I was so excited to finally start this non-fiction memoir of Erin and Ben Napier! I had just finished the mammoth fourth book in the Outlander series and was looking for something short and sweet to read, and this surpassed all my expectations of that.
Going into it, I expected the book to be mostly about their time on the HGTV hit show Hometown, but refreshingly the majority of it was about their life before Hometown. The stories were alternately told by Ben and Erin, letting the reader have a glimpse into their life and happiness and struggles in that moment. The first two chapters were about each’s own childhood. I thought it was interesting the way Ben was raised and how it had such a huge effect on who he is as an adult; the closeness of their family, watching their father make a huge career change late in life, having faith all around them from the beginning. You can really see it all in him even now. As a child, Erin was bullying and teased and left out of groups, but creatively she found solace in making her own costumes and reading to her stuffed animals friends and eventually in making art. I felt I could relate to Erin and how she felt at that time. I remember graduating high school thinking I wanted to be anywhere but my hometown of Valparaiso, Indiana. I couldn’t wait to get out and experience the world, sure I was destined for big things in a big city somewhere. But somehow, the events of both our lives led us right back to the town that made us. I also could relate to her creative side and the struggle she felt in choosing to quit her day job to pursue her passion in art. I work full-time, and though my job is extremely flexible and easy and I love the people I work with, I dream of staying at home, having quiet and productive mornings on my laptop, spending my days writing books and doing nothing else. It’s near in my future, I know it, just as Erin did.
The chapters that centered around Erin and Ben’s growing love for each other and the beginnings of their marriage was sweet and inspiring. Not too much mushiness, but just enough.
I loved the chapters about Erin going full-time with her Lucky Luxe design company, but even more so about Ben leaving youth ministry full-time to start his wood shop. There was something about his story that resonated with me and inspired me, almost like it lit a fire beneath me to get serious, get working, and do what God made me to do.
I am not sure if both of them wrote their own chapters themselves or if they had a ghostwriter to make it somewhat consistent, but both sections were beautifully written. The language was romantic but not flowery, and most importantly it was real. I could feel their emotions dripping off the pages which made me connect with them and their experiences.
Even if you have never seen the HGTV show Hometown, this is a great inspirational book filled with faith, family, and friendship. (And once you watch it you’ll probably want to binge watch the show. It’s really good!) This couple is refreshing and honest and transparent in a way that makes it impossible not to love them.