Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Shortest Way Home” as Want to Read:
The Shortest Way Home
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Excerpt

The Shortest Way Home

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,602 Ratings  ·  244 Reviews

Sean has spent twenty years in Third World war zones and natural disaster areas, fully embracing what he’d always felt was his life’s mission. But when burnout sets in, Sean is reluctantly drawn home to Belham, Massachusetts, the setting of Fay’s much-loved Shelter Me. There, he discovers that his
Paperback, 416 pages
Published October 30th 2012 by Penguin Books (first published October 1st 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Shortest Way Home, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Shortest Way Home

Shelter Me by Juliette FayThe Shortest Way Home by Juliette FayDeep Down True by Juliette FayThe Tumbling Turner Sisters by Juliette Fay
Best of Juliette Fay
2nd out of 4 books — 1 voter
The Last Battle by C.S. LewisThe Bluest Eye by Toni MorrisonThe Worst Hard Time by Timothy EganThe Biggest, Meanest, Ugliest Dog in the Whole Wide World by Rebecca C. JonesThe Coldest Winter by David Halberstam
The [Superlative] [Noun]
153rd out of 260 books — 21 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sep 27, 2012 Nancy rated it really liked it
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It's not a fast moving story nor is it evocative or highly moving. It quietly educates the reader on a number of common and uncommon maladies along with a message of looking close to home for the best place to serve.

The protagonist is Sean, a 43 year old man, who has been spent the past couple of decades running himself ragged in war torn and health ravaged countries. As a registered male nurse, he has dedicated his life to help the less fortunate
Nov 14, 2015 Bonnie rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary, arcs, adult, 2012
A review copy of The Shortest Way Home was kindly provided to me by FSB Associates for Penguin Books.
Expected publication: October 30th 2012 by Penguin Books

Visit my blog for a chance to win a copy of this book!

'From the time he was fifteen Sean had known he would head out and do as much good as he could in the time that was left, while he waited for his mother's diagnosis to become his own.'

Sean has known since an early age that he had a 50% chance he would develop the same disease that took hi
Pauline Tilbe
Nov 14, 2012 Pauline Tilbe rated it it was amazing
I happen to believe that anything written by Juliette Fay is a win. I believed that since I read Shelter Me. She develops characters and shows you the side that is imperfect and impatient, the depth of a character that you don't always get in a contemporary novel.
As much as Huntington's was a big piece of this story, the sensory issues that Kevin lived with were so enlightening. I really learned a lot about that. I felt like it tied in well with the whole family dysfunction and dynamics. I'm a
Susan (The Book Bag)
Nov 10, 2012 Susan (The Book Bag) rated it really liked it
I had already read one of Juliette's books, Deep Down True. I thoroughly enjoyed it and have her books on my 'must be read' list. When this one came along to review, I just had to read it.

I loved this story for a lot of reasons but there was one in particular that I kept thinking about the whole time I was reading it ~ the main character in The Shortest Way Home is a male. It seems like it has been quite a while since I have read a book from a male's perspective. It was refreshing.

Sean suffers s
Dec 26, 2012 Amy rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. I’ve been a fan of Juliette Fay since reading the first few chapters of her debut Shelter Me. Juliette is one of those writers who has a way of getting inside her characters, with the unique ability of making them come to life on each and every page.

Due to Sean's mother passing away from Huntington's disease, there is a 50% probability that Sean might inherit it. This prompts Sean to devote his life to helping and caring for others as a nurse in third world countri
Dec 04, 2012 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic novel! I admit that I haven't read anything else by Fay, but will now search out her previous works. I really loved this story, despite its predictability. The characters were all very likeable and engaging. Although I have nothing in common with the protagonist: male, 40s (almost there, but not quite!), bachelor, nurse in war-torn countries, and self-centred, I really liked him and felt connected to him. This has to be due to the author's style of writing and ability to make he ...more
Edna Black
Sep 05, 2012 Edna Black rated it it was amazing
I'm waiting to read this. I LOVE Juliette Fay's books and have read them all. Edna
Viviane Crystal
Sep 29, 2012 Viviane Crystal rated it really liked it
Sean Doran has been working as a nurse in areas devastated by hurricanes and other natural disasters as well as countries ravaged by poverty, illiteracy, and disease. But now he seems to be suffering from a massive case of burn-out, complicated by searing back pain that cripples him. He has no commitments to anyone and knows it. So he decides to return home to a small Massachusetts town, home where his Aunt Vivvy, his sister Deirdre and his nephew Kevin live. And it's a visit he dreads!

This fami
Sharon Chance
Nov 12, 2012 Sharon Chance rated it it was amazing
"The Shortest Way Home" is a novel that has many different personalities! It's a story about family loyalty, it's a story about one man's journey back home, it's a story about parenting, it's a love story, and it's a story about how one family deals with a devastating disease and how it affects them all.

