Book Review Take Me Home by Dorothy Garlock : Good Ol’ Romance; a tale of Forbidden Love.
A love triangle set in a small town in America, World War II in the backdrop, a forbidden romance between a German prisoner of war and a native American girl – Dorothy Garlock’s ‘Take Me Home’ has every hallmark of a romantic beach read. The plot is rich with interesting and relatable characters. The prologue itself is so beautifully written that one instantly falls in love with her writing style.
The story is set in 1945, Wisconsin and portrays the life of the common Americans as they try to make ends meet while contributing for the war effort. Olivia Marsten is a conventional young girl living in a small town called ‘Miller’s Creek’. She is completely taken aback when her childhood friend, Billy Tate, proposes marriage right when he is about to leave to serve in the Navy. Unable to break his best friend’s heart before he goes off to war, she says yes even though she doesn’t have any romantic feelings for him.
Peter is a German prisoner of war who loathes the Nazis but was forced to serve in the war out of fear for his mother’s life. His father was an American who fought in WW I and stayed back after the war to settle in Germany. Peter escapes owing to a train wreck and winds up in Wisconsin.
On his way to turn himself in, he bumps into Olivia and they both instantly fall in love with each other. In their first meeting itself he ends up saving her life and is grievously injured in the road accident. He ends up staying at Olivia’s place to recover from his injuries. Wanting to see things through with Olivia, the escaped prisoner postpones his plans to turn himself in and keeps his identity a secret.
A large part of the story revolves around Olivia’s dilemma over the two men in her life. There’s also a vicious villain in the story, ‘Otto’, the man who escaped with Peter and has a personal vendetta against every ‘Amerikaner”.
Garlock’s writing style is a huge plus. One can surely relate to the characters, particularly John and Ruth. There a lot of plot twists, specially in the second half of the novel which keep you on your toes and leave your night lamps burning way into the night. The lovemaking scenes are tender and handled very tastefully.
There are, however, a few let downs. At many points in the novel the story appears contrived. For example, it is hard to swallow that no one is uncomfortable by the abrupt inclusion of a complete stranger into their lives; and it is almost preposterous that Peter speaks perfect English and has no German accent at all. Also, I feel there wasn’t enough time for Olivia and Peter’s romance to develop. I find it juvenile that they just meet and fall “deeply in love” at the first sight. Moreover, I was irked by Olivia’s dilemma that drags on a tad longer than I would have preferred. One simply doesn’t go on kissing strangers when one is promised to another man. She’s the only character I couldn’t relate to.
All in all, if you can allow yourself to be loose with logic at certain places, this is a good book to curl up with over the weekend. The description of American life during the war era will capture your interest, the romantic descriptions will leave your toes tingling, the plot twists at some instances will definitely cause you goose bumps and with the happy ending in the epilogue you will close the book grinning.
Recommended as a one-time read!