cover image The Long Way Home

The Long Way Home

Robin Pilcher, Author . St. Martin's $25.99 (294p) ISBN 978-0-

Pilcher (An Ocean Apart ) goes bland in his uninspired fifth novel. Claire Barclay has always been close to her stepfather, Leo, so when Leo suffers a stroke, Claire returns to his estate in Scotland with her husband, Art, to help out, only to land in the middle of wrangling over what to do with the estate. Among the players, childhood friend and chaste love Jonas Fairweather may have ulterior motives beneath his altruistic exterior, and Marcus and Charity, Leo's children from his first marriage, who have never liked Claire, want Leo to sell his house and property. Claire and Art, meanwhile, devise a plan to convert the estate into a conference center. Unfortunately, the characters are more caricature than flesh and blood, particularly the spiteful Marcus and Charity, and Jonas's secrets are pathetic when not contrived. Leo is the best thing going, but he's relegated to a plot device. With such slapdash character work, it's tough to care about where it's all going. (Apr.)