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Home Safe

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  9,288 Ratings  ·  1,311 Reviews
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Elizabeth Berg's Once Upon a Time, There Was You.

In this novel, beloved bestselling author Elizabeth Berg weaves a beautifully written and richly resonant story of a mother and daughter in emotional transit. Helen Ames–recently widowed, coping with loss and grief, unable to do the work that has always sustained her–is beginning
ebook, 180 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by Random House (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Dec 29, 2009 Barbara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 17, 2010 Myth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I received this book for free, as a sort of promotional Nook was doing. I felt kind of cheap and decided I would get this, instead of one of the books I had planned on.

What a mistake.... but before I get into subject analysis and general ranting, here are the technical specs.

Most of the writing is in third person present tense. At first it's awkward to read in present tense, but you get use to it. It appears to be written this way so as to make easy transitions from past and present.

The main ch
Dec 29, 2009 Heather rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I've heard this is not a typical Elizabeth Berg story, but this is my first, and, from the writing, it could be my last. Incidentally, I have been informed (by a rather nasty reviewer), to put a Spoiler tag here. So, here it is! SPOILER ALERT.

The book seemed to lack plot or point; the main character, Helen was so unlikeable -- needy, non-self-reflective in any way, no sense of self, critical, empty, and lacking any EQ, that I felt sorry for her daughter and parents, and angry and irritated at he
May 27, 2009 Diane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was anxious to read Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg, because I have enjoyed a few of her books in the past. The premise of this story is not a new one: when her husband dies unexpectedly, Helen Ames is stunned and finds it difficult to move on.

Yes, Helen lose her husband, but this woman was incapable of doing anything for herself ; honestly, she was pathetic. Once a best selling author, she even loses her her ability to write. She also becomes dependent on her 27 year old daughter Tessa, to the po
Elizabeth Berg's books tend to be those I refer to as "brain resting" books. Not to say that the characters aren't real or developed nicely, it's just that they are a whole lot like that pair of pajama pants that are definitely not for public viewing. Her books are comfortable and cozy and not at all surprising in any way. Sometimes a girl needs a book like that. In Home Safe: A Novel , I felt so often that Berg is becoming more and more autobiographical in her character development. There was a ...more
May 17, 2009 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always look forward to a new work by Elizabeth Berg which is why I devoured it, gulping it when I should have probably done more sipping and savoring. The plot, a middle-aged widow with writer's block discovers a secret her husband kept from her, and a secret she has kept from herself about who she is and what she is truly capable of, is classic Berg. I didn't particularly care for Helen. Her relationship with her daughter, Tessa, made me want to smack her up-side the head on several occasions ...more
Jan 29, 2012 Katy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
When I first picked up an Elizabeth Berg novel, I was so intrigued. I read the entire thing in a day, I had a special connection to the characters, I loved the intimate details of feminine life, and I wanted to be like all of her protagonists when I grew up. I gave the books to my mom, we discussed how much we loved them, and I was convinced that this is what adult women were like.

Fast forward 15 years ahead, and this book actually made me ANGRY in how little i could relate to the characters. He
Sep 28, 2009 Joy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Berg's books are really good. I'm enjoying novels by women these days. This was a mother-daughter story of a recently widowed woman who is overprotective of her 27-year-old daughter. The mother's own mother gives her excellent advice from older times: "We didn't need to air all our dirty laundry and run to therapists every five minutes. Life comes with problems. You just have to accept that. And you have to try to lead the simple life; to not constantly ask questions about the whys and ...more
Aug 01, 2012 Marlet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I’m now officially a fan of Elizabeth Berg. This is my second book and I finished it in 3 days. I guess Berg has a gift in hooking readers with her natural storytelling style.

Home Safe is about a novelist and a widow who can’t get over the death of her husband. While the theme may sound depressing, Berg managed to tell Helen’s life without too much weight in the heart. It’s not like I’d get to almost choke with tears but there were moments in the book that I truly felt for Helen.

Helen was very d
May 29, 2009 Alissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Heather, Lesley, Kay, Diana, Stephanie, Maya, June
Recommended to Alissa by: Kay got me hooked on her books
I'm always ashamed to admit how much I like Elizabeth Berg's books. I mean, really--they're corny, with a lot of rumination about the small pleasures in life. Which, yeah, ok, I have to admit: I'm kinda the same way--I just don't talk about how much I love the iridescence of a scrub jay's wings. Maybe Elizabeth Berg is just the part of myself I'd never let anyone see because I'd be too freakin' embarrassed.