Juliette Fay introduces her readers to the charming Irish-American Doran family in this fascinating novel. Sean Doran's homecoming from years abroad working as a disaster relief nurse is not the
Oct 27, 2012 Andrea rated it it was amazing
Fans of Juliette Fay's other novels, "Shelter Me" and "Deep Down True" will adore this one as well! Sean Doran, a registered nurse, returns to his hometown after several years of medical mission work in war-ravaged, poverty-stricken countries. He wasn’t expecting his stop to be a long one, but he quickly realizes his family needs him. His nephew, Kevin, is struggling emotionally and his aunt is exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s. But before Sean can try to pick up the pieces, he needs to readjust t ...more
Oct 15, 2012 Katie rated it it was amazing
Juliette Fay does it again. I couldn't put down The Shortest Way Home. Fay employs believable dialogue to create characters that are astonishingly relate-able. I'm always surprised by how attached I grow to her characters, characters who live seemingly worlds apart from me, those with whom I would have previously thought I had nothing in common. The depth of her understanding of human emotion (and her ability to express it) pervades once more, though, in this new novel.

From the readers in small
Wendy Hines
Jul 08, 2013 Wendy Hines rated it liked it
Since Hodgkins's disease is genetic, Sean grew up with the black cloud looming over his head. Determined to make his life matter, he spends his time helping others. However, when he gets the word that his aging aunt has dementia and needs help, Sean comes to the realization that at his age, he probably isn't going to get the life killing disease. He begins to wonder how much he has lost if he hadn't devoted his life to others.

When he arrives home, his aunt isn't in a good place - her disease is
May 27, 2013 Mary rated it liked it
Since the age of twelve, Sean Doran believed he would develop Huntington's, the fatal disease that killed his mother and left him with the genetic probability of an early death. His own certainty of dying young has influenced every decision in his life, and he becomes a nurse and dedicates himself to helping people in war-torn and disaster-affected third-world countries. At 43 years old, he begins to feel the effects of burn-out, so he comes home to the U.S. for what he thinks is a temporary per ...more
Apr 18, 2013 Tracie rated it it was amazing
First, though I gave it a 5 star rating, this isn't a perfect book. This is why it earned this rating from me. Wonderfully believable, complex characters. I listened to the book and never once wanted to just be done with it. I thought the reader did a fab job. The story explores many of the ups and downs of life without ever getting preachy about it. Yes, it talks about 3 world countries and the appalling conditions, but never with the hit-you-over-the-head "you evil American with all your stuff ...more
LaQuita (Just Us Girls)
The Shortest Way Home was a really good read. This was my first time reading a book from Juliette Fay and I have to say I was really impressed. It's not too fast paced and it's not too slow. It's perfect. The description of the characters alone were written very well and I loved that they were very descriptive about the main character, Sean's, mother and the Huntington's disease that killed her. This is why Sean is the way he is throughout the story. Since the Huntington's disease killed his mot ...more
Miriam Downey
Dec 20, 2012 Miriam Downey rated it really liked it
Read my full review here: http://mimi-cyberlibrarian.blogspot.c...

Life is complicated. Life is messy. There is no way to escape either the complications or the messiness, so you might as well just make the best of it. That is the one sentence summation of The Shortest Way Home by Juliette Fay. If you have ever looked around at your life and thought “I gotta get out of here!” then this is the book for you.

Sean is a 40-something nurse who has been traveling from third world country to third world
Nov 25, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it
This is a well-paced book about family and the ties that eventually bind. Sean is a middle-aged man who, over the course of a summer, finds his home where he least expects it -- at the home and hometown where he grew up. He returns after many years in third world countries working as a nurse, helping the truly helpless. A recurring back problem forces him to take some time off to recover and reconnect with his fractured family, a sister ready to take flight from the home that has trapped her,the ...more
Nov 08, 2012 Kathy rated it it was amazing
Juliette Fay brings us a sympathetic and interesting protagonist in Sean Doran, a man who thinks he's doomed to a midlife death from the genetic disorder that took his mother, but begins to wonder if that is perhaps not his fate. After years of working overseas as an RN in some of the neediest places in the world, Sean is called back to his hometown, to the fractured family he has kept at arm's length.
(What does he find when he returns home? Sorry but you'll have to read to find out.)
While not
Laurene Powers
Jul 22, 2014 Laurene Powers rated it really liked it
This was an easy read that I really liked. As the story begins, Sean is on his way home after a receiving a letter from his sister Deidre. She states that she can no longer handle the responsibilities of caring for their elderly aunt and their deceased brother's 11 year old son on her own, and insists that Sean return home. Sean is a nurse who had been working in clinics in 3rd world countries and disaster areas for 20 years. He returns to find his sister anxious to focus on her acting career, h ...more
Denise Gianelli
Oct 23, 2014 Denise Gianelli rated it really liked it
The Shortest Way Home is a novel about family, faith, forgiveness, love, job stress and how someone deals with the possibility of inheriting a disease from a parent. Sean, the main character, is a 44 year old Registered Nurse who returns home after many years nursing in third world countries. This novel reveals Sean's struggles dealing with many issues and making life decisions. It is a thought provoking read told from a man's point of view.
Nov 18, 2015 Anthony rated it it was ok
I won this at a college acappella performance auction. I wanted it a) because I like winning things and b) it was signed by the author.

