Author: Diane Johnson
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication Date: June 29, 2021
Book Description: Lorna Mott Dumas, small, pretty, high-strung, the epitome of a successful woman–lovely offspring, grandchildren, health, a French husband, a delightful house and an independent career as an admired art lecturer involving travel and public appearances, expensive clothes. She’s a woman with an uncomplicated, sociable nature and an intellectual life.
But in an impulsive and planned decision, Lorna has decided to leave her husband, a notorious tombeur (seducer), and his small ancestral village in France, and return to America, much more suited to her temperament than the rectitude of formal starchy France. For Lorna, a beautiful idyll is over, finished, done . . .
In Lorna Mott Comes Home, Diane Johnson brings us into the dreamy, anxiety-filled American world of Lorna Mott Dumas, where much has changed and where she struggles to create a new life to support herself. Into the mix–her ex-husband, and the father of her three grown children (all supportive), and grandchildren with their own troubles (money, divorce, real estate, living on the fringe; a thriving software enterprise; a missing child in the far east; grandchildren–new hostages to fortune; and, one, 15 years old, a golden girl yet always different, diagnosed at a young age with diabetes, and now pregnant and determined to have the child) . . .
In the midst of a large cast, the precarious balance of comedy and tragedy, happiness and anxiety, contentment and striving, generosity and greed, love and sex, Diane Johnson, our Edith Wharton of expat life, comes home to America to deftly, irresistibly portray, with the lightest of touch, the way we live now.
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Review: This is a book that is getting a lot of praise and as good as the writing is, the story is so ridiculous. The main character Lorna Mott is barely the star of this book, while her ex-husband’s family takes center stage in this tale.
Lorna is coming back to California after living in France for many years with her second husband. Having marital troubles she decides going back home is in her best interest. We meet her children and grandchildren who all are suffering and insufferable in my opinion. Her first husband who has gained much wealth since the demise of their marriage and is remarried with a beloved daughter with type 1 diabetes.
When his 15 year old daughter becomes pregnant, is when this book goes completely off the rails. Let me just say, as this book takes place in current times, this story is so unbelievable, especially for a family like this. It is completely laughable.
The characters are unlikeable, and as the story continues I disliked this book more and more. Again, Lorna is peripheral in this story, for almost the entire book. For me to like a book, there has to be something redeeming, and I could not find it. The rating of 2.5 stars is purely on writing and style which this book had plenty of, content was severely lacking for me.
Thank you NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.