The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

THE FACE OF THE EARTH by Deborah Raney

The Face of the Earth by Deborah RaneyPublisher:  Howard Books
Release Date:  May 14, 2013
Pages:  368

About the Book:  From the award-winning author of After All, a man finds his wedding vows tested after his wife disappears.When Mitchell Brannon’s beloved wife of twenty years kisses him goodbye one morning, he has little idea that his life is about to change forever. Mitch returns from work early that evening, surprised Jill’s car isn’t in the garage. But her voice on the answering machine makes him smile. “Hey, babe, I’m just now checking out of the hotel, but I’ll stop and pick up something for dinner. Love you.” Hours later, Jill still hasn’t returned, and Mitch’s irritation turns to dread.

When the police come up empty, Mitch enlists the help of their next-door neighbor, Jill’s best friend, Shelley, to help search. As days turn into weeks and weeks into months, Mitch and Shelley’s friendship grows ever closer––and decidedly more complicated. Every lead seems to be a dead end, and Mitch wonders how he can honor the vows he made to a woman who has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth.

Wanda's Review:  Jill and Mitchell Brannon appear to be happily married, now empty nesters since their last child has just gone off to college. Jill, a 3rd grade teacher, attends an educational conference in Kansas City, but never returns home. It seems she disappears off the face of the earth with no clues to her whereabouts. There is no plausible explanation for Jill's disappearance. The family tries their best to keep up their faith, to hold and hope, and keep believing - and the story unfolds ---

Mitch, Jill's husband, is the Principal at Sylvia High School. Mitch tries hard to hold his family together through this nightmare. Jill's best friend and neighbor, Shelley, becomes very supportive of Mitch and his kids. Over the next five months Shelley and Mitch become very close as they eventually start to talk over other things - their kids and jobs - dreams and disappointments. Shelley becomes Mitch's confidante and sounding board and he begins to treasure their close friendship that is growing between them. And yet, they both start to feel they are headed towards an uncomforted zone that could complicate their lives. 

The author launches into this captivating story with sensitivity and grace - a story about tragedy, loss, faith and hope. The resolution comes about as a complete surprise after many twists and turns throughout. 

One or two negative comments - parts of the book moved too slowly making the book a bit long. I thought it was inappropriate for Mitch to allow his romantic feelings, for Shelley, to surface so soon after Jill's disappearance, although it was handled well. This was a huge part of the storyline. 

The writing is simple and flowing - a good, easy read that I do recommend. Truly a heartwarming story. My rating is 4 stars.

Deborah RaneyThe Author - Deborah Raney - DEBORAH RANEY's first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Her books have since won the RITA Award, ACFW Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, National Readers' Choice Award, Silver Angel, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. THE FACE OF THE EARTH released in May 2013 from Howard/Simon & Schuster, and SILVER BELLS released from Guideposts in October. Deb and her husband, Ken Raney, enjoy small-town life in Kansas. They are new empty nesters with four children and a growing quiver of grandchildren, all of whom live much too far away.