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The Second Half: A Novel by Lauraine…
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The Second Half: A Novel

by Lauraine Snelling

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The story of what happens when grandparents become parents for a short time. Mona and Ken Sorenson entire life is turned upside down when they find themselves taking care of their grandchildren when their son is overseas one year after his wife walks out. This book was excellent in telling the story of a family coping with the kids and not knowing if their son will return. ( )
  JCGirl | Aug 20, 2016 |
Title: The Second Half
Author: Lauraine Snelling
Pages: 368
Year: 2016
Publisher: Faithwords
My rating is 4 stars.
I would have to say that this novel was somewhat hard to get through, but not because of the poor writing. I think it was the emotionally impacted story of grandparents who looked forward to retirement and other adventures whose lives were turned upside down when their son who is a single parent is deployed. On top of being deployed, some time later the parents were informed of him being listed as MIA.
The novel seemed realistic and it gripped my heart to read the rollercoaster of a ride the parents, son and his kids go through, especially after being MIA. I thought it brought home the cost most families don’t see even the impact on their day-to-day lives. Plus the tension in the novel was climbing with each trial or testing the family was going through, learning how to walk through the season of not knowing about their son.
The novel also shows pretty unashamedly how depression can turn lives upside down and inside out, how those around them may feel about having to live with someone who struggles with it and learning how to handle one day at a time sometimes a moment at a time. For awhile it seemed like a real downer of a story to read until I realized it could be many folks’ reality. I became more thankful for the families who serve and the grandparents or significant others who shoulder such burdens and wrestle with their faith like human beings do.
The ending of the novel was precious for sure; yet, there are points along the way that remind us of what a true legacy looks like and it might not be what is expected. I thought also about how the characters had to adjust their lives to care for young children and put off some of their dreams or desires to care for their grandchildren. The novel certainly gives perspective to readers who aren’t impacted by a deployed family member, depression or having retirement plans radically altered.
While it was a tough story to read, I am thankful to have read it and perhaps reminded of what really matters and what doesn’t!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” ( )
  lcjohnson1988 | Aug 1, 2016 |
The Second Half is the latest novel by Lauraine Snelling. Ken Sorensen is getting ready to retire as Dean of Students from Stone University. Ken and his wife, Mona will now be to travel or do whatever they want. Ken has plans for fishing and woodworking. Mona owns and runs an event planning business from home. Mona is hoping that Ken will assist her with her event planning business once he retires (Ken has no clue). Just before his last day at work, Ken finds out that people are trying to eliminate the department he created. Ken has helped many students and does not want to see his legacy destroyed. Then Mona and Ken receive a call from their son, Steig. Steig is a captain in Army’s Special Forces. Steig has two young children and his wife has abandoned them. He has just received his orders. Steig needs his parents to watch Jakey (5) and Mellie (10). Ken and Mona agree (of course), but this is not what they had planned. They figure they can do this for six months to a year (at most). It turns out more complicated than they thought. Ken gets called back into the university to help his replacement, and Mona is left to watch the children. Mona has her own business to manage and is at risk of falling back into her depression (it is a constant battle). Jakey is not handling the changes very well (clingy which is natural). Mona and Ken keep reminding themselves that it is only temporary, but then the unthinkable happens. What if it is not just for six months or a year? See what happens when the best laid plans go awry!

Have you ever heard the phrase “we plan and God laughs”? That is the premise of The Second Half (referring to the second half of their lives when the kids are grown up and we get to retire). Mona and Ken each have plans for their retirement. One action changes everything. Mona has to battle depression (it is a constant battle to keep depression at bay) and Ken a change of his plans (for taking it easy, fishing, his hobby of woodworking, travel) as well as the destruction of something (legacy) he created (and enjoyed). The Second Half contains good writing (as usual) and has a sweet ending. There were some slow spots (especially during the prayer sections), but the book keeps moving at a decent pace for the most part. I thought Mona worried way too much (all her worrying made me nervous), but it is part of her character (worry, prayer, and depression). I give The Second Half 4 out of 5 stars. It was interesting to see how Mona and Ken handled each situation. It teaches us that we are not in control and worrying does not help. I liked The Second Half, but it is not my favorite book of Lauraine Snelling (just my personal feelings). I will definitely be reading Lauraine Snelling’s future novels.

I received a complimentary copy of The Second Half from NetGalley in exchange for an honest evaluation of the novel. The opinions and comments above are strictly my own. ( )
  Kris_Anderson | Jul 23, 2016 |
Lauraine Snelling knows how to tell a story...she has been a long time favorite author. I look forward to every new book. In THE SECOND HALF she writes about a couple nearing retirement with plans of travel and enjoying each other to the fullest when their son is deployed and they have grandchildren to raise.

Their lives change and what they thought would be their best years is anything but. I really enjoyed this novel, it's realistic, fast paced, and captivating.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  JoyAnne | Jul 17, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 145558617X, Paperback)

Bestselling author Lauraine Snelling shares a heartfelt story of a couple who put their plans for a peaceful retirement on hold to assume guardianship of their young grandchildren.

Mona and Ken Sorenson are approaching the best years of their lives. Mona's greatest concern is that Ken will learn of the surprise party she's planning for his retirement from his job as Dean of Students at Stone University. They've already been making plans to travel, spend limitless hours in the garden, and Ken is looking forward to working on his woodworking and fishing with his grandchildren. It's what they deserve after years of careful planning.

But things begin to unravel when Ken learns that office politics are about to destroy his department. Can he really just leave, abandoning the work he spent a lifetime achieving? Mona is eager to build her event planning business with Ken's help, but rather than supporting her, he expresses concern that the stress of the work will send her back into the depression she struggles with.
Then, just days before Ken's last official day of work, their son, a Special Forces officer in the Army, learns he's being immediately deployed on a six-month mission in Pakistan. Since his wife left him, the only people he trusts to care for his two young children are his parents. In an instant, everything Ken and Mona spent their lives planning changes, and they will need to find strength, both physical and mental, to become parents once more. This is not the second half they wanted, and when their son fails to contact them as planned, they struggle to trust that it is God's plan, not theirs, that matters most.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 11 Jul 2016 02:58:07 -0400)

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