Reviews For Long Road Back
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Reviewer: Marzee Doats Signed [Report This]
Date: 15 Mar 2015 6:19:49 PM Title: Part 3

First, my apologies for being so late with my review, Penny.  

This was a very intriguing addition to the story, so thank you for that.  I really felt for Gray as he continued his journey through memory and hypothermia, everything mixing together as he wrestled with the conflicting instincts to just give into sleep and to keep moving forward.  

The details that Gray recalled here were interesting -- and telling.  From his failed Christmas Eve marriage proposal to his first Jericho Chirstmas.  The idea that Skylar is such the center of her parents' universe that meeting her is anxiety-inducing.  It rings true, but still, wow.  The fact that Emily's beloved little brother was not quite as beloved when he was alive.  Also perfectly understandable and so very, very real. 

I also really liked this little tidbit: "and Gracie Leigh, gathering ammo amidst handshakes."  Doesn't that just sum up the lady in question?

I also found the choice to have Stanley and Emily out on patrol (I assume that's what they're doing, anyway) together to be curious.  An unexpected couple (though I realize a completely platonic, strictly on the job couple) to be sure.  When Dale and Skylar mentioned that they had hit another dead end in the search for "him", I really thought she was trying to find Roger -- Jonah didn't occur to me. So the fact that she first mistook Gray for her father totally surprised me.  Nicely done. :-)

I'm glad at least that he's been found, and I do hope he makes it through this one....



Reviewer: Marzee Doats Signed [Report This]
Date: 12 Mar 2014 12:54:23 AM Title: Part 2



Okay, so I really enjoyed this.  Plus, it got me thinking too.  The few years from now Christmas at the Richmond Ranch was fun, but the parts that really got me were Stanley's and Mimi's first Christmas -- the tension in the house, their steadiness as a couple, even her memory of the marzipan Mount Rushmore (truly a bizarre gift), and of course, at  the end the cold -- and Gray's struggles at the end to get home.

I realized (and if I'm wrong don't tell me, I'd like to continue thinking I'm smart) that our flashbacks were all of first Christmases in Jericho, which I found very cool.  Not sure about that last, mysterious, nameless one but I will go out on a limb and say it isn't Jake.  Maybe it is Gray, which would be super intriguing as I never think of him arriving in Jericho not fully formed.  So it will be interesting to see how that happens.


And oh my, Gray's "Long Road Back".  Thrown from his horse!  Chased by a road gang?  Perhaps without telling anyone in Jericho what he was up to, or that they should come looking for him if he doesn't turn up.... Again, I am intrigued. :-) <--- for the intrigue.   :-(  <----- for poor Gray.

Author's Response:

Thanks Marzee!

I'm glad you enjoyed this chapter and that it got you thinking. I myself enjoyed thinking about the changes that could occur over time while checking in with this one moment in the year, in this same place.

Can I say that you're right about the first Christmases? I thought it was interesting to explore this first encounter with the town for these characters (who each arrived at such different moments both in their lives and in Jericho), and the sort of being an outsider, moving toward becoming connected and part of things, while coming to terms with part of themselves, grief and loss and also hope and new connections, was fun for me to explore.

And then there's Gray, who is sort of experiencing this kind of personal evolution throughout...though I probably shouldn't say too much more about him just yet. But I am glad you are intrigued by his journey. 

Thanks again for reading and for your thoughtful comments!

Reviewer: Marzee Doats Signed [Report This]
Date: 30 Jan 2014 11:01:59 PM Title: Part 1

What an interesting start, Penny!

I have to say, you really drew me in with little Gray's story, and how much he enjoyed accompanying his mother to her rehearsal for the (I presume) Christmas program at church.  I actually kind of adore little Gray.  :-)  And his collection of toy soldiers, especially in these 2 lines:


Quote: He would imagine himself leading whole squadrons across enemy lines, or taking a group on a wagon train across the country to some unclaimed land (because the toy soldiers didn't always have to be in a war)


Quote: Every week, between those things, while he'd plan safaris and military occupations of the high lands above the cross etched into the back of the bench, some kind of change would come over his mother. 


Then how poignant that Gray is lost in the snow, trying so hard to not follow those voices that remind him so much of his mother and this period of time in her life when she got to explore her creative side, step out a little, be more than a housewife and caregiver.  I do hope Gray survives! (Bet you never thought you'd see me write that!)


The switch to Jimmy (and Hawkins) was interesting.... is Gray close enough to Jericho that they will be able to assist?  Have they missed him yet?  How close is that fake coffee to the real thing?  And will the Taylor and Hawkins kids get the tree they want? (And will Bill PLEASE keep that toe under wraps!)

And then you plunged me back into poignance, as I contemplated the Taylor siblings and their very real issues around an (apparently) changing family dynamic.  Brother Steven can't make it?  Where's Dad -- dead or MIA after a divorce?  

Needless to say, my interest is piqued.  I can't wait to find out how this all relates!

Author's Response:

Thank you Marzee!

This was my first ever real serious look at Gray (or real attempt at looking from Gray's point of view) so I'm glad my window in also worked for you. I hope he survives too. It's been a neat process of trying to figure him out and get to know him.

I also really like exploring characters with different family dynamics and I always thought Jimmy, who is almost always presented as comic relief or sturdy backup, really has an interesting role in his social circle and in the little bits of information we have about him. And the mystery of the characters whose family life or origin story we never really saw continues to intrigue me (especially given the fact so many of them seem to be without family members in town at the time of the bombs). So I enjoyed both revisiting Hawkins and Jimmy's relationship and through them, their families' sort of chosen extended family dynamic as well as looking back at where Jimmy might have come from. 

Thanks for reading!


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