After a betrayal ends in tragedy, Katy seeks refuge from her abusive husband, Hank, in her quiet hometown of Cedar Branch, North Carolina. Taking up residence on the old family farm and landing a job at the local Quaker Café, she hopes to leave her troubled past behind.

At the café, Katy finds allies, kind people willing to protect her and offer advice. There’s the gracious owner who insists that manners prevail, the no-nonsense cook who tackles life with a cast iron frying pan, a Yankee transplant who doesn’t bow to convention, and a shrewd Southern lawyer who sees a chance for Katy to profit from her predicament. But when Hank discovers her whereabouts, Katy’s newfound peace is broken. As a heated standoff involving Hank, local and federal law enforcement, and the media ensues, how far will the Cedar Branch community go to avert violence and save lives? (via Goodreads)

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I received an ARC of Home to Cedar Branch by Brenda Bevan Remmes from Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

I picked Home to Cedar Branch from Netgalley because I very rarely see books about the Quaker lifestyle, and it takes place in a small town about 2 hours from my hometown. The newspaper I work for is even mentioned a few times, which made it kind of fun. I also thought the cover was cute and small-town-appropriate.

This is apparently the second novel in the Quaker Café series, which I did not realize before reading it. I think that reading the first novel, aptly named Quaker Café, would have made me enjoy Home to Cedar Branch a lot more, because it would have already introduced me to the characters that we were expected to be familiar with.

There were some good ideas put into the writing of this novel – the boys falling through the skylight is something I’d believe of kids around here, and I was excited to continue reading. I should note that there is murder, domestic violence and racism

Unfortunately, most of the good ideas didn’t really flow together very well. While this was a very quick read, the beginning was the best part of the novel. The middle got really strange, with Ray getting into some weird voodoo stuff that was never really fleshed out, and the ending really didn’t work for me. I also felt like if it’s going to be advertised as a Quaker novel, there really should have been a main Quaker character, or give some real insight into the Quaker lifestyle.

Overall, this book wasn’t bad. The writing was good at times, and it had some good ideas, it just fell flat for me. I’m rating it three stars. Home to Cedar Branch is due to be published on January 19, 2015.

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