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Home Another Way

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After he mother's death and her father's abandonment, tiny infant Sarah Graham was left to be raised by her emotionally distant grandmother. As a child she turned to music for solace and even gained entrance to Juilliard. But her potentially brilliant music career ended with an unplanned pregnancy and the stillborn birth of her child. In an attempt to escape the past, Sarah, now twenty-seven, is living life hard and fast--and she is flat broke. When her estranged father dies, she travels to the tiny mountain hamlet of Jonah, New York, to claim her inheritance. Once there, she learns her father's will stipulates a six-month stay before she can receive the money. Fueled by hate and desperation, Sarah settles in for the bitter mountain winter, and as the weeks pass, she finds her life intertwining with the lives of the simple, gracious townsfolk. Can these strangers teach Sarah how to forgive and find peace? A story of grace, of God's never-ceasing love, and sometimes flawed, faithful people He uses to bring His purposes to pass.

352 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2008

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About the author

Christa Parrish

7 books105 followers
Christa Parrish is the award-winning author of five novels and founder of Narratology, a fair trade non-profit social enterprise. She is also a homeschool parent, speaker, and editor. She is currently at work on her sixth - and seventh! - novel.

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5 stars
269 (26%)
4 stars
368 (36%)
3 stars
291 (28%)
2 stars
63 (6%)
1 star
20 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 157 reviews
Profile Image for Anna.
473 reviews32 followers
September 5, 2008
Home Another Way is unlike many of the other Christian novels I've read, and that's what I liked best about it. There are many themes within the book, such as forgiveness, adultery, abortion, divorce, and premarital sex, and Parrish is never preachy. Best of all, Sarah is unlike any character I've seen in Christian fiction (granted, I haven't read all that much) because she's not really religious. She's promiscuous, vindictive, and angry, but also vulnerable and caring. She's far from perfect...she's real. The book didn't end like I expected, and I was glad because it made it more believable. Parrish created a wonderful cast of characters in Home Another Way (she made me sad that there isn't that small-town sense of community where I live), and I hope she revisits these characters in the future.

Full review on Diary of an Eccentric
Profile Image for Bonnie.
Author 33 books177 followers
September 8, 2009
I was blown away by Christa's spectacular writing. Her characters step out of her book and right into your life. This is a real story about real people--anyway it feels that way.

I will be reading a lot more books by this author. I'll be watching for her next one to release.

Thanks Christa for this most excellent read--and my favorite this year.

Profile Image for Jenna.
121 reviews123 followers
May 8, 2010
I disliked the way the stereotypes of the mountain people were never refuted in conversation or in general. I disliked the main character immensely. I strongly disliked the ending. If I hadn't read her second book first, I wouldn't have read it at all.
Profile Image for Raelee Carpenter.
Author 9 books77 followers
August 13, 2015
Christa Parrish's books are proving a strange phenomenon for me. While I read, I always think of this or that I didn't like about it. When I get to the end, however, I realize everything is as it should be.
Profile Image for Theresa.
346 reviews
March 4, 2019
Growing up with a grandmother who resented her very existence and deprived of a normal family and childhood, Sarah Graham takes refuge in her music. Her violin is the only solace she has, as everyone Sarah meets bears the brunt of her anger and caustic tongue.

"I'd been called heartless before. Sometimes with blatant disgust, by those I had - in their own estimation - handled too carelessly. And other times with admiration for my deft ability to remain unmoved, untouched. Either way, I'd always taken the observation as a compliment."

But life is about to change for Sarah. When her father leaves a stipulation in his substantial estate for Sarah, that she must remain for six months in his isolated mountain home, Sarah begins to meet a town of characters who will forever touch her heart and life.

I read this book so quickly as it drew me into Sarah's journey to find some meaningful resolution to her difficult circumstances.

Christa Parrish has created a believable slate of characters in this novel of a young girl, hardened by her tragic background. Some situations, in order to illustrate Sarah's difficult personality, were a little on the raw side although never graphic. The author so cleverly presents the realities of human frailty, the universal need for caring relationships, and the individuality of personality within an enthralling story that engages the reader from the very first page.

