Wayfair Lane by Randi Zeff is an interesting story of three dysfunctional to semi-dysfunctional families. Greg Hosmer used to be the husband of Elizabeth Hosmer. Now divorced, why did he buy a house very near the house he had once lived in with Elizabeth? True, it still took binoculars to see her daily activities clearly, binoculars he had to hide along with the log books in which he recorded her daily activities. Was he a stalker? Elizabeth thought so but for years Greg claimed he only wanted to remain close to his daughter, Kaylee. But she had moved out years ago and was now married and pregnant. Greg kept observing and kept recording.
The former Kaylee Hosmer is now married to Ben Peyton, a fellow elementary school teacher. Once the teenage years kicked in, Kaylee had a distant relationship with her mother and made all attempts to avoid communication. When calls from Mom came, Kaylee was always just about to do something else. Had to run. While Kaylee and Ben have a stable relationship, things are strained as Kaylee must process grief over her mother’s sudden, recent death on the same day she found she was pregnant.
Greg’s stalker activities as far as Elizabeth goes were secret from his later wife, Carmella and their son Keith. A few years after being kicked out by Elizabeth followed by a divorce, Greg had met Carmella at daughter Kaylee’s kindergarten. She moved in with Greg as a girlfriend and retained this status for several months before the two got married. Their son, Keith, had a close relationship with Kaylee. She liked the idea of having a younger brother and Keith was only a manageable child when Kaylee visited. When Kaylee moved away and got married, Keith acted out typical actions of a misunderstood and sulking teenager. Greg, Keith, and even Carmella welcomed Kaylee’s return visit to Clarksburg, West Virginia.
This was not a happy visit and return home. Kaylee was back to arrange the funeral of her mother, Elizabeth, and to arrange the disposition of her property. She enjoyed seeing Keith and her dad, Greg. She had always had a close relationship with her father and could not understand why her mother and father divorced. Elizabeth never offered an explanation to her daughter, there were only hints of darkness and secrets. Kaylee would have been surprised if she had known Greg was watching her mother as she collapsed and died. A long time passed before she was aware of this.
This novel centers on the angst of Kaylee. She regretted her conscious avoidance of her mother. Kaylee knew she was a terrible daughter and worried she would continue the cycle by being a terrible mother. As she is clearing out her mother’s possessions and arranging for the sale of her childhood home, Kaylee finds a set of diaries written by her mother and addressed to Kaylee. They began from the day of Kaylee’s birth and ended with Elizabeth’s death. Maybe reading the diaries would bring Kaylee peace and explain what had happened between Elizabeth and Greg.
There was an additional factor of the police homicide investigation about who killed Elizabeth.
This story has a lot of action elements and should be a four-star Amazon read. I grudgingly gave it three stars for the many reader “stumbles.” I used blue to highlight these obstacles and counted nineteen. There are confusing pronoun referents (p. 83) confusing word forms that make no sense (p. 33) misspellings (p. 37), and missing objects (p. 50). I am not a critical grammarian looking to find mistakes. I read too fast for that. But when I can’t make sense of something, when I stumble, I go back to solve the comprehension mystery. Doing so nineteen times was too much for me. The novel sells for USD 0.99 on Amazon and is available for a free read through Kindle Unlimited. I should have read it on KU; it is too much of a hassle to get my USD 0.99 back.