Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Second Half

I hope all of you are having a fantastic Saturday.  I have been taking it easy today.  I have a cold so I am a little under the weather. Do you like Christian fiction?  There are many contemporary and historical authors you can try.  Tracie Peterson, Janette Oke, James Scott Bell, Judith Miller, Diana Lesire Brandmeyer,  and Elizabeth Maddrey are just few.   

The Second Half is the latest novel by Lauraine Snelling.  Ken Sorensen is getting ready to retire as Dean of Students from Stone University.  Ken and his wife, Mona will now be to travel or do whatever they want.  Ken has plans for fishing and woodworking.  Mona owns and runs an event planning business from home.  Mona is hoping that Ken will assist her with her event planning business once he retires (Ken has no clue).  Just before his last day at work, Ken finds out that people are trying to eliminate the department he created.  Ken has helped many students and does not want to see his legacy destroyed.  Then Mona and Ken receive a call from their son, Steig.  Steig is a captain in Army’s Special Forces.  Steig has two young children and his wife has abandoned them.  He has just received his orders.  Steig needs his parents to watch Jakey (5) and Mellie (10).  Ken and Mona agree (of course), but this is not what they had planned.  They figure they can do this for six months to a year (at most).  It turns out more complicated than they thought.  Ken gets called back into the university to help his replacement, and Mona is left to watch the children.  Mona has her own business to manage and is at risk of falling back into her depression (it is a constant battle).  Jakey is not handling the changes very well (clingy which is natural).  Mona and Ken keep reminding themselves that it is only temporary, but then the unthinkable happens.  What if it is not just for six months or a year?  See what happens when the best laid plans go awry!

Have you ever heard the phrase “we plan and God laughs”?  That is the premise of The Second Half (referring to the second half of their lives when the kids are grown up and we get to retire).  Mona and Ken each have plans for their retirement.  One action changes everything.  Mona has to battle depression (it is a constant battle to keep depression at bay) and Ken a change of his plans (for taking it easy, fishing, his hobby of woodworking, travel) as well as the destruction of something (legacy) he created (and enjoyed).  The Second Half contains good writing (as usual) and has a sweet ending.  There were some slow spots (especially during the prayer sections), but the book keeps moving at a decent pace for the most part.  I thought Mona worried way too much (all her worrying made me nervous), but it is part of her character (worry, prayer, and depression).  I give The Second Half 4 out of 5 stars.  It was interesting to see how Mona and Ken handled each situation.  It teaches us that we are not in control and worrying does not help.  I liked The Second Half, but it is not my favorite book of Lauraine Snelling (just my personal feelings). My favorite contemporary book by this author is The Healing Quilt.  Ms. Snellings also writes wonderful historical Christian fiction novels.  I love her Red River series (Red River of the North, Home to Blessing, and Return to Red River).

You can follow Lauraine Snelling on Amazon and Facebook (to get updates on her latest novels, news about contests, etc.).  I received a complimentary copy of The Second Half from NetGalley in exchange for an honest evaluation of the novel.  The opinions and comments above are strictly my own.

I am off to enjoy some cold medicine and soup!  I am reading Midsummer Night's Mischief by Jennifer David Hesse (more romance than mystery).  May all of you have a superb Saturday evening.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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