House of Belonging

Romance - Contemporary
305 Pages
Reviewed on 04/14/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Andrea Thome is a former broadcast journalist, having covered both sports and news during her career. Her NIEA award-winning debut novel, Walland, was the first book in her Hesse Creek Series. Seeds of Intention is the second in the series, and won both a Ben Franklin award for Romance, and the NIEA award in the category of Chick Lit. The recently published House of Belonging is the third and final book in Thome's Hesse Creek Series. Andrea spends her spare time traveling, pursuing her passion for photography and writing. See a gallery of her photography, including her cover images, and connect with her at

    Book Review

Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite

Laina Ming just wants to live life on her terms in the beautiful setting of Aspen, Colorado in House of Belonging by Andrea Thome. Having left an unhealthy relationship in New York City, Laina moves to the mountains to be as far physically and mentally from the past as she can get. Ready to open a new restaurant, Laina does not want complications to distract her, but her friend’s handsome, flirty brother, Logan, may be too much to ignore. Logan realizes that Laina is someone very special and is ready to give her all the time and space she needs to come to him willingly. With more than a little help from his sister and even Laina’s best friend, Van, Logan seems destined for success. When the past crashes in on Laina, the question will be how strong she is and how easily Logan can see the situation for what it really is. With their happiness on the line, can the past finally be laid to rest?

Andrea Thome has created another fabulous story in the Hesse Creek series. House of Belonging is perfect as a stand-alone story, full of interesting, well-developed characters and plenty of action. Thome’s use of description puts you right into the story, whether it is in the kitchen with Laina or out in the magnificent scenery of the Rocky Mountains. Carefully devised twists and turns keep the story interesting and provide plenty of opportunity for the characters to work together to solve their problems, proving that open communication and a relationship based on trust is the best way to go. The side stories come together beautifully to support the main characters and their development. With intriguing social themes and a woman’s search for her true self embedded into a touching romantic story, House of Belonging by Andrea Thome is a novel to be thoroughly enjoyed.

Edith Wairimu

House of Belonging by Andrea Thome follows the life of Laina Ming, a beautiful, audacious, and focused lady who harbors a deep wound from her past. Having built a career in New York, she is now a talented chef with her own restaurant in Aspen, Colorado. As she tries to adjust to her new life, Laina is still plagued by her past pain. Still, she forges her way forward through life, but this time she is more hesitant and more careful. Similarly, Logan Matthews, the darling of many women in Aspen, hides a difficult part of his past from the throng of ladies lured to him by his charm. However, he is unable to shake off his new found interest in Laina. His insecurities scare him and her hesitancy pushes her away from him. Will they find new courage to move past their barriers and allow themselves to fall in love?

House of Belonging by Andrea Thome contains a beautiful and enchanting story. Every scene in the book is brought alive by vivid and well thought out scenes. Laina Ming is a great character who brings out the beauty of the overall narrative. Logan is equally likable and both of their stories are captivating, containing an incredible depth that differentiates Andrea Thome’s work from just any other novelist. The plot contains great twists, additional sub-plots that complement the main story and well-crafted descriptions. All in all, House of Belonging by Andrea Thome is well-written, alluring and engaging. Thome had me glued and turning pages to the end.

Kathleen Hill

House of Belonging by Andrea Thome is a sweet, romantic story. It starts in your traditional boy meets girl fashion, but unlike most of the romance stories out there, boy does not lose girl. Boy does not save the girl from the bad guy. In the beginning, I thought how predictable it was sounding. The lead male wants nothing to do with his mother, then a friend of his tells him he’s dating this woman who’s shy. I knew immediately who the friend was dating. However, the end was not predictable. I don’t want to give the story away, but it was a nice change from the typical romance novels out there.

Andrea Thome tells a lovely story with likable characters. House of Belonging is a perfect read for a snowed in or rainy day. If you love romance and don’t mind sex scenes, then this story is for you. It was short and to the point. There were no ridiculous scenarios that could never happen in real life; the protagonists didn’t spend half the book chasing each other only to argue over some uncontrollable thing and break up, then make up just in time for the female to get kidnapped and need saving. I liked that this is a story that could, just maybe, happen in real life. I also enjoyed that there is a possibility for another book for one of the other characters that I liked more than the lead male. Sometimes we wish the girl would end up with the other guy, but it’s not our story.

