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The Shortest Way Home
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The Shortest Way Home

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  1,223 ratings  ·  206 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...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published October 30th 2012 by Penguin Books (first published October 1st 2012)
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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

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'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...more
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...more
Pauline Tilbe
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...more
Susan (The Book Bag)
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...more
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...more
Edna Black
I'm waiting to read this. I LOVE Juliette Fay's books and have read them all. Edna
Viviane Crystal
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...more
Sharon Chance
"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...more
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
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
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...more
Wendy Hines
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...more
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
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
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...more
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
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...more
Laurene Powers
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
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.
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
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.
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
Fantastic read - finished it in a weekend. Great story of reconnecting with family and resorting the priorities in your life.
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...more
A very enjoyable book with characters that wrapped around my heart, drew my sympathy, and made me hope for the best; a happy ending! It seems that is what the author provided....leaving it open enough for a sequel perhaps! I'm hoping!! Either way, this book was a glimpse into another family's problems and issues. In my opinion, this is a book you don't want to miss!

FROM THE BACK OF BOOK: "Sean has spent twenty years in third world war zones and natural disaster areas, fully embracing what he'd...more
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Jan 14, 2013 Shellie (Layers of Thought) rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: almost everyone
Recommended to Shellie (Layers of Thought) by: FSB Associates
Original review posted at Layers of Thought.

Look past the cover to find a down-to-earth, mildly spiritual (Catholic), yet contemporary look into the life a commitment-phobic middle aged male nurse. When he finds himself “home” for the first time in 20 years he is forced to decide what is truly important to him. With strong threads containing mental illness and disabilities, internal and external conflicts, sweet humor and more - it’s one of my favorite “uplifting” reads of the past year.

About: S...more
Sean Doran has spent the last twenty years as a nurse living and working overseas in some of the poorest places imaginable. Leaving home as a young man, Sean never married fearing he was a carrier of the Huntington’s gene, the disease which caused the death of his mother.

Lately Sean has been suffering from chronic back pain and feeling burned out from the stress of the job. He decides to make a trip back to his childhood home in Belham, MA for a short rest and to take some time to decide where t...more
Mary (BookHounds)


Sean's mother died young of Huntington's Disease, something he has a 50-50 chance of inheriting. As a nurse who has devoted his life to helping those in need in the most desperate of areas, he is now burned out and heading home, something he has avoided through his good deeds. When he arrives there, he realizes that his aunt Vivian might have dementia or Alzheimers while his sister, Deidre, is clueless while she tries to be an actress. His nephew, Kevin, has his own issues, ma...more
Kathleen Hagen
The Shortest Way Home, by Juliette Fay, Narrated by Sean Runnette, Produced by Blackstone Audio, Downloaded from

Sean Moran is a nurse who has lived and worked in war-torn disaster areas of the world for the past 20 years. His mother died of Huntington’s Disease, and there’s a 50 percent chance he’ll inherit it. He doesn’t take the test to find out if he has it. Instead, he believes that with the time he has, he should do as much good as possible. But when he reached the age of 43 an...more
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Juliette is the author of SHELTER ME (HarperCollins 2009) a 2009 Massachusetts Book Award “Book of the Year,” and DEEP DOWN TRUE (Viking Penguin 2011) which was shortlisted for the Women's Fiction Award of the American Library Association.

Her latest, THE SHORTEST WAY HOME, was chosen for Library Journal's Best of 2012: Women's Fiction.

Juliette received a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and...more
More about Juliette Fay...
Shelter Me Deep Down True

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