Anyway. I read this book in a day and a half, and that was even with Charlie sitting on my
In Elizabeth Berg’s newest novel “Home Safe,” we are almost immediately plunged into the world of loss. It begins in the preface, when, as a nine-year-old girl, Helen Ames experiences the death of a classmate: she describes everything she sees, up close, from the hands on a wristwatch to the top of the mother’s head and the sound of her weeping – and completely immersed in this experience, she becomes obsessed with these details. And then she describes: “Nothing helped until the day she took a t ...more
Sandy T
Apr 11, 2010 Sandy T rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2010
I've read several of Elizabeth Berg's books because I love her thoughtful discriptions of everyday ordinary life. But I keep waiting to really LOVE one of them, and it just hasn't happened yet. I did love this quote about books though:

"When Suzie introduced Helen, she told the audience that one of the best things about books is that they are an interactive art form: that while the author may describe in some detail how a character looks, it is the reader's imagination that completes the image, m
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
I bought this book when it first came out, but the reviews that I read put me off it and it's been sitting on my bookshelf ever since. Now that I've finally read it, I'm sorry I waited so long. It's a lovingly written, thought provoking book about moving on after you've lost your partner, and redefining what your "home safe" place will be.

Helen Ames is in her late 50s and a successful author. She is recently widowed and is struggling to cope without her husband, Dan. She is becoming overly depen
K. L. Petersen
Berg's writing was warm and simple, with perfectly timed moments of radiance. I think you could feel her love for her characters. I would describe the book as effortlessly charming, even elegant. It's the kind of novel you read, not be challenged or teased or even entertained, but to relax. The kind of book you grab while you're wrapped in a blanket, holding a hot cup of tea, and want to read something honest and kind about life, love and loss. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone though. Some of ...more
May 25, 2009 Cathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-books
I like the depth of Elizabeth Berg's characters even if I can't identify with the characters, which is the case with this book. The main character is Helen, a woman nearing 60, a writer whose husband suddenly drops dead. There is a mystery - he withdraws most of their savings without telling her. If this was an Anita Shreve or Jodi Picoult, it would be for nefarious purposes.
I can't identify with Helen much. She strikes me as self-indulgent and weak. I did squirm uncomfortably at how interferin
Havebooks Willread
While this book wasn't as enjoyable as other Berg books I've read, it did serve its purpose: to provide a little escape from real life. I could really identify with the love and appreciation for the written word which was woven through the pages of this novel.

"She opens the novel again, reads one page, another. Then another. And finally, everything in her own life surrenders to the one being presented here. . .Dan once had a friend who died from metastatic cancer. Toward the end, Dan visited h
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 30, 2012 Stacy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Helen is a 50 something widowed author who is still trying to find her way a year after her husband’s death. She cannot do the most basic things around the house relying instead on her 27-year-old daughter Tessa and she has not been able to write at all. When she finds out the nest egg she thought would support her financially is gone, having been taken out of the bank by her husband before his death, she has no idea what to think. She takes a job teaching a writing workshop and the eccentric st ...more
Jun 02, 2010 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've told you before that Elizabeth Berg is my favorite author. I don't think I could ever read a book by her that disappoints! This novel is about a 59-year-old writer, Helen Ames, who is recently widowed and trying to now fend for herself, and is battling writer's block. Her 27-year-old daughter lives in the same city and Helen depends on her too much and meddles in her life as well. One day Helen discovers her husband was seemingly leading a double life and had withdrawn a huge amount of mone ...more
Linda Bewley
This book received many conflicting reviews. Personally, it made me think about lots of things that I'd rather not face, like the sudden death of my spouse, how that would change my relationship with my children and how I would now have to handle all the day to day things that were always taken care of for me. I felt that many of the negative reviews were written by women who, for one reason or another, had to rely solely on themselves and therefore could not relate to Helen's situation. One rev ...more
May 12, 2014 Aura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
Sometimes books present themselves to us at special times of our lives and we love them because there is something particularly timely to us. I love Elizabeth Berg since Pull of the Moon, Open House and Durable Goods but this book was timely to me because my mother just died and she was a woman a lot like Helen. Home Safe is a story about a woman whose husband died and she is forced to grapple with no only the loneliness of losing a marriage but the loss of a man who took care of life, paying th ...more
Dec 02, 2012 Joana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nem sempre um livro consegue estar à altura dos comentários que constam nas contra-capas - por regra, pequenas considerações de críticos de renome. Este "Porto de Abrigo" é descrito como sendo "Simples, belo e real"e "Sábio, gracioso e romântico". E realmente é isso tudo e muito mais, na minha opinião, claro!

