Set against the backdrop of the Midwest during the 1980s, Back to the Homeplace revolves around a family of four grown children whose mother, the family matriarch, has just died. In her will, she has set up unique tasks for the four children to accomplish before inheriting the property.
When they all come home again, leaving behind their various lives elsewhere, and when they hear the specific conditions of the trust, a variety of responses follow, from resentment to the thrill of the challenge.
We are introduced to each of the characters and shown their thoughts and feelings about what they must face in the next two years.
Each chapter deals with the varied characters, including the offspring of the four grown children; as an introductory note to each segment, we glimpse newspaper blurbs and other clues to what was happening in this time period. These unique snippets serve as a reminder of the context in which the events are set, and also present clues to a storyline that will become more prominent at the end.
The concept, the times, the settings were all intriguing. I had some minor concerns with dialogue and characterization. I felt the language was formal and sometimes stilted, while the characters seemed almost interchangeable. I had trouble keeping some of them straight for that reason, which is why I deducted one star.
However, I would still recommend the story for anyone interested in unique family situations and the drama and challenges that come up in the normal course of life.