Monday, July 31, 2017

The Face of the Earth by Deborah Raney ~ Book Review

Mitch and Jill Brannon have a wonderful marriage.  Both have careers they love, Mitch is a principal at a school and Jill is a grade 3 teacher at another school.  Their kids are both grown, their son in university and their daughter soon to join him there.  Jill is struggling a bit with the thought of their daughter leaving at the end of summer for school, so Mitch encourages her to attend a teacher conference with her colleagues so she can unwind and get her mind off it.  Now conference is over and Mitch is excited to see her and hear all about it.  Just having heard that she is on her way home, he's planning a quiet steak dinner at home with her.

But Jill doesn't come home.  Hours tick away and still no Jill and no calls from her Mitch is beside himself.   Jill's best friend, and the Brannon's next door neighbor immediately comes over to be with Mitch as he calls police.  Days later police still have not a clue what has happened to her.  As the days turn into weeks and then months, Mitch is frustrated with what he feels is not enough proactive action on the part of the police and he starts to take matters into his own hands.  Bringing Shelley along to help in the search they spend days and miles together looking for Jills's car in ditches and trying to unearth even the smallest of clues that would help to find her.   With the common goal of Jill's well being and finding her driving them, Mitch and Shelley's friendship deepens to the point where Shelley's deep buried attraction to Mitch is starting to surface and becoming harder and harder to hide.

I  enjoyed the concept of the story.  It explored life going on after tragedy that has not had closure and when, if any,  time should be the right time to move on.  It delved into marriage vows, and explored the depth of them as Mitch's loyalty to the vows he made Jill where thrown into confusion and temptation when it was becoming more and more apparent that Jill had literally disappeared off the face of the earth. With the police believing she disappeared of her own accord, how long could and should he hold onto his vows to her?  I appreciated the author's portrayal of a character who took his vows seriously and treated them as sacred and important while still being very human.  Mitch's character was so well written and you could feel his struggle and confusion as he was torn between putting all his focus into finding any clues to Jill's whereabouts and facing maybe having to finally just give up and move on with life for the sake of family.  The characters of Mitch and Shelley had much to struggle with as the search for Jill kept coming up empty and Shelley was finding it harder and harder to squash her feelings for Mitch.  At times I really, really disliked her character as she seemed very self serving at points in the story and was very quick in justifying her words and actions in pushing Mitch to move on way too early, in my humble opinion, and  giving him the space and time he needed to grieve in his own way and time.  I liked how the author portrayed real people struggling with real temptations and justifications in hard situations, how she portrayed how selfish motivations can cause us to, while sounding like a good thing,  do wrong things and justify them,  but I also love how she portrays that good marriages and holding onto to vows don't always come easily and must be fought for.   A good read that makes one think what "till death do us part" really means. 

I gave it an 8.5/10









3 comments:

Deb said...

Oh this does sound like an interesting book! Thanks for the review. I will look for this one. I think we like a lot of the same kinds of novels. :-)

nikkipolani said...

An unusual premise, Susanne. It's hard to root for a character when her actions/motives irritate you!

Barbara H. said...

I've enjoyed a lot of her books. This sounds like a good one.