Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Second Half by Lauraine Snelling

Bestselling author Lauraine Snelling shares a heartfelt story of a couple who put their plans for a peaceful retirement on hold to assume guardianship of their young grandchildren.

Mona and Ken Sorenson are approaching the best years of their lives. Mona's greatest concern is that Ken will learn of the surprise party she's planning for his retirement from his job as Dean of Students at Stone University. They've already been making plans to travel, spend limitless hours in the garden, and Ken is looking forward to working on his woodworking and fishing with his grandchildren. It's what they deserve after years of careful planning. 

But things begin to unravel when Ken learns that office politics are about to destroy his department. Can he really just leave, abandoning the work he spent a lifetime achieving? Mona is eager to build her event planning business with Ken's help, but rather than supporting her, he expresses concern that the stress of the work will send her back into the depression she struggles with. Then, just days before Ken's last official day of work, their son, a Special Forces officer in the Army, learns he's being immediately deployed on a six-month mission in Pakistan. Since his wife left him, the only people he trusts to care for his two young children are his parents. In an instant, everything Ken and Mona spent their lives planning changes, and they will need to find strength, both physical and mental, to become parents once more. This is not the second half they wanted, and when their son fails to contact them as planned, they struggle to trust that it is God's plan, not theirs, that matters most.

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.

About the author:

Lauraine Snelling is the award-winning author of over seventy books, with sales of more than 2 million copies.

She also writes for a wide range of magazines, and helps others reach their writing dreams by teaching at writers’ conferences across the country.

Lauraine and her husband, Wayne, have two grown sons, and live in the Tehachapi Mountains with a watchdog Basset named Winston.

They love to travel, most especially in their forty-foot motor coach, which they affectionately deem “a work in progress”.

The Second Half is available from Faith Words, a division of Hachette Book Group.

Thanks to Faith Words for the review copy.