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Returning Home (Freedom Lake #1)

4.57  ·  Rating details ·  30 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Jo Ellen Baker is shocked to find out that the boy who teased her mercilessly throughout high school, has returned to their hometown of Freedom Lake, and he’s missing a leg. When his mother asks her to renovate their carriage house to give him a place to gain his independence back, she wants to say no. But one look at him brings a rush of forgotten feelings.

Evan Carter ca
Paperback, 294 pages
Published September 26th 2017 by Toni Shiloh
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Toni Shiloh
Jul 22, 2017 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Dear Readers,

I hope you enjoy a walk in Freedom Lake as you visit Jo and Evan in the first book of the series.

Beth Erin
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Full review on Faithfully Bookish

Grief, loss, trials... they are part of living regardless of who you are, where you are from, or what you believe. At its core, this book is about life and faith and love and the TRUTH.

Jo Ellen Baker was bullied in high school, is nitpicked by her mother daily, and misses her deceased father dearly. Although Jo is blessed to have dear friends and her beloved grandma nearby to love and encourage her, she can't shake the feeling of being alone.

Evan Carter was just
Mikal Dawn
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Such a sweet story of forgiveness, working through anger, and growing in faith and trust. Toni Shiloh is a beautiful author who can have you laughing in one sentence and tearing up in the next. Well done!!
Becky Smith
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have enjoyed every novel that I have read by this author. All are well-developed with well-developed characters that are easy to love, and easy to feel like I personally know them. Like the others, this novel is filled with tidbits & jewels that are inspiring. There are the wonderfully fun phrases like: “her thoughts … they resembled a jumbled-up Rubik’s cube.” And: “Her varying emotions were worse than a Chutes and Ladders game.” And: “words seemed to dance in the air…(like the) floating ...more
Sarah Monzon
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you're in the mood for a sweet, Hallmark-type story, then this is the book for you!
`Returning Home` is a Christian romance novel by author Toni Shiloh. Toni dedicates this novel to God, the Author, and Finisher of her faith.

The prologue begins with a head-on collision. Then Chapter one is two months later. Evan is missing a leg because of the accident and is wheelchair bound. At thirty years of age, he is back living with and depending on, his parents. The deciding factor is should he continue living with his parents or move to his own place.

I was able to sense the feelings
Andrea Boyd
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Strong characters with lots of chemistry, Returning Home is a sweet romance full of healing and forgiveness and well worth the effort.
Debb Hackett
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a tremendous book. I loved every page and am dying for 2&3 to come out. From the clearly written characters to the cleverly infused spiritual growth and the really twisty plot, oh with the beautiful love story to boot. Win win and win.
Melissa Henderson
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful story of love, trust and faith. Heartwarming and inspiring. How we deal with our circumstances in life can affect us in many ways. This story gives encouragement and hope. Another excellent story by this author.
Carole Jarvis
Reviewed at The Power of Words:

I enjoyed this story very much and am glad to have discovered the writing of Toni Shiloh. On the surface, Returning Home seems like a sweet contemporary romance, but there’s a lot of emotion, complexity, and spiritual depth to explore. Set in the picturesque lakeside community of Freedom Lake, this relationship-driven story has appealing leading characters in Jo and Evan, as well as strong secondary characters.

I loved that we’re not given “per
Julia Wilson
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Returning Home by Toni Shiloh is the most delightful Christian romance. It is the first book in the Freedom Lake series and I cannot wait for the rest.
The novel deals with loss - the loss of a planned future that creates a hardening of the heart towards God. "He and God weren't on speaking terms." A belief that God has abandoned us is a lie from the enemy. God is always with us and walks alongside us in our pain. He waits for us to return. "Until you turn back to God, you'll have no peace... bit
Lori Parrish
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thought that the author did a fabulous job of putting her characters in the right time and place.
I enjoyed this novel because it was a sweet and clean read. It also kept me burning midnight oil because I enjoyed it so much!!
I could tell that this author's heart was pouring out her love for God in her awesome writing. ( I hope there's another book after this one cause I want to see what happens to Guy) by meaning if he accepts Christ.
I accepted Christ a long time ago but sometimes I feel myself
Courtney Clark
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Returning Home is a poignant story of healing, faith, and friendship. More than just a sweet and naturally-progressing romance relationship, the intertwining relationships of the characters, including Jo, Evan, and their close friend group, are a testament to the ways you can choose to react to life changes and challenges.

