As an empty-nester this novel resonated deeply with me. As much as we hate to admit it time moves along and with it our plans for the future. So much of our early married years seem to revolve around the kids, but as they begin to leave home our plans inevitably turn towards our future as a couple. That's where Mona and Kenneth Sorenson find themselves when we meet up with them.
Kenneth is on the verge of retirement and in his mind it is the perfect time to begin traveling and seeing all those places they've dreamed about. Mona on the other hand is eager to expand her business and travel with her husband in between clients. Of course even the best laid plans change in the face of Providence. In this case it came in the form of a phone call from their son.
Before they know it Mona and Ken find themselves in the midst of raising children again. My favorite thing about this novel is that it explored all the elements of the situation. Ken and Mona dearly loved their grandkids but they were also disappointed that their plans needed to be laid aside. The story showed the joys of being a grandparent but also the deep sorrows of young children feeling abandoned. It is a very moving storyline and in my opinion one of Lauraine Snelling's best.
I of course think this book will appeal to empty-nesters but it will also resonate with anyone that has had to lay aside their hopes and dreams to do what is right. We've all had moments of disappointment but those of us with faith have also seen how God can use those times to grow and bless us.
I would encourage anyone with a book club to consider this book as a selection. The subject matter is deep and complicated and will most definitely provoke good discussions. As a bonus there are questions in the back of the book that could get you started.
I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
Lauraine Snelling has been writing books for a long time, but I think this is the first book of hers I have read. My youngest sister is a big fan of her books, but I am pretty sure this is a first for me.
I thought this sounded like a good book to read, and I was not wrong. The story is entertaining, amusing, encouraging, and heart rending. To have a retired couple suddenly taking over raising two children who miss their dad makes for a great story, and Snelling did it justice. There is something about a story with kids in that pulls at my heart, and especially if there is any kind of hardship or trouble involved...... so this book had me from the get-go. I loved all of the characters, and their escapades and adventures.
Snelling writes most, or all, about people from Norway, and this book was no different. It was interesting to catch a little of that culture while reading the book.
The theme of trusting God is the main theme of this book, and it is driven home several times as Ken and Mona struggle with raising two small children while facing the reality their son may never come back.
This was a very enjoyable read to me from the start to the great, but somewhat predictable finish (I was OK with that). And though this is fiction and not a "how-to" book, it would be a great read for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren short or long term.
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
AS ALWAYS, LAURAINE'S CHARACTERS DRAW ME IN TO BE ONE OF THEM. HER UNDERSTANDING OF HER READERS' FEELINGS AND SITUATIONS LETS ME KNOW SOMEONE COMPREHENDS MY PLACE IN LIFE. HER STORY KEEPS ME TURNING PAGES EVEN WHEN IT IS PAST MY BEDTIME.
I would have to say that this novel was somewhat hard to get through, but not because of the poor writing. I think it was the emotionally impacted story of grandparents who looked forward to retirement and other adventures whose lives were turned upside down when their son who is a single parent is deployed. On top of being deployed, some time later the parents were informed of him being listed as MIA.
The novel seemed realistic and it gripped my heart to read the rollercoaster of a ride the parents, son and his kids go through, especially after being MIA. I thought it brought home the cost most families dont see even the impact on their day-to-day lives. Plus the tension in the novel was climbing with each trial or testing the family was going through, learning how to walk through the season of not knowing about their son.
The novel also shows pretty unashamedly how depression can turn lives upside down and inside out, how those around them may feel about having to live with someone who struggles with it and learning how to handle one day at a time sometimes a moment at a time. For awhile it seemed like a real downer of a story to read until I realized it could be many folks reality. I became more thankful for the families who serve and the grandparents or significant others who shoulder such burdens and wrestle with their faith like human beings do.
The ending of the novel was precious for sure; yet, there are points along the way that remind us of what a true legacy looks like and it might not be what is expected. I thought also about how the characters had to adjust their lives to care for young children and put off some of their dreams or desires to care for their grandchildren. The novel certainly gives perspective to readers who arent impacted by a deployed family member, depression or having retirement plans radically altered.
While it was a tough story to read, I am thankful to have read it and perhaps reminded of what really matters and what doesnt!