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The Long Way Home, A Novel

“Norris writes with a lyrical pen, painting landscapes and intense emotional moments with easy grace.”

Self-Publishing Review

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.

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Moods of Mind

“There are certain half-dreaming moods of mind in which we naturally steal away from noise and glare, and seek some quiet haunt where we may indulge our reveries and build our air castles undisturbed.”

Washington Irving
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Caring for Others

“The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being.”

Tenzin Gyatso

One of the most valuable things we can do for ourselves during these challenging times is to help someone else. There is such need. Thankfully, opportunities abound to reach out and help others. Each of us can do something—no act of kindness is too small. Be the reason that someone feels hopeful TODAY.

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The Long Way Home Review

Author D. L. Norris invites readers to slow down and enjoy the view, and perhaps spin a story or two, in The Long Way Home, an insightful and memorable novel about family, grief, and growing up.

Maggie Davis stands like a proud pillar at the heart of this tale, a recently widowed mother running a bed and breakfast in an out-of-the-way corner of Nebraska. Guests come and go, with their stories and burdens, grateful for a home-cooked meal and conversation, but small-town life for Maggie is far from simple. In addition to her own battle with loss and loneliness, she must navigate the constantly changing landscape of gossip, residents, and the temperamental moods of the family members still living. As old secrets about her ancestors are revealed, and deeper connections with townsfolk are built, Tilden begins to feel like home, until someone tries to take it all away.

Norris writes with a lyrical pen, painting landscapes and intense emotional moments with easy grace. Every character that appears in this world is vividly shaped and summoned in readers’ minds, whether we are familiar with the archetypes of small towns or not. There is also a slightly heightened formality to the narration, consistent and compelling, as though this is a novel from another time.

Whether we are witnessing Maggie’s self-examination and stirrings of guilt over a new passion, or putting together the pieces of the book’s ultimate twist, Norris’ writing is entrancing and polished. While some of the plot developments are classically predictable, The Long Way Home resonates with mystery, nostalgia, and promise. ~ Self-Publishing Review

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Where Will Our Hope Take Us

In times of uncertainty, our hearts long for a return to normalcy and stability. We look for comforting signs that speak of consistency as we navigate through the unknowns.  I have discovered an immense joy in the signs of approaching spring—purple crocus, bright yellow forsythia, and the return of beautiful migrating birds. It doesn’t change the fact that we are in the middle of a global crisis, but it reminds us that there is still beauty all around us. For those of faith, it is a clear demonstration that someone higher than us is in control. Where will our hope take us? To a place of peace and calm if we allow.

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Right on Schedule

What a pleasant and timely surprise!! Apparently the Bohemian Waxwings did not get the message that spring migration was cancelled due to coronavirus. They arrived on schedule for a little bathing time in our waterfall this morning! Blessings are always welcome.

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A Calm Spirit

“There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.”

Ralph H. Blum

Discovering inner peace, achieving peace of mind is a worthy pursuit with a multitude of health benefits; physical, emotional and spiritual. Even though it may be difficult to feel peaceful, it is possible to focus on a life of harmony, and seek a calm spirit. Often times, peace is the result of viewing life as it is, rather than how we think it should be.

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Review of The Long Way Home

The Long Way Home is a work of dramatic fiction set in the 1950s in the United States and was penned by author DL Norris. Combining many different themes of love, intrigue, murder-mystery, tragedy and interpersonal drama, the action centers around widowed protagonist Maggie Davis and her manor house which she runs as a bed and breakfast. The community of Tilden has become a little more transient over the years, and new guests bring opportunities but also trouble to Maggie’s doorstep. As Maggie struggles with her own grief and the task of raising her daughter solo, yet more tragedy strikes right in her own home. What follows is a complex drama with highs, lows and heartfelt lessons along the way.

Author DL Norris has created a very compelling novel that encapsulates so much of the human experience within its relatively short timeframe. I adored the setting of the B&B, which provides a nostalgic atmosphere and historical flavor that’s consistent throughout the storytelling. Against this backdrop of women becoming more independent and the world slowly turning to a new era, Maggie and her daughter Jenna represent so much more than they seem at first glance. The drama and twists that occur in the plot are well-timed to challenge them and take readers up in their emotional sweep, bringing contemporary reliability to another time and place in American history. Overall, The Long Way Home is a highly accomplished work of interpersonal drama which is a recommended read for fans everywhere. ~ Reviewed By K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite

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Point of View

“Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise.”

George Washington Carver

A dear, elderly friend of mine once remarked, “Honey, it’s all in the way you look at things.” I’ve often recalled her insightful words of wisdom, especially during challenging seasons of my life. Obviously, this positive and faith-filled individual discovered a very precious secret along life’s pathway, which enabled her to view her circumstances through eyes of hope and thankfulness.

When I was a child, my parents and I frequently went camping on the weekend in our small travel trailer to a favorite site located next to the Payette River and under the tall Idaho pines. Because our “spot” was almost a hundred miles from home, we usually arrived long after dark on Friday night. Once we were settled, and in bed, I would gaze out the small upper bunk window at the towering trees and think to myself how big and unfriendly they appeared in the night shadows. After a time, I’d snuggle deep into my sleeping bag, close my eyes, and dream of morning.

When the first rays of sunlight filtered through the curtains, I again peered out the little window. The huge pines which seemed so threatening in the darkness now glistened in the morning sun. Same scene. Different perspective. Our point of view can make all the difference in the world. ~ D. L. Norris