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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Coming Home: Millboro Book One by Abby Gordon is a rural romance set in the series' titular town and revolving around its two protagonists, Parker Jackson and Margaret “Poppy” Bedingfield. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Parker leaves his position with the New York Police Department when he is told that the joint custody he has of his niece and nephew, whose parents were killed on 9/11, is being contested by the children's grandparents, who also have joint custody. In order to make a strong case to support him being in the best position to care for them, he devotes himself full-time to building a life in his rural hometown to prove it. Poppy has had a lifetime of mounting issues that are almost entirely the result of family pressure, control, and manipulation. With the faith of her son in her ability to make good decisions in question, and her financial situation and trust in tatters, she's willing to hear Parker out when he makes an offer that may benefit them both.
Abby Gordon uproots small-town drama that doesn't come from the farm's garden in Coming Home: Millboro Book One. More than anything else I was surprised by how much pleasure I got reading about life in the Carolina foothills, and Poppy's impressive ability to homestead, regardless of what's made available to her from anyone but herself. From processing her own venison to drying herbs and preserving anything that can be stuffed in a jar, if this had been a dystopian novel I would know exactly who to place a bet on surviving. In many ways, Poppy's story is apocalyptic on its own, and watching her unfurl from a tightly woven cocoon is satisfying. Gordon doesn't reinvent the wheel with the plot or its solution, and I did find the pace at which Parker swooped in for romance to be way too fast and on the selfish side, given that he knows what she has been through, and how vulnerable she is, but the overall story is well written and well balanced. The kids are all fantastic. Elizabeth and Cade on Parker's side, and William on Poppy's, round out the family-romance-all-for-one scope that gives the story a wide grasp on readership. Fantastically done and highly recommended.