Elizabeth Berg não é uma autora da moda, mas a Bertrand já publicou várias das suas obras, o que significa que os leitores portugueses gostam das suas histórias. Eu adoro, e progressivamente
Mar 13, 2011 Tina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Painful to read. I disliked the main character so much that I wanted to reach in the book and smack her!
Carla Patterson
Oct 12, 2016 Carla Patterson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-challenge
I started listening to the audiobook yesterday and couldn't stop when it was time for sleep so, instead I just listened straight through the night until it was finished. I could really identify with the protagonist, not because we're alike but because of Berg's writing. I felt each character's existence and ideosyncracy-filled interactions on a par with people I have known myself. This is where the universality of human experience comes into the equation for me. Once I feel they are tangible, I ...more
Jan 04, 2017 Kj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So much of responding to a book is due to the reader's mood and I read Home Safe at the perfect time. I was looking for an easy comfort read and this was perfect.
May 31, 2009 Bonnie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review posted on my blog at Redlady's Reading Room.

First off, I must admit that I'm a huge fan of Elizabeth Berg's writing. I have read most of Ms. Berg's books except a few of her earlier works. I find that Ms. Berg connects to the heart of a reader by touching on topics that we can relate to. She has a skill in her writing from creating characters that a reader connects to and she uses words and phrases that are heartfelt and realistic. That is why I am such a fan of Ms. Berg's books. I recent
Mar 04, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Home Safe is one of the latest works by bestselling and prolific novelist Elizabeth Berg.

Recently widowed Helen Ames is a bestselling author who encounters writer's block as she tries to adjust to life without her husband, who took care of everything in the household, including finances. When Helen discovers there's very little money left for her to live comfortably from, it comes as quite a shock. Why are thousands of dollars missing and what did her husband spend it on? In addition, Helen mus
Jan 26, 2010 Dawn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 19, 2010 Amanda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don't really dislike books very often, but this one is a "dislike" for me. I would probably give this a 1.5 stars because the writing is not hideously bad, I just did not find the story enjoyable at all.

This book is what my husband and I call a "lady book". It's as close as I comfortably get to a "beach read", but far from romance novel. It's the kind of book I probably would have liked in high school because I thought it would make me seem sophisticated or grown up.

The story focuses on Helen
Oct 12, 2009 Tressa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Alice Hoffman, Anne Tyler, and Kaye Gibbons.
This is my first Elizabeth Berg novel, and since I've heard so many good things about her other books, I'm going to assume this isn't one of her best.

Home Safe is the story of Helen, a writer whose husband of 30+ years drops dead suddenly. They are well off and Helen assumes that she is set financially, until a call from the accountant surprises her with this: over $800,000 was removed from their retirement account by her husband. What did he do with the money? Gambling? Does he have another fam
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Home Safe 1 2 May 15, 2013 09:05PM  
  • Seeing Stars
  • Delta Girls
  • Real Life & Liars
  • Lying With the Dead
  • SAHM I Am
  • Bone Fire
  • Bill Warrington's Last Chance
  • Getting In
  • The Favorites
  • Perfect Reader
  • Northfield
  • Commuters
  • Losing Charlotte
  • Good Things I Wish You
  • While I'm Falling
  • The Wildwater Walking Club
  • Robin and Ruby
  • Alexandra, Gone
Elizabeth Berg is the New York Times bestselling author of many novels, including We Are All Welcome Here, The Year of Pleasures, The Art of Mending, Say When, True to Form, Never Change, and Open House, which was an Oprah’s Book Club selection in 2000. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year, and Talk Before Sleep was short-listed for the ABBY Award in 1996. The w ...more
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“books are like confort food without the calories” 39 likes
“She sits down and puts her hand to her chest and rocks. Thinks of all she has lost and will lose. All she has had and will have. It seems to her that life is like gathering berries into an apron with a hole. Why do we keep on? Because the berries are beautiful, and we must eat to survive. We catch what we can. We walk past what we lose for the promise of more, just ahead.” 24 likes
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