Unfortunately, the book didn't turn out so hot. Sean's family lost the genetic lottery and is at high-risk for Huntington's. After losing his mother to the disease, Sean decides to do something meaningful with his potentially short-lived life and works as a nurse overseas in disaster areas. But after a decade or so, he's burnt out and returns to his home in Massa
Bookworm LLC
Jul 19, 2013 Bookworm LLC rated it really liked it
Shelves: judy-bookshelf
Sean has spent 20 years as a health care worker in third world countries. Now he's come to a crossroads in his life and returns home to sort out his own problems and those of his own family. I love Juliette Fay. Her writing is unforced and natural and her characters are people you can care about and can relate to. This book made me smile and tear up.
Dec 30, 2013 Lesley rated it really liked it
Shelves: library, 2013
It was a bit God-y so it took me a few chapters to get into it. Once I did, I liked the Unique storyline and how interesting the characters were. I'd definitely read more from this author.
Audra Russell
Feb 11, 2013 Audra Russell rated it really liked it
It's funny how life brings us full circle to the things we try to run away from. The main character runs from the very thing he fears, only to find out it's the very thing he wants most. The range of emotions and the complexities of his relationships are beautifully written and very moving.
K. East
Jul 02, 2015 K. East rated it really liked it
From almost the first chapter the reader knows what will happen by the end. The pleasure in listening to this book was seeing how the character got there. And after a spring full of "heavy" books revolving around WWI and WWII, it was nice to read a modern version of "happily ever after".

I did have some issue with the narration, however, as a technician must have failed to adjust for sibilance as the narrator sounded like he had a lisp and most of the 's' sounds became a lot of hissing. It took a
Oct 09, 2013 Betsy rated it it was amazing
Couldn't put it down. Though some might dismiss it as chick lit, it's way more than that. I learned about Huntington's disease, I became attached to the characters, and I liked that it was told from the point of a view of a man.
Jen Reardon
Jun 10, 2013 Jen Reardon rated it it was amazing
Fantastic read - finished it in a weekend. Great story of reconnecting with family and resorting the priorities in your life.
Jul 29, 2014 Nicole rated it really liked it
A family plagued with Huntington's disease is left with familial repercussions after the death of their mother. Each child has suffered in multiple ways since her death and live in a state of dysfunction. As grown adults we see the problems they deal with.

I thought this was a good book, but the answer seemed like a no brainer to me. It was frustrating how clear the answer to happiness was, yet the main character couldn't see it. Of course the clear answer was the one the main character chose. A
Aug 26, 2015 Terry rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adored this contemporary novel about the Doran family. Sean Doran is in his 40's, single, and just returning home to his family in Boston which is made up of his unmarried sister, the aging aunt who raised him and his siblings, and his orphaned only-nephew, Kevin. Sean is a nurse who has worked most of his adult life as an aide-worker and he thinks he's only dropping in on his family temporarily until his next assignment. He comes to realize that his family needs him, but tries to c ...more
Bruce Snyder
Aug 24, 2015 Bruce Snyder rated it really liked it
Incredibly sensitive and detailed analysis in this character driven novel provide the reader with the inner motivation of four major characters and many minor ones. Juliette Fay writes from the perspective of her male agonist, Sean Doran, a man who in his forties is still working out his family obligations and what he owes the woman he loves. Middle-aged adults in this piece of fiction are caught up in a kind of delayed, post high school coming of age experience. Everybody has issues: problems r ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Studio Saint-ex
  • The Fable of Bing
  • Hour of the Rat (Ellie McEnroe, #2)
  • The Search Angel
  • A Simple Thing
  • The Doctor and the Diva
  • The Confidant
  • In Need of a Good Wife
  • By Fire, by Water
  • Murder Below Montparnasse  (Aimee Leduc Investigations #13)
  • The Last Will of Moira Leahy
  • A Free Man: A True Story of Life and Death in Delhi
  • Glow
  • Why Can't I Be You
  • The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.
  • Kitchen Chinese: A Novel About Food, Family, and Finding Yourself
  • The Blessings of the Animals
  • The Wednesday Daughters
Juliette Fay’s latest novel, The Tumbling Turner Sisters (Simon & Schuster), recounts the adventures of a poverty-stricken family of four girls who try their hand as an acrobatic act in vaudeville in 1919. It was inspired by the life of her vaudevillian great-grandfather. Available now for pre-order; publication date: June 14.

Juliette has three previous novels. The Shortest Way Home was chosen
More about Juliette Fay...

Share This Book