Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Returning by Ann Tatlock

It has been a while since I enjoyed a book by Ann Tatlock. So that makes the title of her latest novel, The Returning, kind of appropriate for many reasons. This haunting and emotionally taut story reminds everyone that grace is so undeserved, and second chances always deserve a celebration.

Andrea has been waiting for her husband John to return home for five years. All that time, she has faithfully raised three children all alone and made bi-annual visits to her husband. Now he is home, and the entire family feels the impact of this broken man returning to their midst. Phoebe, the soon to be kindergartner hides from this man she is supposed to call Daddy. Rebecca is too angry with her Dad to do anything but assault him with brutal words aimed to hurt. Billy, on the brink of his eighteenth birthday, is the only one with the faith to welcome his father home and encourage everyone to give him a chance. All five of these broken hearts reside in a too small cottage by the lake, and it seems as if they all are intent upon destroying their fragile attempt at reuniting.

Ann Tatlock has always written with a poignancy that appeals to me. The Returning is no exception, and I appreciate the way she is able to make me feel the overwhelming desire of each character’s longing to return to each other – they simply don’t know how. John has an infant faith that proves itself easily overwhelmed by old desires. Rebecca is trying to place her faith in things much darker than she can even begin to grasp, only to find out that her nightmares come frighteningly close to reality when she tries to follow the crowd. And Andrea is only brave enough to take quick glimpses at the love she still holds in her heart toward her husband. Your heart simply aches with longing of your own to reach out and take the hurt away from these shattered hearts.

The Returning paints a realistic picture of the destructive forces unleashed upon families when addiction of any type is introduced into their lives. For the human heart, the price is far too much to pay. However, once God’s grace enters the scene then hope appears and things begin to change. This is a story of second chances, and I daresay we all need one from time to time. I pray we meet each one with grace.

To learn more about this award-winning author and her terrific books, please visit her website. I know you will receive a blessing! I would also like to invite you back for a personal interview with Ann on Thursday! She was a blessing to me, and I hope she will be to you as well!


Nise' said...

I have not read a book by Ann Tatlock yet. This one has my interest. I will be back for your interview.

Amy Deardon said...

Kim, what a great series of reviews you have here! Such a resource. Thank you for your work on all this.

Hope you and family are well...