"My hate for my father had faded during the past several months, despite me. I had clung to it, but like handfuls of sand, the tighter I squeezed, the faster it had fallen away. Now it erupted as I counted my losses. Because of him, I never knew my mother, never fought with her over boyfriends, never made her a red felt valentine or a clay pinch pot for her birthday. He went off to prison, and dumped me with my grandmother.

He ruined me."

Profile Image for Tena.
232 reviews6 followers
May 1, 2020
I bought this book a long time ago and never read it. I thought the cover looked good and the description interesting. I wasn't familiar with Christa Parrish so I was in no hurry to read the story. It was on my to-be-read list. I could kick myself! I have read very few books that impressed me as much as Home Another Way. Parrish has a way of describing situations and characters that caused me to read the segments more than once. I actually wrote a few of her descriptions and dialogues in a notebook to keep. I know Parrish was not basing the characters or situations in her personal life but she captured so much accuracy in the story. I felt the cold, smelled the odors, and fought the anger as the book unfolded. I don't think it's necessary to go into a review of the story. You can read about that in the synopsis. But what I do think is so remarkable is the intensity of the story. There are so many situations that seem heartbreaking yet Parrish makes them seem normal and shows the strength of people who deal with tragedy as part of their everyday life. I did not want this book to end. That is my only regret in reading it. So, Christa Parrish, if you are reading this, please write a sequel! I'm too involved in the lives of the people of Jonah to just move on. And thank you for writing such a wonderful, heartfelt book!
Profile Image for Laurel-Rain.
Author 6 books235 followers
December 6, 2009
A young woman, flat broke and steeped in anger, resentment, and fear travels to a small village—Jonah, New York—to claim her inheritance when her father dies. He is the anti-hero who stole her childhood when he killed her mother and then went to prison. He owes her, which is why she feels driven to collect.

But she doesn't anticipate the stipulations her father has placed on the inheritance. In order to claim the modest estate that seems huge to this girl who has nothing, she must live in Jonah for the next six months. Furious, yet compelled to do so nonetheless, Sarah Graham moves into her father's cabin and begins to count down the days until she can leave.

As she meets each of the townsfolk, all with their quirky characteristics and homespun charms, Sarah is both appalled and drawn to them, but the walls she has built around herself only gradually begin to diminish. Each villager offers a view of her father—Luke Petersen—that she has never seen before, and as she grows to see other dimensions to him, she also begins to expand her version of herself.

Even though I was somewhat reluctant to read a book dubbed "Christian fiction," for the possible moralistic posturing I would find, I soon forgot about labels as the author described and brought each character to life through her vivid descriptions and multi-layered characterizations. Soon I could see and feel the individuals who people this story.

However, I was disappointed that, at the end, the plot seemed to flatten, with the primary character sent off to continue her self-discovery "back in the city." This did not ring true for me, which was why I deducted one star. Overall, however, "Home Another Way" was a worthwhile read, just for the lively and unique characters and the world the author painted for them.

Profile Image for Erin.
948 reviews21 followers
June 1, 2010
This debut novel blew me away! Written largely from the first person perspective of Sarah, a young lady who has never known love, the tone of the novel is often harsh and gritty but it is very believable. Sarah was raised by her malicious extended family after her father murdered her mother and was sent to prison. Never reunited with him after his release, Sarah comes to the mountain town to Jonah to claim what he left her after his death. There's one catch, however: she has to live in Jonah for 6 months before the inheritance is hers. Having absolutely nothing to return to, she decides to stay out of spite for the man who ruined her life.

Sarah doesn't count on getting to know the mountain people, whose tenacious faith and care for each other begin to wear away at her defenses. As the story progresses we learn a little bit about how many of the main characters wound up in Jonah, each with a unique history and purpose. Will Sarah let her heart open for healing, or will her own past of anger and hurt cause her to wreak destruction in the lives of those trying to reach her?

