Returning, The

by Ann Tatlock

Paperback, 2009



Call number



Bethany House (2009), Edition: Original, 368 pages


Ex-convict John Sheldon returns home to his wife Andrea and their three children. While incarcerated, he committed his life to Christ and wants to hold fast to his newfound faith. Andrea is wary of his conversion, son Billy is delighted, and daughter Rebekah is skeptical. Six-year-old Phoebe doesn't remember her father and is withdrawn. Can John and Andrea mend the rifts that have torn their family apart?


Original language


Physical description

368 p.; 8.25 inches


0764200062 / 9780764200069

User reviews

LibraryThing member msimelda
This is a book I received through early review program. I had never read anything from Ann Tatlock.

It is a nice book. Soft. I imagine a lot of readers will like it although I tend to look for books with a little more edge.

What you don't learn in the intro to the book (but it is in the
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acknowlegements) is that one of the children (Billy) book has Down Syndrome. The author talks about the fact that Billy's character is based on Chris Burke's role as Corky Thacher on the old TV series Life Goes On. I like that Billy was added into the book. Anyone who is lucky enough to know someone with Down Syndrome will appreciate the warmth the character of Billy adds to the story.

As well as the difficulties of a reunion between the wife and just-released-from-prison husband; there is a troubled teen and a young daughter who doesn't remember her father.

It's a nice story, and the theme of religion is there; but not something with which we are hit on the head.
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LibraryThing member MsGemini
I was selected to read and review this book for the Early Reviewers program.

This is a fictional story about a man released from prison and his return to his family.
The theme of this story is traditional and familiar and the author offered very little surprise. I found myself wanting more. I
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especially would have liked more character development. We learned the most about the lead character John and his feeling towards his family, prison life and sobriety.
My favorite character was Billy. He is the son of John and Andrea. He is one of three children and was born with Down's Syndrome He is a definite inspiration to his father and his entire family.
I found this story line to be simple and easy to follow. While it was interesting at times it was way too predictable.
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LibraryThing member RoxieF
I received this as an ARC, so as an Atheist I was surprised to find it was Christian lit, so take my review with a grain of salt. I like the concept of the book, a man gets out of prison after 5 years and returns home to his wife and children. Of course there is an adjustment period for all of
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them. I felt the book could have been so much more than it was. I felt that it was sappy and the ending was unbelievable and trite because she was trying to play up the religous angle.
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LibraryThing member caroline123
John Sheldon has just been released from prison, having served 5 years for vehicular manslaughter. He is determined to return to his family and start fresh; he has experienced a new relationship with God while incarcerated. But all does not go as he had hoped. His wife Andrea and 3 children have
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become used to life without him, even though they live very simply.

Most of the characters have no redeeming qualities. The wife is a weak, no-backbone kind of person who doesn't seem to either know how or care to make circumstances better for her family. She sits at home passively while her husband, who tells her he is just going "out" for a walk or to an AA meeting, is having an affair with another woman, whom we later find out is his daughter's best friend's mother! The daughter, Bekah is 16 and running wild with boys drugs and alcohol. All becomes well after John breaks off the affair and realizes how much he cares for his family and his faith.

The 18 year old son, who had Down Syndrome, was one bright spot in the whole book. I was rather disappointed in this latest effort from a Christie award winning author.
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LibraryThing member Cigani
The Returning, by Ann Tatlock, was predictable at best. To say that every author writes without agenda would be a lie, however, I felt as I read the book that Tatlock was shoveling religion down my throat with a bulldozer. She utilized every stereotypical vice repeated by evangelical Christians
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everywhere (alcohol, teenage angst [witchcraft], premarital sex, extramarital affairs, prison, etc), and then created what she viewed as the opposite of evils in Billy, the son with Downs Syndrome or Phoebe, the helpless child.

I feel that this novel lacked creativity and realism. After the reader learns that the husband, John, has cheated on his wife repeatedly and then does so AGAIN...we watch his wife "forgive him" because of the "grace of God". I found myself praying for the book to end.

This is not an attack on anyone's beliefs or values, and this is not a negative reaction to what may or may not be the author's personal views. This is simply a reaction to what I felt was a mediocre book that severely lacked any depth. I would not recommend it to a fellow reader.
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LibraryThing member kibosa
I enjoyed this story about a man returning to his family after five years in prison. The family was affected by the return in different ways and the their feelings and actions were well described. The wife was meek and timid. As more history was revealed of the marriage, I could understand how she
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had become this way. And the daughter's anger seemed a little over the top in the beginning. But she grew up witnessing her father's drinking and the affects on her mother. After the accident, her life changed because of her father, so I could understand her feelings. For a Christian fiction book, it was not at all preaching to you.
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LibraryThing member freckled
This book was dismally written and I could bring myself only to read the first few chapters. If in the future I find myself book-less and decide to finish the book; and if I am proven wrong and it is amazing or even readable, I will revise my review.
LibraryThing member Sonya.Contreras
Tatlock presents real life, when romance isn't there and life goes on where love is one sided. You can feel the struggle of all, yet know the answer won't be instantly found at the end of the book.

Her scenes suggesting a fall from grace are not described only implied. They allow the reader to know
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sin happened without delving into all the details. Thank you.

Billy, their child with Down Syndrome, becomes my hero from the beginning. He seeks to make others happy even when he can feel their sadness. He easily worms into everyones heart and brings a side to life that reminds that today is a gift.
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