What Else But Home

Written by Sharon Rolens
Review by Ellen Keith

This sequel to Worthy’s Town takes the reader back to Old Kane, Illinois, post-World War II. Cappy Giberson has graduated from college with a degree in journalism and come home to Old Kane just as his natural father, Drayton Hunt, returns to town after being released from jail. Unable to find a full-time job as a reporter, Cappy writes human interest pieces based on stories in Old Kane as a freelancer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Continuing to provide their share of human interest are Cappy’s grandfather Worthy and his best friend Bum, while Bum’s daughter Oleeta supplies the romantic interest. Although Worthy and Bum are the lovable comic relief, Rolens has matured her characters in this sequel, as Drayton’s attempts at rehabilitation and a reconciliation with Cappy make him more sympathetic and fleshed out than he had been in Worthy’s Town.

Once again, Rolens skillfully evokes small-town life in an earlier era. There is an undercurrent of melancholy in Old Kane as Worthy and his contemporaries grow older and there are fewer job opportunities in town, but it is still a place to be viewed with affection. Reading the first book isn’t necessary to enjoy the sequel on its own merits, but having enjoyed the former, I looked forward to this installment. I hope Rolens revisits these characters a third time.