Natasha Jackson

House of Belonging by Andrea Thome is the story of Laina and Logan. She’s a chef who gave up the spotlight to escape a man, and he is a horse rancher who hasn’t been able to stop thinking about her since their initial meeting the year before. Logan is intrigued, but Laina is completely uninterested, thanks to the toxic relationship she’d put in her rear view mirror on her way to the Rocky Mountains. But of course, how could you not be interested in Logan…just a little? One of the things Andrea Thome really excels at is painting a picture of the beautiful, serene landscape. There were some pages where I swear I could inhale the cool mountain air or hear the rush of the Roaring Fork River. In fact, it was as if the town itself and the mountains were just another character in the story.

I liked House of Belonging. The writing was solid, a bit flat at times which interrupted the flow of an otherwise good story. What helped me was that there was a lot going on, but not in a bad way. I didn’t read the other stories in this series, but I was able to get a quick rundown so I didn’t feel lost and could understand the dynamics of the characters. Then Andrea Thome added in more secondary characters so this felt like a story about more than just Laina and Logan. My favorite was Van and I absolutely hope he eventually gets his own story! There’s a bit of family drama on multiple fronts and some major drama later on, but overall this story is a compelling, complex and emotional read.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

House of Belonging by Andrea Thome is the third in the Hesse Creek stories. Laina Ming is a renowned chef but she gave it all up, along with a relationship that was taking her nowhere, to start her life over in the Rockies. She can’t get her relationship out of her mind so, to help her put it all behind her, she opens a new restaurant on Roaring Fork River. Logan Matthews is a rancher and he came to Aspen so that he could be close to his newfound sister. He met Laina the year before and has struggled to get her face out of his mind, but when he meets her again, she gives him the cold shoulder – the one thing that is guaranteed to make Logan go after his prize. Although she won’t admit it, Laina can’t get Logan out of her mind either and, although she is doing her best to keep her heart locked up and safe, bit by bit Logan is working his way in. Can they find trust in each other, find the peace they both want?

House of Belonging by Andrea Thome is a wonderful story, one that meanders its way to a nice conclusion. It isn’t a heart-stopping adventure, with twists and turns all over the place; it is a gentle romance, a tale of love lost and found and of people who just want a place in life to call their own, a real sense of belonging and peace. There are many facets to this story that we can all identify with somewhere along the line, and I think Ms. Thome has written an incredibly heartfelt story that touched me and will touch others. The characters are incredibly well developed, details that are drip-fed throughout the book lending themselves to the authenticity of the story. I haven’t read any of the other Hesse Creek books, but I believe that each is an individual story and can be read as a standalone story. I really enjoyed this book, and highly recommend this author for lovers of the romance genre.

Gisela Dixon

House of Belonging by Andrea Thome is a fiction romance novel set against the background of the Colorado mountains and landscape. This romance novel is a bit of a quintessential boy-meets-girl story and begins with Laina’s move to Colorado to embark on a new life. Laina is a chef who wants a fresh start in life after her last relationship, and opens up her own business in Colorado. Soon, she meets the handsome Logan, who has also moved there to be near his family. Although there is an attraction between the two, Laina studiously avoids him as she wants to stay away from him after her previous experience with men. However, whether these two manage to overcome the odds and succumb to their mutual attraction and the development of their story form the theme of this novel.

House of Belonging by Andrea Thome is an engaging and delightful read for fans of the romance genre and women’s stories in general. Although this is a romance novel, we as readers get to read and view it a bit more from Laina’s point of view, and so there is an element of experiencing it from the woman’s perspective. Both of the lead characters are drawn well and the story seems plausible and relatable, unfolding in a contemporary setting. We also get a feel for the Mid-west culture and the natural beauty of Colorado through this book. Overall, the steady development of this story and the engaging writing make House of Belonging an enjoyable read.