I groaned with Sarah on her journey. At times I wanted to smack her just like character Memory Jones does, at times I wanted to weep with her, at times I was horrified by her actions. This story kept me coming back and I have a feeling it will stay with me for a long time.

(Bonus points for the small mountain town setting... living in one myself and having known its impact on my life, Parrish does a great job bringing Jonah to life! I'll be watching for more by this author.)
Profile Image for Karen.
140 reviews18 followers
October 9, 2009
Home Another Way is the story of Sarah Graham, a woman consumed by bitterness, anger, and a troubled past, who finds herself relunctantly spending six months in a small mountain community in order to collect an inheritance left to her by a father she never really knew.[return][return]As you would expect, Sarah's stay in Jonah starts out rocky and gets quite a bit worse before it gets better. I would have liked to see more detail about Sarah's past brought out much earlier in the novel. She's not an easy character to like and the fact that the town's residents have the desire to help and support her is a little hard to accept when she returns their warmth with rudeness at every turn. This would have been a lot more understandable if we'd learned about her troubled childhood and the heartbreak she suffered as a young adult sooner. [return][return]Despite that, though, I really enjoyed the novel and was sorry to see it end. By the end I liked Sarah and the people of Jonah so much I was wishing for a sappy, pat, feel-good ending. Parrish doesn't deliver on that though. She gives you an ending that's a lot like life - kind of up in the air, but still satisfying.[return][return]I'm not sure how much appeal this novel will have with the general public based on its religious bent. Having recently gone through a time of searching and ultimately finding, I found it beautiful, comforting and affirming. I hope readers who don't consider themselves people of faith will give it a chance.
Profile Image for Amanda Nelson (The Midtown Reader).
197 reviews28 followers
October 3, 2018
I was at a very unique place in my life when I read this book. I was raised extremely religious and at the time I was attending a ministry school that I didn’t feel wanted or needed at. I was 19, stumbling around in the dark, trying to decide if I believed any of my upbringing. I doubt it was the purpose of this author to give me courage to take a step out into the unknown and pack my bags for the 12 hour drive back to Alabama from South Carolina, but that is what I did. I am not even sure where I purchased this book at or why I picked it up out of the towering TBR pile I have by my bed, but boy am I glad I did.

Its true that there are undertones of Christianity, but as a now Atheist, I still think of this novel with fond memories. I loved Sarah. I love the community around her and the natural way the characters of the mountain developed. Even now while I am writing this review I can still remember lines from the book and the chilly Fall air that was blowing outside when I was reading this all those years ago. The book has an unexpected ending. At least, it wasn’t what I was thinking would happen, but it was not in the least disappointing. It is bravery at its finest. As a woman who has had to pave her own way multiple times, I appreciate characters like Sarah. She has stuck with me for almost 10 years, I just wish there was more like her out there.
Profile Image for Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls).
1,642 reviews3,631 followers
May 27, 2019
This is a mini ‘Books For Christian Girls’ review. It is not a full content review and will not receive one. These mini-reviews are years old and just for clarity on the rating the book received on Goodreads.

“DNF. Too much Sexual and Negative content plus I read a bit of the ending and I don't think it ended well.”

