Women’s Friendships Take Center Stage in Sara Shepard’s Nowhere Like Home

Friendships among women are important, oftentimes more important, than relationships between romantic partners. Even though Lenna is married to Daniel and they have a son, Jacob, she is obsessed with Rhiannon, a friend who disappeared years ago. Lenna is in a bad place. Jacob never stops crying and she believes it’s her fault. Also, she has a terrible secret she’s been hiding from Daniel.

Lenna and Rhiannon worked for the same magazine, although Rhiannon was a writer while Lenna only edited copy. When Rhiannon leaves for Oregon without telling anyone, Lenna – at the urging of another friend, Gillian – writes an anonymous email that gets Rhiannon fired. Consumed with guilt, Lenna doesn’t feel right taking Rhiannon’s job. She also begins to suspect that Gillian has been lying to her about things Rhiannon has done. 

When Lenna hears from Rhiannon, inviting her to come to a women only retreat named Halcyon, she takes Jacob and boards a plane without telling Daniel. Lenna hopes to reconcile with Rhiannon while learning how to become a better mother. 

Halcyon was started by Marjorie who controls, not only the running of the compound, but all the women living there. Located in the remote Arizona desert, Marjorie tells Lenna Halcyon is surrounded by a locked fence to keep out stray animals and anyone who would attempt to harm the women or their children. Lenna, however, soon understands that she is now a prisoner, unable to leave when she wants. Even using cellphones is discouraged, although Lenna manages several texts to Daniel telling him she and Jacob are fine and will be home soon. 

Lenna is shocked to meet Rhiannon’s two year-old son, Teddy. Did Rhiannon leave California for Oregon because she was pregnant? Rhiannon, however, remains evasive about Teddy’s father or anything that happened in the past. Lenna also believes that Rhiannon has a secret motive for luring her to Halcyon. And when another woman shows up who knows something that could send Lenna to prison, she knows she’s in danger and needs to leave. But how? 

While Lenna knows that Rhiannon is toxic, she finds it difficult to extricate herself. It’s easy to find fault with Lenna’s behavior, but many women will relate to her feelings. Ending a friendship is as emotional as a divorce. Will Lenna take that final step? Will any of us?

Nowhere Like Home
Sara Shepard

Top photo: Bigstock

About Charlene Giannetti (690 Articles)
Charlene Giannetti, editor of Woman Around Town, is the recipient of seven awards from the New York Press Club for articles that have appeared on the website. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Charlene began her career working for a newspaper in Pennsylvania, then wrote for several publications in Washington covering environment and energy policy. In New York, she was an editor at Business Week magazine and her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines. She is the author of 13 non-fiction books, eight for parents of young adolescents written with Margaret Sagarese, including "The Roller-Coaster Years," "Cliques," and "Boy Crazy." She and Margaret have been keynote speakers at many events and have appeared on the Today Show, CBS Morning, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and many others. Her last book, "The Plantations of Virginia," written with Jai Williams, was published by Globe Pequot Press in February, 2017. Her podcast, WAT-CAST, interviewing men and women making news, is available on Soundcloud and on iTunes. She is one of the producers for the film "Life After You," focusing on the opioid/heroin crisis that had its premiere at WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival, where it won two awards. The film is now available to view on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and other services. Charlene and her husband live in Manhattan.