Ankita Shukla

If you throw in several tablespoons of romance, friendship, family drama, and a pinch of emotional past in a pan and let it come to the boil, the dish that would be created as a result of this recipe would be House of Belonging by Andrea Thome. If you are wondering what awakened my inner chef, Laina Ming, the leading lady of the plot, is the reason. Laina is a chef who is passionate about vegan food. Having presented a variety of options to an otherwise limited menu of vegan recipes, she is now expanding her boundaries to other types of food to serve a diverse population. She is beautiful and successful, yet there is a sadness in her that handsome Logan is unable to decipher. He had been smitten by her since the very beginning; however, Laina doesn't seem to reciprocate his feelings. The reason for her apparent ignorance of every move Logan makes has nothing to do with anything that he has said or done; in fact, the root of her reluctance towards pursuing any romantic interest is the immense emotional abuse that she went through in her past relationship. Nevertheless, when her best friend, Van, insists that it's about time that she face the light and stop avoiding any romantic relationships, she decides to give Logan a chance. Although everything looks bright and sunny, can her life be a bed of roses or will her past cloud her present?

House of Belonging by Andrea Thome is a typical chick-lit romance with a good emphasis on the importance of family, friendship, and karma. Logan and Laina both have demons that they must make peace with, no matter how reluctant they might feel. House of Belonging will make you reconsider how you walk away from your relationships. If you read closely, you might learn the significance of forgiveness. In order to really move on, sometimes we must forgive the people whom we hated from the bottom of our hearts. The author's affection towards her friends is reflected clearly in her characters. The dedication with which the characters treasure their friendships truly shows the author's take on the concept. There are good twists to keep the plot interesting, but these are not such big twists that would keep you on the edge of your seat either. Like I said, it is a typical chick-lit romance and it has a good amount of lovemaking scenes to keep more adventurous readers interested.

Deborah Lloyd

Laina Ming moved to Aspen, Colorado, to start a new life after ending a long-term relationship. Laina was an excellent chef and built her dream restaurant, naming it the House of Belonging. Alongside her was her best friend and chef, Van Laird, who also moved to Aspen to support this dream. Logan Matthews, a local horse ranch owner, had been gently pursuing Laina for a year, but she always turned away from his intentions. She had much to work out regarding her previous love relationship. In House of Belonging, author Andrea Thome weaves a charming tale of the relationship between these two main characters. However, this book is much more than a romantic romp. Logan, Laina, Van and other characters reveal complicated family histories that have greatly impacted their lives. How their earlier years affected their adult relationships adds a level of complexity not often found in romantic novels.

The author is a skillful writer as she blends in the histories of these characters along with new friendships and bonds in present-day Aspen. She aptly illustrates the possibilities of forging new familial relationships among friends who are hoping to experience the kind of families they never had. There is an easy flow to the story, even as she reveals one character’s history after another, never losing a beat in current happenings. Author Andrea Thome has ended her three-book series, called Hesse Creek, with a grand finale in House of Belonging. The title itself is a perfect depiction of the possibility of friendship and love.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Laina was a chef, a very talented chef. She was also a very beautiful woman. So when she moved to Aspen, Colorado to escape the bad memories of a relationship gone sour, she hoped to build a new life for herself, along with a new place to serve her haute cuisine. She didn’t plan on meeting Logan, much less falling in love with him. But when the brother of her former boyfriend suddenly shows up and declares his love for Laina, quite violently, her new life, the one she dreamed and worked so hard for, is suddenly precariously on the verge of disintegrating.

Andrea Thome’s novel, House of Belonging, is the third and final book in her Hesse Creek series. Whilst on the surface it might appear to be just another love story, there is more depth than first meets the eye. The protagonist, Laina, is a likeable, very talented woman with a passion for family, friends and food, perhaps not always in that order. Her passion for food stems from her growing up as a single child of loving adoptive parents who encouraged the importance of mealtimes to bring their little family together. Eating was a family experience. Studying the culinary arts, Laina grew to love food as another creative expression, an art form, and one that could also bring together friends and loved ones. The power of good food bringing together love and fulfilment is the underlining theme that moves this plot along, strengthening the main characters as they follow their dreams. A very positive, uplifting story that brings the importance of food in nurturing relationships to the fore.