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 can't believe he has to return home and live with his parents. Every hope and dream he ever had dissipated in a car crash that lost cost him his leg. Stuck in a wheelchair, he's forced to reexamine his relationship with God and the local carpenter, Jo Ellen Baker.
Will renovating his home open the door for a mended relationship, or are some wounds too deep to heal from?
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About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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 as pleased as hot apple pie with a successful career and girlfriend before his life-changing accident. Now he feels like he has lost everything and he is not happy about it, to say the least! With a great cast, an idyllic setting, and compelling story Returning Home definitely sparked my appetite for MORE stories from Freedom Lake! I requested the opportunity to read this book through the author. The opinions expressed are my own.
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? Sigh....it'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 Evan's story. The struggles that the characters face are so very real and their commitment to Christ (when it happens) is wonderfully heartfelt and genuine. Jo Ellen, as the heroine, took a good quarter of the book to engage me. Her world is a cocoon of hurt, misplaced pride and blame, and self-absorption. She does get past these things, though, and by the end of the book I felt like I personally supported her through her emotional and spiritual growth. Jo's compassion and her tender heart shine through, even when she's grieving and hurting. From page one, I was Team Evan. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually battered, Evan comes a long way in the first few chapters of the book to cement himself as a hero, even when he does some stupid things later on in the book. His tenacity is admirable and his willingness to admit fault and ask for forgiveness is a great character trait. The author did a good job of explaining an amputee's fears, questions, pain, and daily struggles. I also enjoyed getting to know Darryl and Chloe through this book. Perhaps book #2 will be about them? And I'm still holding my breath for Guy and Michelle! I can't wait to see what the author has in store for these friends! I received a copy of this book through Singing Librarian Books Tour. I was not required to write a favorable review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
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. 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 puts up walls to keep others away. Written with such feeling and emotion, you can’t help but wish you could reach out somehow and offer encouragement. I appreciated how Toni seamless wove a strong faith into this story and how each character found their own path to a relationship with God. Not that it was easy. This story is real, raw and full of vivacity. It doesn’t shy away from the tough subjects, but faces them head on with a measure of grace and a sprinkling of love. I sincerely enjoyed my time in Freedom Lake with Evan, Jo, and the other cast of dynamic characters. I look forward to reading more from Toni Shiloh and reading more stories from Freedom Lake! Fans of Becky Wade & Brandy Bruce will find they enjoy Toni Shiloh’s writing as well. (I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)