Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Return of Cassandra Todd by Darrel Nelson


Cassandra makes the difficult and life changing decision. She and her young son, Justin, escape the abusive home in the dark of night. They ride the bus to her hometown in Colorado. She plans to quickly visit the bank, secure the money her father had left her, and be on their way. But the bank work will take two days.
She needs to hide and chooses an out of the way motel. The handyman at the hotel, Turner, had been in high school with Cassandra - and the fellow who is now her abusive husband. 
A couple of thugs, sent by her husband, have followed her and will do anything to take her back. Turner decides to help her escape the impending danger and the deadly chase begins.

There are several issues dealt with in the novel. The most prominent is spousal abuse. Also part of the back story is the issue of bullying, in this case, in high school. A part of Turner's life is having begun in an outdoor career he loved but then having to face his not being able to continue in that work.
The final issue is the emotional bond that happens when two people are brought together under dire circumstances.
Permeating these issues is Christianity. Turner has been hurt and is angry with God. Cassandra has faith that helps her persevere. It is a joy watching Turner responding to the love of God.

There is only one aspect of the novel I found less than perfect. As the plot develops, we have a repeating cycle. Cassandra, Justin, and Turner find safety. Then the thugs show up. Escape to safety. Then the thugs show up. And again. And again. I just got a bit tired of that repeating aspect of the plot. I must say, however, that the end of that cycle was pretty exciting.

All in all, this is a pretty good novel. It certainly addresses the issue of abuse. It also has plenty of action. The character development is good and Christianity is well presented. This novel might appeal to male readers as well as women. Much of the action takes place in the foothills and involves outdoor survival.

There are no discussion questions at the end of this novel. That's too bad because it would make a good choice for a reading group.

Darrel Nelson is retired after teaching for thirty seven years. He and his wife live in Alberta, Canada. This is his second novel. You can find out more about him at www.darrelnelson.com. You can see my review of his first novel, The Anniversary Waltz, here.

Realms, 296 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from a publicity group for the purpose of this review.
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