Monday, June 14, 2010

Gentle Romance

Reviewed by Phee Paradise

The Homecoming
By Dan Walsh

A young, beautiful woman is hired by a grieving widower as a nanny for his son. I’ve read more than one book with a similar storyline, but it’s unusual for a man to write that kind of book. I think his perspective gives the male protagonist more credence. The Homecoming is unusual in several other ways as well. It’s set during World War II and the romance develops in the background. There are several more prominent threads that weave through the plot, creating a setting for the romance that develops slowly.

Shawn Collins is a committed fighter pilot in the war, but his true concern is for his son, Patrick, who has just lost his mother in a car accident. While worrying about Patrick, Shawn is grieving for his wife. He has also recently reconciled with his father and needs to rebuild that relationship. In spite of these personal problems, the Army sends him on assignments that don’t let him see either of them often. So he hires Katherine Townsend to be Patrick’s nanny. She’s single and attractive, so he makes it clear they have to keep their relationship professional for the sake of propriety.

The bond that holds all the characters together is Patrick. He is an appealing seven year old whose love of life can’t be suppressed, even by all the trials he faces. He knows he’s loved and loves all the adults in his life unconditionally. Although Walsh never shows us his point of view, he is the central character in the story. I found this approach refreshing and engaging. I knew that all the issues in the relationships would work out because Patrick believed that God would work them out. He was able to accept even the huge losses in his life because he knew he was loved and cared for. His prayers nudged his father, his grandfather and his nanny to consider God more seriously.

The Homecoming is a gentle book, with a sweet ending. It presents serious themes like grief and loneliness quietly, yet powerfully. I don’t think you’ll spend a lot of time pondering these deep issues. Instead you’ll read the book like many people approach life, accepting the difficulties and rejoicing over the blessings.

Pros: Likeable characters who accept the life they are given with grace. Interesting historical setting with a plot that moves the characters forward without a lot of drama, but with a satisfying romance.

Cons: There isn’t a lot action or excitement in the plot.

About the book
A reluctant war hero returns home and encounters a new chance at love.

No sooner has Shawn Collins returned home from the fighting in Europe than he is called upon to serve his country in another way--as a speaker on the war bond tour. While other men might jump at the chance to travel around the country with attractive Hollywood starlets, Shawn just wants to stay home with his son Patrick and his aging father, and grieve the loss of his wife in private. When Shawn asks Katherine Townsend to be Patrick's nanny while he's on the road, he has no idea how this decision will impact his life. Could it be the key to his future happiness and the mending of his heart? Or will the war once again threaten his chances for a new start?

About the author
Dan Walsh is the author of The Unfinished Gift and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. He is a pastor and lives with his family in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.

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1 comment:

Dan Walsh said...

Phee,

Thank you for such an encouraging but also very thoughtful review. I loved the way you summarized the story. Well done (hard to do well in a few paragraphs).

Just a thought, if your readers want to get to know Patrick better, I'd say almost half the first book, The Unfinished Gift, is shown from his point of view. It's a Christmas-themed story but a lot of people have read it after reading The Homecoming, and they tell me it didn't bother them a bit (to read a Christmas book in June).

Hope you have a wonderful week.

Dan Walsh