*Main Content-
Removing an ulcer on a man's foot (very detailed); Mentions of bars, drinking, alcohol, & getting drunk; Sarah says Jesus' last name and Memory whacks her; Minor cussing (darn, heck, screw, sh---, what the--, what the heck, wrench).
Sarah goes home with a guy and wakes up next to him in bed the next morning; Sarah mentions about not minding about meeting a guy in a dark bedroom; Sarah wonders how long it will be until she gets Jack in a compromising situation; Beth says she talked to Dom about not having breasts & that he'll see more they her arms on their wedding night; 'sexy' and 'whore' are both said.
Profile Image for Kerstin Gunia.
201 reviews4 followers
June 14, 2019
The writing is exquisite, Parish is a master at writing first person stories. It is literary fiction at its best! Although I read this book several years ago, just by seeing the cover, it brings back the unique cast of characters. The brokenness, deceit, and desperation are authentic and the storyline is not as predictable as I first thought. You can’t help but root for the misguided young woman and cringe as she burns bridges and bites the hands that feed her. Some say it is a story about forgiveness, which is true, but it is most definitely “Another Way” to get there.
7 reviews3 followers
January 29, 2010
I loved the story and couldn't put the book down, that's what made the ending all the more disappointing. It doesn't always have to be happily ever after, but a little more closure with the characters would have been nice, unless a sequel is in the works. It seemed like the author just got tired of the story and ended it about 10 pages too early. The characters were all so devoted to Luke. It would have been nice to hear them tell more details about how that came to be.
Profile Image for Heidi.
189 reviews
August 26, 2012
definitely a different book, as in a 'religious' book...I get so tired of the Christian genre. the people are usually entirely too perfect to be real. This book was NOT like that. Sarah slept around, both while married and after, she was bitter, angry and as prickly as a cactus. Yet Gods grace still found her. I didn't like how it ended though :( definitely needs a book 2.
Profile Image for Karen Ahaus.
39 reviews3 followers
May 6, 2016
I was shocked at how much I enjoyed this book. Although a bit predictable in storyline, you continue to turn pages because Parrish has a gift for creating realistic characters. Characters that you smile with, get angry at, and cry with (ok, I was a blubbering mess at times). Characters that I will miss when I wake tomorrow and their story is at an end.
Profile Image for Julie Klassen.
Author 28 books5,095 followers
February 5, 2012
Imperfect, irreverent, self-destructive main character (not for young readers) but really well done: funny, moving, and redemptive.
Profile Image for Driftwood.
210 reviews1 follower
March 16, 2012
I enjoyed the book. Could have been much more detail about the backwoods people sarah visited. I didn,t like the ending so much. It was agood read.
Profile Image for Renee.
45 reviews
June 5, 2014
I loved this book. I never read any of her books before. However, I will be reading more. I loved her writing style & the story line was very intriguing.
Profile Image for Sara Brunsvold.
Author 4 books224 followers
November 15, 2021
This is definitely not a warm, fuzzy romance story where the ending is definitively roses and starlit eyes. It requires a different mindset from the get-go. This is a gritty story of a through and through sinner named Sarah Graham who battles her hard-knock life with ferocity, but her strength is waning. What she’s too proud to understand is that she was never meant to go into battle alone.

Home Another Way deals with hard issues like parental abandonment, promiscuity, resentment, abortion, death and unforgiveness, especially toward oneself. It’s Christian fiction with unapologetic realism, and if the reader can endure through the hard, dark parts – and a main character who is decidedly NOT a Christian and acts every bit like it – they will see the light shine through by the end. They may even see a bit of themselves in Sarah’s journey, like I did.

What I saw in the book was a dichotomy at play. Sarah, the main character, chooses to reject God and His people. Her foil, a pastor named Jack, who also becomes Sarah’s love interest, is the example of a soiled past made clean through the surrender to Jesus, trusting in His Grace and Mercy. Both are fallible humans. Both are hiding dark secrets that will hurt others. But it’s what they choose to do with that pain and hurt that makes all the difference.

The story is unpredictable and defies more than one Christian fiction convention. At times I was frustrated with Sarah and completely turned off; and at other times, I desperately wanted to see her thrive. The ending is open-ended, so we don’t know exactly where Sarah ends up, but my personal opinion? God uses the influence of Jack and his testimony in mighty ways.

