Mona and Kenneth Sorenson are approaching the best years of their lives. Ken is days away from retiring after a successful career as the dean of students at Stone University, and Mona's biggest concern is keeping him from finding out about his surprise party. While she is building a business of her own, they're looking forward to traveling, occasional fishing trips with the grandchildren, and limitless hours in the garden. It's what they deserve after years of careful planning.
But life changes in an instant when they get the call from their son, a special forces officer in the Army, who is being deployed immediately to an unknown destination. Since his wife walked out on him and their two young children, his only option is to ask his parents to assume guardianship. Stepping back into a role they thought was behind them, Mona and Ken will need to find a way to embrace a second half that they never anticipated.
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.
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|Photo courtesy of Ginger Murray Photography|