There is a prominent thread of faith I loved in this story. It's fleshed out in both Evan and Jo as they deal with forgiveness and relying on God's never-changing strength in c
Caitlyn Santi
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Yet another fabulous read by Toni Shiloh! I loved both Jo and Evan and it was a such a joy to watch their relationship come about, as well as see their faith in God strengthen. Speaking of which, the faith story is always my favorite part of Toni's books and this one was no exception. The awesomeness of this story's faith thread left me in awe of Toni's amazing writing and was just exactly what my heart needed to hear right now! I loved the town of Freedom Lake and look forward to visiting again ...more
Author Toni Shiloh has written a beautiful and touching Hallmark movie style novel that readers will thoroughly enjoy. From page one, readers will fall in love with the strong spirited characters. This story is about a friendship gone wrong and wounds from the past opened fresh; but it is also about finding a way to mend an old friendship. Shiloh brings life and voice to her charming characters and delightful story. This is a sweet, fun, emotional, inspirational, and romantic novel that readers ...more
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, ownedpb
This was a book to which I could really relate. When Jo didn't see the chair, but the man in it...WOW! I was in a wheelchair for ten years...I still have to use one. When people ask me how I ended up with my husband ( who married me, disabled and all), I always tell them that he was the only guy I ever met that really saw ME! He didn't see the chair, and he has never viewed me as handicapped.

It's somewhat difficult to find books that have heroes or heroines that aren't perfect...nice looks, perf
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed Toni Shiloh's Buying Love and Finding Love, but this book tops the previous ones I've read. This contemporary inspirational romance highlights some of the issues in our current world through the lens of faith and prayer. And the romance?'s slow, tender, and oh-so sweet.

The author's writing flows well and is easy to follow. Her town of Freedom Lake is lovely and the secondary characters that inhabit that small town really bring another layer of depth to Jo Ellen and E
Becky Dempsey
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading "Returning Home" and meeting the residents of Freedom Lake. Jo and Evan were interesting characters and I liked seeing them grow closer to God and each other during the story. It was refreshingly realistic to not have everyone be perfect and able with having a hero who was disabled. I found the faith element to be obvious, but well done. The book was easy to read and well written. I did wish it didn't end quite as abruptly, but it will probably continue in the sequels. I could ...more
Oct 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shiloh tackles the tough issues of wading through anger in the wake of personal tragedy, learning to trust again after friendship is shattered, and making peace with a loving God that we don’t always understand. As Evan has to face all he’s lost from the car accident- his leg, his girlfriend, his job- and Jo grieves her father’s death, both have to wrestle with the deep-seated anger and hurt brought on by personal circumstances that forever altered their lives. However, God uses their new circum ...more
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I totally enjoyed this book! I am always looking for more stories that are the ones that make you think along with your entertainment. This one fits the bill.

As a mother of sons devoted to basketball, I kept seeing Evan as one of them, and what it would do to them if they were injured. I also found the mother/daughter relationship relatable, even though I have an amazing relationship with my mother, I was relating it to other people.

Toni Shiloh is a talented author that should be read more oft
Erin Unger
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tragedy meets hope in a small town.

When two high school enemies reunite, there are more than sparks of anger igniting. This story deals with Jo and Evan's journey of forgiveness toward each other and tragedies in their life. I loved how they each struggled to come to God, but in the end, they learned how to lean on Him through good and bad. And they learned how to forgive and love each other beyond their flaws.
Tanya M
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Returning Home is a story of love, forgiveness, and perseverance. It kind of reminds me of a Christian version of the sitcom, Friends, if you can imagine that. There's never a dull moment. I'm looking forward to reading the next installment to find out more about the residence of Freedom Lake.
Madame Vert
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful cast of believable characters surround Jo and Evan as they deal with some tough issues and find freedom. This story is engaging, beautifully written, and full of genuine wisdom about true love. Enjoy...and learn to love.
Trisha Robertson (Joy of Reading)
Right from the first few lines, there is action, and I was hooked. I couldn’t put this book down, I had to know what was going to happen next. The action and the characters are so realistic and believable. I stayed up past midnight reading this book. I found myself caring deeply about what would happen to these characters.

The tragic event resulting in Evan’s return to his parent’s home brings about a huge change in his life, one that he didn’t plan for, nor want. He is understandably angry and p
Fiction Aficionado
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well, the sparks sure do fly in this novel—once the frosty atmosphere lifts for long enough for them to light up, anyway! Jo Ellen Baker and Evan Carter seem to have enough angst in their lives without adding each other into the mix, but that’s exactly what happens when Evan has to return home and Jo is asked to do the renovations that will better accommodate his new situation. What’s more, neither of them is happy with God. Evan is angry about his accident, and Jo resents the fact that she’s lo ...more
Raelee Carpenter
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Oct 15, 2017
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Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.
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