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Return to Harmony

by Janette Oke, T. Davis Bunn

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635429,744 (3.38)None
Jodie and Bethan grow up in the small Southern town of Harmony and share experiences and trials as the closest of friends, until their friendship is dissolved in what seems to be an irreconcilable manner.
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As girls in the Southern town of Harmony, Jodie and Bethan form an unlikely friendship. Jodie dreams of going off to college in a big city someday while Bethan wants nothing more than to stay in her hometown and become a wife and mother. As the two best friends begin to transition from girlhood to womanhood, they run into a disagreement that forms a terrible rift in their relationship in Return to Harmony by authors Janette Oke and Davis Bunn.

I've read this historical fiction novel at least three times over the past twenty years or so, this first collaboration between two of my favorite ChristFic authors.

As I enjoyed this easily digestible novel when I was younger, I returned to it out of curiosity. But I didn't quite enjoy it this time. Some aspects of it are oversweet, including Bethan, who's too timid, gentle, and near-perfect for me to find her compelling. While the story paints her as the innocent "good guy" in her rift with Jodie, I now feel that Bethan's actions are somewhat out of pocket, and the faith conflict at the crux of it is oversimplified.

That's partly due to the rushed nature of the story as it flies through the years once the characters reach new adulthood. Several events that should be important lack sufficient development and originality, and the conclusion is mostly open-ended for Jodie, with no sequel to follow. Honestly, I think this novel bears some of the mark of this genre's earlier years, where it seemed that oftentimes, the most important thing wasn't necessarily to tell a solid story but to share a "come to Jesus" message.

Even so, the revisit here was good for me and my own development, and I'm happy to say the co-writing of these two authors gets better with later books. ( )
  NadineC.Keels | Jan 12, 2021 |
The first collaborative effort for T Davis Bunn and Janette Oke after the met several times at book fairs, the book combines their styles and effects seamlessly to produce a beautiful story of two little girls growing up in the early 1900s. The book indicates a strong spiritual life in family and community but sees the girls through struggles temporal and spiritual. A wonderful coming of age story for young Christians. ( )
  bdinsman | Sep 10, 2020 |
Return to Harmony by Janette Oke and Davis Bunn
Series: No
Format: Large Print
Stars: 2
Recommend: No
Would Reread: No

The story and charterers were ok but at time it almost felt like a Little House on the Prairie episode.

I give honest reviews and all my opinions are my own.

For more of my reviews go to Heavenly High Seas Books
https://heavenlyhighseasbooks.blogspot.com/ ( )
  PirateQueen84 | Apr 4, 2020 |
This was just a feel good story about two girls growing up in a quiet southern town of Harmony; learning to be best friends and all that entails. There will be joy mingled with hardships, sorrows and the First World War to deal with. The girls will grow up, one will go off to college and learn many lessons in life, but best friends, Jodie and Bethan will remain true friends through it all. I loved this story and it brought tears to my eyes near the end. It was an emotional well written story. One of the girls will struggle with her relationship with the Lord, but the other will pray for her and never give up on her. A story I will gladly keep on my bookshelf. ( )
  judyg54 | Jun 3, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Oke, Janetteprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bunn, T. Davismain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Jodie and Bethan grow up in the small Southern town of Harmony and share experiences and trials as the closest of friends, until their friendship is dissolved in what seems to be an irreconcilable manner.

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