If you like novels unafraid of taking on some of the hardest issues of sin and flesh and working them toward redemption, I recommend this book.
March 31, 2018
Home Another Way by Christa Parrish
Not only is this book so heartfelt but it truly is direct, Parrish really captivates the reader with this story that somehow teaches a lesson. More than just the life of her lead character Sarah but also the people she finds herself surrounded by, they all have stories that Parrish so beautiful ties together in this story that results to a gripping plot. I find that the story's message lays in the character within Sarah and how she discovers herself in this small town, she discovers that there is more than just the bitterness she has lived with her entire life but that she might even be worthy of happiness. I love that Parrish has created this sort of special bond between Sarah and a few of the characters in the novel, it adds so much humor to the story. Home Another Way shows that there may be faith,hope,forgiveness,love and even happiness for those who have faced the worst. I have been taken aback with this novel, I have enjoyed it and it has allowed me to sit back,relax and refill my coffee cup.
Good read indeed!
- Talitha
Profile Image for Carmen.
128 reviews
November 29, 2017
3.5 Stars. I both enjoyed and did not enjoy this book at the same time. I didn't care for the author's writing style, and yet she's a superb storyteller. Some of the characters will stick with me a long time. But the setting was downright depressing. Thankfully, not at all like the small towns I'm used to. There were some reviewers who thought the character Sarah was mean and spiteful, but who wouldn't be with all that happened to her? A number of people from her past, and in her present, held the power to completely change her situation, yet did nothing. Also, some didn't agree with the ending, but I did. I thought a relationship was the last thing Sarah needed at that point in her journey.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kathy Kelley.
81 reviews1 follower
April 29, 2019
I loved this book. It is the story of a young woman who stands to inherit money from her now-deceased father (who she thinks murdered her mother). The catch: to inherit she must live in the town where he lived for 6 months. Their are quirky characters in the mix which add more humor and interest to the story. Along the way, the young woman becomes friends with some of the townspeople even though she can be a prickly pear at times. The novel leaves things open-ended, so I am hoping there are more books to follow. I really enjoyed discovering this author (new to me).
Profile Image for Cindy.
401 reviews2 followers
June 17, 2019
Christian fiction usually tends be too “ Hallmarky” or “preachy” for me, but I found this book to be neither. I found myself being pulled into the small town of Jonah, NY. The characters were interesting. The fact that nobody had a cellphone was kind of odd. I’m not sure what year she intended as a backdrop for the story. There were a couple other things that were hard for me to buy into, but, the story had some twists I wasn’t expecting and I always like that in a book. If there would be “half stars”, I would have said 3.5 stars.
Profile Image for Vivian.
884 reviews
September 1, 2019
This book was interesting. I liked that it was not sappy sweet like many of the books I’ve read by Christian authors. The author did not try to make everything work out wonderful for every situation. It was very realistic, with people getting sick, dying, etc with no miraculous healings or death bed conversions. The story line Itself was well done in that the foreshadowing was so obscure that the reader had to get to the very end before piecing together what had happened with the parents relationship. Good read.
Profile Image for Ruth.
31 reviews
February 10, 2022
Beautiful sorry of a life redeemed

I’m not good at writing reviews, but I just want to encourage anyone who reads my review to read anything written by Christa Parrish. I’d never read anything by her before and came across a book of hers a week ago. I devoured that book and looked for another one by her. They were both great literary works. Read her stories. You’ll be glad you did.
Profile Image for Della Tingle.
716 reviews6 followers
July 14, 2019
Oh, I struggled through this book disliking the main character possibly more than any character I have ever come across. Sarah, Sarah, Sarah...self-centered and oh, so hard to endure. I did enjoy having to look up unknown vocabulary words: sloe-eyed, antediluvian, luthier. I have nothing else to add; this book depressed me.
65 reviews
September 4, 2019
Won't say I enjoyed this book. Not one to enjoy. One to get pulled into and feel what these people are feeling. I wish there was a follow up, because the ending left you hanging. Didn't like that part..
148 reviews
January 29, 2021
Depressing. Didn't like this book at all. I will say that I thought at least the ending was better than I expected. It would have been unrealistic for Sarah to have had a loving relationship with Jack.
923 reviews2 followers
June 28, 2021
Reread this and enjoyed it just as much the second time around. I like that Parrish doesn't tie everything up tidily at the end. It's a hopeful ending and I'm good with that. The main character is rough but the people around her are quite delightful.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 157 reviews

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