Hello reader friends! Today I am so happy to share my review of Returning Home by Toni Shiloh. Every time I read another one of her books, I am left with a big smile on my face. She’s not afraid to write about big problems, struggles in the faith, and stories that will just shake you up!
About the Book
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 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?
Returning Home is so much more than a book about a character returning to his home town. It is about growing, working out the struggles in your faith, and returning home to the Lord. Okay, and there’s a little romance in there too, but it is done so softly and slowly that I felt it was really more about the characters connecting as friends. And rightly so, I might add, as their past was kind of a colorful one.
Ms. Shiloh had me hooked right from the Prologue. I imagine about fifty different ways the story was going to continue on from there, but I must say that the way she wrote it was the best. Jo Ellen and Evan certainly had some baggage with them. You have Jo Ellen, a tough cookie who is out to prove something, both to her mother, her community, and maybe even herself a little bit. Then you have Evan, a man who returned home after a tragic accident changed his life completely. Sure, there was a chip on his shoulder. I can’t say I would have reacted any different. You pair these two lovely characters together, who did NOT get along in high school so well, and it makes for an amusing read.
I love the surprises that came along the way. For example, there is a scene between Jo Ellen and her mother that really got to me, as in I may have shed a tear over it. It was so unexpected and almost like a parenthesis in the story, but it was beautiful and made me look at Jo Ellen’s mama in a whole new light. It was the little things here and there that Toni Shiloh includes in her stories that make it so real, so inviting, and leave you wanting more. I can already see what future stories there may be from some of the secondary characters, and can’t wait to return to Freedom Lake!
I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
About the Author
Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.
She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the president of the ACFW Virginia Chapter.