After Lori Roy’s brilliant ‘Bent Road’ I couldn’t wait to read her new novel ‘Until She Comes Home’. And, although the two books are very different from each other, they have both managed to stir my heart.
This novel is set in 1958 in Detroit, in a time when women wore white gloves to leave the house and had their husbands’ dinners on the table when they came home from the factory. Everyone in Alder Street knows everyone else’s business, so a husband getting home late is a major source of embarrassment.
But things are starting to change. Blacks are starting to encroach in the all-white neighbourhoods, and prostitutes hang around the factories on pay-days to tempt the husbands.
One of the local black women is murdered, and then Elizabeth – a young white woman with the mind of a child goes missing. After a recent incident, the heavily pregnant Grace is pretty sure she knows what has happened to Elizabeth. She has good reasons for keeping her secret but she also worries that this might put other women in danger.
With the ever increasing tensions in the neighbourhood, the life that the residents of Alder Street once knew starts to fall apart, and the women struggle to maintain the façade of perfection.
In the end, it is only Grace who knows what happened to Elizabeth, but she is more than happy to let the blame lie elsewhere.
It’s hard to believe that life was really like this in the late 1950s. Segregation and all the associated suspicions were very much a part of life. Sex was something that just wasn’t discussed. So in the story we have a woman who is raped but doesn’t tell her husband because she is afraid he will reject her. We have a husband who won’t sleep with his wife because he is frightened of having children. And we have a man with paedophile tendencies whose wife’s strategy is to maintain her girlish figure.
This was an amazing book and very difficult to put down. I can’t wait to see what Lori Roy writes next.
Book Published 2013