Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Second Half by Lauraine Snelling

We see it often. Grandparents are raising children for the second time – their grandchildren. Vacation plans, long awaited hobbies, and sleeping in all bow to the new responsibility of child care.

Snelling has created a novel that gives us a good idea of what might happen when grandparents are called upon to take over the care of their grandchildren. In this case, it is a son who is in the army. His wife had walked away from the family and now he was being deployed over seas.

This novel takes a deep look at the personalities of the grandparents at this time of transition. Mona is trying to do a good job at building her event planning business. Ken is retiring from his job as the dean of students at a university. Both of them are facing difficult obstacles when their son calls with the child care request.

There is quite a bit of character study in this novel. Mona has suffered from depression before and it threatens to rear its ugly head again. Ken is seeing his legacy of student support destroyed by a faction of the university leadership. The grandchildren are in the midst of a turbulent time too. They are reeling from the abandonment of their mother and now their father is leaving.

This is definitely a character driven novel. Facing depression is a significant theme. Mona may come by depression because of chemical imbalance but Ken finds out he must fight it too. His struggle with the university gives him a new appreciation for his wife's battle with depression. That reveals another theme, the legacy one leaves upon retirement. How is one to face the possibility of the destruction of a lifetime of work? Then there are the children, facing the reality of losing another parent.

There is a great deal in this novel that is food for discussion. There is a Reading Group Guide included so this would make a good choice for a reading group, especially of the members are at or nearing retirement.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Lauraine Snelling is the award-winning author of more than 65 novels. She also writes for a wide range of magazines and teaches at writers' conferences across the country. She and her husband live in the Tehachapi Mountains. You can find out more at

FaithWords, 350 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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