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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.
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
LAURAINE SNELLING has been writing since 1980, with over 65 books published, both fiction and non-fiction, historical and contemporary, for adults and young readers. She received a Career Achievement Award for inspirational fiction from RT Book Reviews and her books consistently appear on CBA bestseller lists. A hallmark of her style is writing about real issues within a compelling story. Lauraine and her husband, Wayne, have two grown sons and live in the Tehachapi Mountains with a Bassett named Sir Winston.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
As an empty-nester this novel resonated deeply with me. As much as we hate to admit it time moves along and with it our plans for the future. So much of our early married years seem to revolve around the kids, but as they begin to leave home our plans inevitably turn towards our future as a couple. That's where Mona and Kenneth Sorenson find themselves when we meet up with them. Kenneth is on the verge of retirement and in his mind it is the perfect time to begin traveling and seeing all those places they've dreamed about. Mona on the other hand is eager to expand her business and travel with her husband in between clients. Of course even the best laid plans change in the face of Providence. In this case it came in the form of a phone call from their son. Before they know it Mona and Ken find themselves in the midst of raising children again. My favorite thing about this novel is that it explored all the elements of the situation. Ken and Mona dearly loved their grandkids but they were also disappointed that their plans needed to be laid aside. The story showed the joys of being a grandparent but also the deep sorrows of young children feeling abandoned. It is a very moving storyline and in my opinion one of Lauraine Snelling's best. I of course think this book will appeal to empty-nesters but it will also resonate with anyone that has had to lay aside their hopes and dreams to do what is right. We've all had moments of disappointment but those of us with faith have also seen how God can use those times to grow and bless us. I would encourage anyone with a book club to consider this book as a selection. The subject matter is deep and complicated and will most definitely provoke good discussions. As a bonus there are questions in the back of the book that could get you started. I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
I read a lot of Lauraine Snelling books. This is a story of today and how it is for Grandparents to disrupt there lives to take care of there grandchildren. It shows the struggles of the Grandparents and also the children. Beautiful story line and is fitting for today's era.
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.
Such a well written encouraging book!
It seems like their entire life has been for this moment, a time for a new chapter and a new beginning for Mona and Kenneth Sorenson. Now that their children are grown and have families of their own, they are ready to begin retirement and make those plans that they have put off until now. But when Steig, their oldest son receives word that he is about to be deployed overseas temporarily as a single day for some unknown mission, he can only turn to his parents to help take care of his two children. While it may have to put a temporary hold on their retirement plans, they know that they will take the two children. Where else can they go. Their mother abandoned them all, years ago and as much as they are eager to begin a new chapter in their own life, Mona and Kenneth accept the challenge they believe God has for them at this time. This will mean a whole new adjustment for all of them becoming initially full time parents again. Two children who had never stayed with their grandparents by themselves; there had always been parents along. Two full-time children, not just visiting and going home. Dear Lord, how are we ever going to do...to what, Mona wasn't sure. It will also be a huge adjustment for ten-year-old Melinda and five-year-old Jake, who would be leaving their dad behind to live with their grandparents, now full time. Not just visiting when Dad was home on fishing trips or during holidays, but until he came back. If he came back at all. So why can't they stay with their mom, Angela? They would do well to spend some time with their mom, I mean what kid wouldn't want to stay and get to know their mom again. One thing for sure, it's going to take a whole lot of adjusting on all their ends. I received The Second Half by Lauraine Snelling compliments of Faith Words, a division of Hachette Book Groups in exchange for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation aside from a free copy of the novel in exchange for my personal and honest opinion. As I am nearing the end of my own child rearing, I can sense what Mona and Kenneth would be going through. Wanting to finally have that alone time with the person you've been married to for years would be something I would be planning and anticipating only to have a monkey wrench thrown into the mix. Not knowing if this would be a temporary thing or a permanent one if Steig doesn't return from his deployment is also something you have to evaluate as well. Something to be said, for plans that work out according to God's and not ours can be found in this charming summer novel. I'd rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars.
Retirement is a stage of life most of us dream about through the years. We save up and think about doing all of our favorite things with lots of "free" time. In The Second Half by Lauraine Snelling Mona and Kenneth Sorenson are in their retirement years. . .dreaming about traveling and spending time doing all of their favorite things. Kenneth is only days away from retirement when the book begins. Meanwhile, Mona is working at and dreaming of managing her own part-time event business while traveling with Kenneth to dreamed-of places on the side. Then suddenly their life changes. Mona and Ken's son, Steig, who is in the special forces with the army receives a call for deployment. Since his wife walked out on him and his children awhile back, he asks his parents to assume guardianship while he is gone on the mission. From that point on, Mona and Ken have a new set of adventures. In The Second Half, Mona and Ken learn how to deal with the curves that life has thrown at them and embrace retirement in an entirely different way than they anticipated in more ways than one. Lauraine Snelling writes a book that I imagine many mature adults can relate to. This would be a good book to read and discuss together for a book club, church discussion group for older couples, or even as a married couple looking ahead to retirement. In the back The Second Half, there is a list of questions for a book discussion group that could offer insights to issues mature adults face as they look towards retirement. While I am not at that age yet, I could see where these issues are important to look at and think about. As a Christian, I like that the main characters, Mona and Ken, are also Christians and share how they look to God for answers in the midst of life's challenges. We can all learn from that kind of example. I also think Snelling writes about life in a realistic way that makes it easy to relate to various issues and aspects of the story no matter what your age. I received this book from Faith Words/Hachette Book Group. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.