07 6 / 2012
Wading Home by Rosalyn Story
I was so mad at myself while reading this book. Let me tell you why….
During my visit to New Orleans last July, I was excited to learn that there would be an author’s panel led by Terry McMillan. While trying to find the panel, I got lost in the convention center and stumbled upon a makeshift bookstore where authors were signing and selling their books. Thinking this was the right area, I walked into the bookstore but then realized I was in the wrong place. While leaving, I noticed a woman sitting at the author’s table who currently had a role in the HBO series, “Treme”. I’d actually watched the show and fell in love with it on the flight to New Orleans, so I had to suppress a squeal as I made my way over to speak with her. I purchased her book just because…but then I looked to my right and there sat Rosalyn Story.
I was gushing and excited while speaking to the previous author, and because she was so welcoming and friendly, I turned to Story and asked her about her book. It was also about New Orleans and I vaguely remembered the book was on my reading list, so I purchased it as well and had her sign it. To be honest, I’m not big on purchasing books written by people I’ve never read before, so as soon as I walked away, a little voice inside of me told me I should take it back. But how wack would that be? (Plus I don’t think there was a return policy anyway).
I just sighed, shrugged it off, and went on about my way.
Nearly a year, later, the book popped up on my reading list to read, and let me tell you, from the first chapter, I was IN LOVE.
At the heart of Wading Home are the father and son of the Fortier family, both at odds with family tradition and the history surrounding their birthplace and inherited land, Silver Creek. It starts off after Simon, the elder Fortier who was once a highly sought after chef, has a huge falling out with his grown son, Julian, a trumpet player who is now living in New York, with no desire to return. Soon after, Hurricane Katrina strikes and the elderly Simon goes missing. Julian is forced to return home to find his father, whose stories of family history and allegiance begin to finally resonate with him once he realizes that everything that he once took for granted may never return.
Story’s writing is rich and intoxicating. And it doesn’t hurt that I love New Orleans because much of her arc was centered around the places, traditions, food and music of this beloved city. Reading it made me crave a big bowl of gumbo, made me want to dance with an umbrella in my hand, and made me want to cherish and hold tight those who came before me.
There was much more to the story than my little review can explain: romance, underhanded law practices, forgiveness, history, race relations, rebuilding, and second chances. Story’s writing style embodies everything that I ever hope to be as a writer. This is definitely one of my favorites of the year and I can’t wait to read more from her.
I sure wish I had known what was in store for me as she signed my book that fateful day in July. So, I was glad that I did purchase the book, but I was upset that I didn’t realize that I was in the presence of such a wonderful writer and almost returned the book. Thank goodness I let that go.