Diane Hammond’s beautifully rendered description of life in the fictional small town of Hubbard, Oregon, won her plaudits for Going to Bend, her debut novel. In Homesick Creek, Hammond returns to Hubbard and captivates us once again with a cast of characters so vivid we feel like we’ve known them all our lives.
Anita and Bunny have been friends since high school, when Anita was a beauty queen runner-up and Bunny a sweet single mother with average looks. They were both taken by surprise when the handsome, charismatic Hack Neary chose Bunny to be his wife. A natural-born salesman, Hack now works his charms at the local car dealership, and he and Bunny enjoy a very comfortable life. But after sixteen years of excusing Hack’s white lies, Bunny is more shaken than she’d like to be by his dangerous new flirtation and her rising suspicions that Hack never meant to put down roots in Hubbard.
Anita has also married, but unlike Hack and Bunny, she and her husband are barely scraping by. Bob isn’t ambitious enough to properly support his wife and daughter. He is, however, constant in his love: for Anita, still beautiful in his eyes despite the toll of age, work, and poverty; for his daughter and granddaughter, who need more than the couple can provide; and for Warren, his best friend since they were poor and unwanted children in the same trailer park.
Facing a future that seems increasingly difficult, the friends turn to one another and find reserves of love and strength that help heal the wounds they inadvertently inflict on each other. At the deepest point of her grief, Bunny realizes, “If you loved somebody once, no matter how long ago, that had to be worth something.”