Annie, well into her thirties, is childless and a widow. However, her life is moving forward in the right direction. She has received a substantial promotion at work and she is happily dating Tony, a handsome Italian who cooks, and the two are thinking about living together. While Annie has faced some bumps in the road of life, right now life is good and she is happy.
Annie’s life radically changes when she receives a call and learns that her sister, Dana, is in drug rehab. Due to Dana’s drug problems over the years and the fact that Dana lives in Los Angeles and Annie lives in Maine, the two sisters are not close. In fact, Annie has not seen Dana’s daughter, Summer, since Summer was eight years old. Now Annie is being asked if Summer, now thirteen, can come stay with Annie in Maine while Dana gets help.
Of course, Annie is not going to turn away her adorable niece. She has not seen Summer in several years, but how different could Summer be from the adorable, sweet girl that Annie remembers from years ago? Actually, Summer has changed - a lot - and Annie is shocked when a sullen, belligerent wild-child with two-tone hair, white makeup, black eyeliner, and multiple piercings turns out to be Summer.
Summer has had a hard life due to Dana’s neglect (and, possibly, abuse) and she is not going to be an easy child to take care of. In fact, Summer quickly puts Annie in stressful situations because most people think that Summer is totally out of control - and they do not have a soft spot for Summer, like her Aunt Annie does. Annie risks alienating Tony, her dear friend Vi, and other loved ones as she takes Summer under her wing for a longer stay than originally anticipated.
A Long Walk Home is an engrossing novel about the love Annie has for her niece – and how Summer eventually comes around to reciprocate that love. This poignant novel explores the issues of family, love, friendship, and broken homes from drug abuse. I enjoyed reading about all of the characters, and the reader will find that not only does Summer evolve and change throughout the novel, so does Annie. A Long Walk Home is recommended to fans of women’s fiction. This is another enjoyable read out of Harlequin’s NEXT line.