The first time this writing duo joined forces, they wrote Return to Harmony (which I've already enjoyed and reviewed). This book is another homecoming plot, but with different characters in a different time and place. It's the early 1900s in North Carolina.
Pregnant Martha sees her husband off to war, but upon hearing that he is missing in action, at the time of giving birth to their daughter, Martha gives the baby up for adoption. She is sure she can't cope alone.
Harry does return eventually, and although they never speak about the adoption after Martha tells him, both suffer deeply inside, the loss of that missing child.
They have a son, Joel, but he grows up in a very silent home. In his teens he meets up with a new friend, Simon from a Mennonite family. The plain, honest and loving family has a huge impact on Joel's life, and he meets the Lord and is healed of his great loneliness.
The book switches back and forth, so while we see this family's situation, we are also watching the daughter who was adopted by the well-to-do Rothmores, and named Kyle. The whole time we watch how she adores her father, and he her, and how her mother manipulates and tries to use Kyle, we keep thinking, "She's going to end up connecting back to her birth family."
It is in how all that happens that the true pleasure of reading this story comes. I don't want to spoil it for you, but I found it quite satisfying. I think you would too, so do read it.
Character development and treatment in a novel matters a great deal to me, and I must say that Oke and Bunn handle their characters very well. They are life-like, and their decision-making processes believable, and the outcome exactly, as I realize when I'm done, that I have hoped all through the reading.
I liked the way Joel was treated too. His life took a different tact, but was well rounded as well, and given value and meaning.
We can look forward to reading more books by these authors, confident that the quality will be excellent. In fact, there is a sequel to this story in Tomorrow's Dream in which Kyle and her husband suffer a great emotional loss and Kyle has the hardest time recapturing what she gained in the previous book.