Review: The Way Home

The Way Home by Anastasia Vitsky

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Way HomeNatalie always wanted a little sister. Kat didn’t know she was allowed to want anything…or anyone.

Kat, a shy farmgirl, arrives at her freshman dorm with a backpack, a suitcase, and her mother’s wish for Kat to attend college “at least until you get married”. Her roommate Natalie, a confident and fun-loving social butterfly, decides sight unseen that Kat will become her best friend for life. Natalie teaches Kat about college life, academics, and friendship by taking Kat under her wing…and over her knee.

Then their lives fall apart one fateful night on campus, and for the rest of the decade Kat and Natalie struggle to find their way back to each other. Their way home.

This is a lovely book that I have read many times and with each reading I find something new to enjoy. The book revolves around a ten year relationship between two women: Natalie and Kat, who first meet at university. They clearly love each other but if you are looking for lesbian sex then you won’t find it here. The relationship on the page is purely platonic, although it would be easy to imagine them as lovers. It is hard to imagine that someone would allow ‘just a friend’ to discipline and spank them! What is certain though is that the trauma that Natalie suffers is due to them being perceived as lesbians, whether they actually are or not.

This is not a happy, fluffy romance and although some chapters are delightfully funny, some scenes are traumatic and I cried for them both.

I first read this book several years ago and at first found it both puzzling and infuriating. ‘What’s going on?’; ‘Why on earth did you do that?’ I wanted to demand of both women several times whilst reading.

I have read the book quite a few times now and although I still don’t have all the answers, it is a testament to Ms Vitsky’s skill as an author that I cared enough about them to want to know.

The book is mostly about Kat and Natalie but there are also a few secondary characters that I liked: Natalie’s mother, Mama Jane, is lovely and Lily, the elderly lady next door, is great.

The main thing I didn’t like abut the book, other than wanting more, was the only POV being Kat’s. I felt that Kat’s viewpoint was not necessarily reliable and I would have liked to know what was going on in Natalie’s head.

The book doesn’t end on a cliff-hanger, however many issues are left unresolved. Some of them will be addressed in the sequel: Lighting The Way


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