Tuesday, August 19, 2014
When life’s storms hit, is a parent’s job ever really done?
Deborah Raney’s poignant new novel shows how the love of family helps us through difficult times
They say blood is thicker than water, and in her latest release, Home to Chicory Lane (Abingdon Press/August 19, 2014/ISBN: 978-1426769696/$14.99), Deborah Raney writes a story that examines how the love of our family can help us weather life’s storms. The first book in the new Chicory Inn series introduces us to Audrey Whitman, a mother who has launched all of her children into life and now looks forward to fulfilling some of her own dreams during her empty-nest years. However, not all of her children are ready to stay out of the nest quite yet.
Raney has beautifully captured the tenderness — and turmoil — of family life in her new release. It was easy for her to do. “We have four grown children and five grandchildren . . . so far!” Raney says. “So, as you can imagine, family is extremely important to us. We’re both close to our families, and all of the good, the bad, the ugly, the wonderful of being part of a family, went into this series.”
Readers of Home to Chicory Lane will meet all of the Whitmans, including Audrey and her husband, Grant, who are turning their beloved family home into a bed and breakfast. As Audrey works toward opening weekend, she is more than a little anxious, even as she joyfully anticipates her family and friends gathering from across the country to help celebrate the occasion.
What she doesn’t expect is her youngest daughter, the newly-married Landyn, to arrive with a U-Haul, clearly intending to stay more than just a few days. Questions flood Audrey’s mind: What happened in New York that sent Landyn running home? Where was Landyn's husband, Chase? It appears the Chicory Inn will be getting off to a bit of a rocky start.
The empty-nest parents of the story aren’t the only ones opening their doors to adult children — it’s a phenomenon increasing in the current economic climate, leading to the question: Is a parent’s job ever really done? “I think it is — or at least it should be,” Raney weighs in. “Ken and I loved how the relationship switch flipped from parent to friend at a certain point. Now, our job is to encourage, enjoy, give advice only when asked and to be the best grandparents we can be to our kids’ kids. That’s the true reward of all those sleepless nights raising our kids.”
In Home to Chicory Lane, that kind of parental love shines through Audrey’s character. As the stress of running her own business mounts, she will soon begin to wonder if she will be able to realize her dream while still providing her daughter with the comfort of home she so desperately needs.
Despite the challenges they face, Raney reminds us in Home to Chicory Lane that our family — whether brought to us through birth, marriage or adoption — is a gift given to us by God. Readers will come away from this warm and moving book with a new appreciation for family, in all its forms and functions.
Join Deborah Raney for a live Facebook Party on September 9 at 8:00 PM EDT, where she will chat with readers about the Chicory Inn series and give away copies of Home to Chicory Lane. Watch for more details on her Facebook Page.
About the author
Deborah Raney accomplished something very few authors are able to do with their first book. Her debut novel, A Vow to Cherish(originally published in 1996), inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched her writing career after 20 happy years as a stay-at-home mom. Since then, her books have won numerous awards including the RITA, National Readers Choice Award, HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists.
Raney’s newest novel, Home to Chicory Lane, releases in August as the first book in the Chicory Inn Novels series for Abingdon Press Fiction.
Deborah and her husband, Ken, recently traded small-town life in Kansas –– the setting of many of Raney’s novels –– for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita where they enjoy gardening, antiquing, movies and traveling to visit four children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away. Raney also enjoys teaching at writers’ conferences across the country.
For more information about Raney and her books, visit her online home at () or follow her on (, become a fan on ).
“Once again, Deborah Raney has succeeded in creating a heartwarming story that doesn't skimp on the realism of life — joys and jolts, challenges faced bravely and others regrettably. Within the first few pages of Home to Chicory Lane, the Whitmans, their children, and the community will feel like family — angst and all."
~ Cynthia Ruchti, author of All My Belongings
“Deborah Raney is queen of small town, hope-inspired fiction, and Home to Chicory Lane has everything you’ve come to expect from her award-winning novels––and more. Raney captures all the nuances of today’s family and delivers it up with signature warmth and humor. Book your reservation for Chicory Lane. You won’t be disappointed!"
~ Tamera Alexander, USA Today bestselling author of A Beauty So Rare and To Whisper Her Name
“Deborah Raney has once again painted a vivid portrait of our own humanity using characters readers will love and identify with, no matter what their stage of life. I fell in love with the Chicory Inn and the Whitman family. Tender, touching and filled with a unique patchwork of personalities, Landyn and Chase's story made me feel like a part of the family. Raney wraps her beautifully flawed characters in the unconditional love of a God who will never leave them––or us. I'm already anticipating the next book in the series!"
~ Courtney Walsh, New York Times bestselling author of A Sweethaven Summer