Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Book Review: Drawing Home by Jamie Brenner

Pages: 368
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: May 7, 2019
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Summer has started in idyllic Sag Harbor, and for Emma Mapson that means greeting guests at the front desk of The American Hotel. But when one of the town's most famous residents, artist Henry Wyatt, dies suddenly, Emma learns he has mysteriously left his waterfront home - a self-designed masterpiece filled with his work - to her teenage daughter, Penny.   Back in Manhattan, legendary art patron Bea Winstead's grief at her lifelong friend and former business partner Henry's passing turns to outrage at the news of his shocking bequest. How did these unknown locals get their hands on the estate? Bea, with her devoted assistant Kyle in tow, descends on Sag Harbor determined to reclaim the house and preserve Henry's legacy.  While Emma fights to defend her daughter's inheritance, Bea discovers that Henry left a treasure trove of sketches scattered around town. With Penny's reluctant help, Bea pieces them together to find a story hidden in plain sight: an illustration of their shared history with an unexpected twist that will change all of their lives.  Drawn together in their battle for the house, Emma and Bea are forced to confront the past while facing a future that challenges everything they believe about love, fate, and family."

Emma and her daughter live in Sag Harbor year round. As a single mom, she lives an average life and works at the famous American Hotel.  However, Emma's daughter, Penny, is challenging.  She is not only a moody teenager, but she also has OCD and anxiety.  Thankfully, Penny has found drawing to be a great outlet and has blossomed working with Henry Wyatt.  Henry is Sag Harbor's most important resident as he is a famous artist.  When Henry Wyatt suddenly dies, Emma and Penny's world is thrown upside down as Henry has bequeathed his beach front home to Penny.   This is obviously life changing to both Emma and Penny and Emma is pretty stunned by the whole turn of events.  To complicate matters further, Henry Wyatt's best friend and former business partner, Bea, comes to town determined to find out why Henry would have left his estate and the artwork inside it to a teenager. She finds it unbelievable and is determined to fight it.  This brings even more drama into Emma's life.  Just when you think Emma has things figured out, Penny's father comes back to town and wants to be a part of Penny's life and quite suddenly.  Drawing Home by Jamie Brenner isn't an overly saccharine beach read. It's set in Sag Harbor, which makes it the perfect beachy setting, but the issues that Emma and Penny deal with are serious. Nonetheless, the mystery surrounding Henry's will and the Emma's journey will tug on your heartstrings.

I really enjoyed the characters of Emma and Penny in Drawing Home despite their flaws.  I liked how Brenner depicted a complicated teenager and one that has some mental health issues. We need more of this in literature! I also liked that Emma was a single mother who is just trying to get by and raise her teenager as best as she can.  As the story progresses, readers slowly learn more about Henry Wyatt and his friendship with Penny.  Penny loved to spend time with Henry and learn about art as well as practice drawing. This helped with her anxiety and in turn, she shared with him her love of graphic novels.  I really enjoyed learning more and more about their relationship despite the fact that Bea was on a mission to take the estate away from Penny and discredit their friendship.

Speaking of Bea--what a complicated character! I disliked her in the beginning of Drawing Home, but I could understand where she was coming from.  I really can't blame her for questioning why Henry left his estate to a minor that he just recently met, so at times I felt badly for her.  She just goes about it all wrong and takes up residence (illegally!) in Henry's house much to her assistant, Kyle's, dismay. The more Kyle and Bea research Henry in Sag Harbor, the more they cross paths with Emma, and in turn, Kyle starts to show more interest in Emma than in helping Bea. So, obviously, this creates another set of problems for Bea.

I loved the historical town of Sag Harbor in Drawing Home.  It was beautifully depicted and came to life as an adorable seaside town that bustles with tourism in the summer. 

If you are looking for a smarter beach read with a lot of heart and less fluff, give Drawing Home a try. I have come to really enjoy Brenner's beach reads every year and this one doesn't disappoint.

Have you read any of Jamie Brenner's novels? If so, which ones are your favorite?


  1. I agree, her books are so good for summer! Can't wait to read this one!

    1. I hope you enjoy it! I look forward to your thoughts. Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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