The Returning


Ann Tatlock

The Returning
Editions:Kindle: $ 5.99
ISBN: 1602857547
Pages: 368
Audiobook: $ 14.95Paperback: $ 8.99
ISBN: 0764200062
Pages: 368

Andrea knew when she married John Sheldon that her love was not returned, but they both stayed in the marriage for their own reasons. Now John is returning home from a five-year stint in prison, and while Andrea wants him home, she knows his return will upset the life she and the children have adjusted to in his absence. But she hopes his homecoming will offer them a second chance at marriage.

John is apprehensive about how he will be received, but he is returning a different man. While incarcerated, he committed his life to Christ and wants to hold fast to his newfound faith. Andrea is wary of his conversion, son Billy is delighted, and daughter Rebekah is skeptical. Six-year-old Phoebe doesn't remember her father and is withdrawn. Can John and Andrea mend the rifts that have torn their family apart?

Reviews:Richard and Liz on Amazon wrote:

For those who enjoy a light, unrealistic, everything's rosy kind of story then this book is NOT for you. This book deals with the reality of a husband, John, who has just returned home from a five year jail sentence after driving under the influence, causing an accident that killed his passenger. Not only that, before jail his wife knew he was a womanizer and a weekend alcoholic so the marriage was pretty much shot before the five year separation.

Add into that, the fact that he now has two teenage children and one six year old. Billy, 18, has Down's Syndrome and is delighted to see his dad home, welcoming him with open arms. Beka ,16, is going through a rebellious stage, experimenting with the Craft and alcohol and feels only hatred towards her father. When Phoebe first sees her dad, she runs and hides under the dock. He left when she was 1 so she doesn't remember him. Love, marital and family harmony going to all happen on the first day? NO!

Andrea, has only seen her husband twice a year since he was incarcerated, wants to be loved by him but thinks he doesn't love her so puts the queen bed in Beka's room and has twin beds put up in theirs. This makes John think that Andrea doesn't want any attention from him so when Pamela smiles at him, even though he knows it is wrong, you can guess what happens?! (Should add here, that yes it is obvious what the two of them are doing BUT you don't read about it. This book is CLEAN!)

SO is there any hope for this family? Yes! Larry, the local minister, shares with John, how he cannot do it on his own. It is all by GRACE.

This is a Christian novel but not preachy. It is more a story of each member of the family (mainly Beka, John and Andrea) coming to realize their failings and asking forgiveness. It does end kind of quick. I would liked to have read another chapter or maybe an epilogue of the family 6 months later. Otherwise a well-written, realistic, sometimes dark, read of a family that really went through some tough times but made it out the other side.

Sonya on Goodreads wrote:

Tatlock presents real life, when romance isn't there and life goes on where love is one sided. You can feel the struggle of all, yet know the answer won't be instantly found at the end of the book.

Her scenes suggesting a fall from grace are not described only implied. They allow the reader to know sin happened without delving into all the details. Thank you.

Billy, their child with Down Syndrome, becomes my hero from the beginning. He seeks to make others happy even when he can feel their sadness. He easily worms into everyones heart and brings a side to life that reminds that today is a gift.

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