My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It's been twelve years since Jennie has seen her two daughters, walking out on them and her husband in a drunken fit of rage. Now after all this time she wants them back in her life, she wants to know them and them her.
Jennie at the time of her marriage was unstable, drinking and sleeping around. Being neglectful of her children, caring only about herself. After befriending a preacher who frequented the bar/restaurant in which she was working started to take a long on hard look at herself and began to make the change to her life. Sobering up, going back to school and getting her masters. Attending church, giving up on men and seeking help for her issues.
So many years have gone by will her daughters even want to see her? How will they react?
Those Children Are Ours is a very touchy book, with many triggers that could upset its reader. We have a main character that you feel for, yet you can hate at the same time. BUT she is also a good example showing that people can change. That they can overcome their low points and pull themselves out of the dark.
With this book we have a well rounded group of characters, some who you will hate no matter what, Jennie's father is one of those for me. There was nothing about the man that makes me feel that he can redeem himself ever.
When I first started reading I thought that this was going to be basically a family drama type of book, I never expected the events that actually started to take place.
Those Children Are Ours is well written and attention holding. Pulling on my heartstrings, and bringing out my mama bear instincts at times. I found myself wanting to know more about the lives of these characters once the book had ended. To me that is always a really good sign that I enjoyed the story, when the cast matters so much that I want more.
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Jennie Bateman screamed at her daughters, cursed at her husband, packed a bag, and walked away. Twelve years later, she petitions the family court for visitation with her daughters, Alexis and Christa.
Her attorney tells Jennie that, ordinarily, she could not imagine that some type of visitation would not be granted. But, she warns, the situation is hardly ordinary. True, Jennie suffered from a bipolar disorder when she began to drink heavily, abandoned her family, and moved in with another man. True, she has turned her life around: leaving her boyfriend, returning to school, entering therapy, taking medication, finding a job, and joining a church.
But she pressed no claim for her children when her husband divorced her, and she has made no attempt to contact them in any way since then. Her daughters, now sixteen and fourteen, live four hundred miles away. They have busy lives that do not include her, lives that will be totally disrupted by the visitation that she requests. Their father is engaged to be married to a woman who has taken the role of their mother for a decade. Alexis remembers nothing good about Jennie. Christa recalls nothing at all.
Conflict ensues as soon as Jennie’s petition is served: her former husband does not want to share his children with the woman who deserted him; her children have no interest in knowing the mother who abandoned them, and her father insists that she is being timid and ought to demand full custody, not simply visitation.
As court convenes, Jennie’s past is dredged up− the desertion, the men, her drinking, her mental health − and paraded before the judge. Her claim to be a different person, now, is attacked. The judge hesitates to grant Jennie’s request, but reluctantly agrees to order three trial visits.
If persuading the judge to let her see her children was difficult, convincing them to allow her to be a part of their lives seems to be almost impossible. What happens as she finally begins to connect with her daughters places them all in grave danger and threatens her life, itself.
About the author
David Burnett lives in Columbia South Carolina, with his wife and their blue-eyed cat, Bonnie. The Reunion, his first novel, is set in nearby Charleston.
David enjoys traveling, photography, baking bread, and the Carolina beaches. He has photographed subjects as varied as prehistoric ruins on the islands of Scotland, star trails, sea gulls, a Native American powwow, and his grandson, Jack. David and his wife have traveled widely in the United States and the United Kingdom. During one trip to Scotland, they visited Crathes Castle, the ancestral home of the Burnett family near Aberdeen. In The Reunion, Michael's journey through England and Scotland allows him to sketch many places they have visited.
David has graduate degrees in psychology and education and previously was Director of Research for the South Carolina Department of Education. He and his wife have two daughters.
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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.
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