Chris Kriegstein is a man on the move, with a global career that catapults his family across North America, Europe, and Asia. For his wife, Elise, the hardship of chronic relocation is soothed by the allure of reinvention. Over the years, Elise shape-shifts: once a secretive Southern Baptist, she finds herself becoming a seasoned expat in Shanghai, an unapologetic adulterer in Thailand, and, finally, a renowned interior decorator in Madison.
But it's the Kriegstein daughters, Leah and Sophie, who face the most tumult. Fiercely protective of each other--but also fiercely competitive--the two sisters long for stability in an ever-changing environment. With each new move, the girls find they can count on only one thing: the consoling, confounding presence of each other.
When the family suffers an unimaginable loss, they can't help but wonder: Was it meant to be, or did one decision change their lives forever? And what does it mean when home is everywhere and nowhere at the same time? With humor and heart, Brittani Sonnenberg chases this wildly loveable family through the excitement and anguish of their adventures around the world.
"Sonnenberg writes about expatriate life with an easy authority. . . . [She] is most interesting when she allows herself flights into the otherworldly. A house that longs for the family who once occupied it narrates the opening section. Sonnenberg introduces these stylistic conceits slyly. . . . In the elegiac final third of Home Leave , daughter Leah emerges as the book's emotional core. . . . This sets up an interesting contrast between the psychologies of mom and daughter: one never wanting to be fully known, the other never expecting to be found familiar. It's a dynamic that whets the appetite for what's to come in American expat literature."- Megan Hustad, The New York Times Book Review ("Editor's Choice")