Although Laura Nicole Diamond intended her debut novel, Shelter Us, to focus on homelessness for women and children, the story was hijacked by the main character. Sarah Shaw's own issues, including her obsession with a homeless woman, become the primary focus in this novel.
After the death of their daughter, Sarah Shaw doesn't have a lot of energy to put into her marriage. What little energy she has is put towards getting through the day with her two small sons, at times having to force herself to leave the house. When her law professor husband, Robert, is home, he too focuses on the boys. But, one day, Sarah sees a young homeless woman and her toddler, and feels compelled to help them. In fact, Sarah becomes obsessed with finding her, and then meets regularly with Josie and Tyler, lying to her husband about her day. Even as she deceives everyone, though, she wonders if she's helping them in order to make her own hurt go away.
It takes a reckless trip with Josie to bring Sarah's actions to a critical point. After she betrays her family, Sarah spirals out of control, dealing with all of her resentment toward her own father, the loss of her mother, and the loss of her daughter.
Shelter Us doesn't actually focus on the homeless issue. In fact, that issue becomes secondary to the problems in the Shaw marriage after the death of their child. And, despite sympathy for both Sarah and Josie, it's Robert who became my focus for a sympathetic character. He does his best for his sons, trying to cope with Sarah's depression, while struggling with his own problems.
My guess is that I didn't actually see Shelter Us as the author intended.
Laura Nicole Diamond's website is www.LauraNicoleDiamond.com
Shelter Us by Laura Nicole Diamond. She Writes Press. 2015. ISBN 9781631529702 (paperback), 257p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I was sent a copy of the book for journal review.