. Not only do Jenna and Marcus try to open Aunt Lee’s eyes on many issues, but their friend Leah confronts the patriarchal system in her Amish community, and Micah and Hanna fight against their parents’ reactionary mindset to build their own kind of happiness. 

Through each of the protagonists, the reader glimpses the bigger picture about these issues, and sees how hurtful biases from the past can still affect the present, illustrating how this is not a one-family struggle, but a hurtful clash that runs through society, and only by learning to be kind and respectful of everyone can the community flourish in the new century. It’s a vital and important message, and one that is woven well into the overall family drama. 

Where the Heart Is, A Homecoming is a beautifully written and emotionally resonant story that offers inspiration and hope without shying away from the real difficulties people face, for a moving and multilayered work of contemporary fiction.  ~ SPR

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A Holiday Bargain

Nothing ushers in the holiday season like a cozy fire, a cup of hot chocolate, and a good read. Now you can instantly download The Long Way Home, A Novel and Where the Heart Is, A Homecoming with the click of a button and for only $1.98 each. Enjoy a nostalgic, heartwarming journey back to a simpler time with these two captivating stories.

Retired educator Brenda Burke says of The Long Way Home, A Novel, “It was fantastic, and I look forward to more of the same. Craft of writing excellent and the characters jump off the page and enter one’s living room.” 

Readers’ Favorite Deborah Lloyd says of Where the Heart Is, A Homecoming, “A delightful and thought-provoking read!”

Happy reading and Merry Christmas! 

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Samuel Langhorne Clemens

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.

Mark Twain

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. He was praised as the “greatest humorist the United States has produced” and also called the “father of American literature”. His novels include The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), the latter of which has often been called the “Great American Novel”. Twain also wrote A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and Pudd’nhead Wilson

In 1873, Sam and Olivia Clemens engaged New York architect Edward Tuckerman Potter to design their Hartford, Connecticut dream home. Construction began in August of that year, while Sam and Olivia were abroad. Although there was still much finish work to be completed on the 11,500 square foot, 25 room grand structure, the family moved into their home on September 19, 1874. Mark Twain would later say that the two decades of living in Hartford were the happiest and most productive of his life.  Note: I live within walking distance of this beautiful historic home which is now a museum and open to the public.

Mark Twain was born two weeks after Halley’s Comet’s closest approach to earth in 1835; he said in 1909: “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: “Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.” Twain’s prediction was eerily accurate; he died of a heart attack on April 21, 1910, one day after the comet’s closest approach to earth. 

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Where the Heart Is: A Homecoming

Author D. L. Norris has written a captivating novel with Where the Heart Is: A Homecoming. A delightful and thought-provoking read!

Deborah Lloyd, Readers’ Favorite, 5-Star

The long-awaited sequel Where the Heart Is: A Homecoming is available in hardcover, paperback, Kindle, Nook, Apple iPad and Google Play editions.

Where the Heart Is: A Homecoming artfully follows the return of Jenna Davis-Wilson and her two lively children to the nostalgic home of her childhood in Madison County, Nebraska. A spontaneous decision to take up permanent residency at the old Victorian manor following her father’s sudden death ushers in a myriad of unexpected twists and turns. Jenna’s husband Marcus, a well-respected obstetrician in New York, also relocates to smalltown Tilden where tensions mount with a longtime family friend and her opinionated, prejudicial tirades. The discovery of a dark family secret locked away for decades in an old attic trunk threatens to overshadow a highly esteemed ancestral image and brings into question everything that Jenna believes about her cherished legacy. Her well-intentioned efforts to reconcile the sins of the past soothe the soul of a local grieving widower—while at the same time jeopardize a treasured family relationship. In a gentle twist of fate, common ground is unearthed, relationships are mended, and a lasting legacy of love without conditions is revealed along the way.  Where the Heart Is is a charming, captivating story about life—friendship, loss, reconciliation, and love.

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A New Day

“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.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Attitude of Gratitude

“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. 

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Sweet Remembrances

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

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I Just Love This Book!

…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!

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Another Time and Place

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.