The Returning by Ann Tatlock is contemporary fiction about a family of five: Andrea and John who have three children: Phoebe-5, “Rebellious” Rebekah-16 and Billy-17 with Down Syndrome. The story starts with John returning from prison after being gone five years for manslaughter. At first, he feels like a stranger in his own home and is frustrated with himself for not being able to find a decent job to support his family and accepts a busboy job from his brother-in-law. His son, Billy, is really the only one who gives him a good welcome and encourages the others to accept him too. Phoebe is afraid of her dad and Rebekah hates him. Andrea hopes they can put their family back together again and longs for his love but John holds back and falls into adultery once again. I liked how John didn’t give up on his family and worked at rebuilding his relationship with each of them.
I liked this book a lot because I found myself caring for all the characters and was glad it has a happy ending. Second chances and forgiveness is the theme of this novel. I’d say this is Christian fiction at its best! I highly recommend this one if you like stories about realistic family struggles with happy endings.