Jennie Bateman screamed at her daughters, cursed at her husband, packed a bag, and walked away. Twelve years later, she petitions the family court for visitation with her daughters, Alexis and Christa.
Her attorney tells Jennie that, ordinarily, she could not imagine that some type of visitation would not be granted. But, she warns, the situation is hardly ordinary.
True, Jennie suffered from a bipolar disorder when she began to drink heavily, abandoned her family, and moved in with another man. True, she has turned her life around: leaving her boyfriend, returning to school, entering therapy, taking medication, finding a job, and joining a church.
But she pressed no claim for her children when her husband divorced her, and she has made no attempt to contact them in any way since then. Her daughters, now sixteen and fourteen, live four hundred miles away. They have busy lives that do not include her, lives that will be totally disrupted by the visitation that she requests. Their father is engaged to be married to a woman who has taken the role of their mother for a decade. Alexis remembers nothing good about Jennie. Christa recalls nothing at all.
Conflict ensues as soon as Jennie’s petition is served: her former husband does not want to share his children with the woman who deserted him; her children have no interest in knowing the mother who abandoned them, and her father insists that she is being timid and ought to demand full custody, not simply visitation.
As court convenes, Jennie’s past is dredged up− the desertion, the men, her drinking, her mental health − and paraded before the judge. Her claim to be a different person, now, is attacked. The judge hesitates to grant Jennie’s request, but reluctantly agrees to order three trial visits.
If persuading the judge to let her see her children was difficult, convincing them to allow her to be a part of their lives seems to be almost impossible. What happens as she finally begins to connect with her daughters places them all in grave danger and threatens her life, itself.
Holy emotional read! I am the type of person who’s emotions show on very clearly on my face and I know that I made a few faces. I can only imagine what someone who may have seen me reading must have thought.
As someone with a mental health disorder, I could relate to Jennie on a certain level. I would like to say that I would never, ever do what she did, but I can see how it would happen. Additionally, I have an “Askins” in my family as well. We used to have two, so I can absolutely put myself in those situations and clearly understand them.
I can also see what Jennie is today and how much work she has put into herself and into her life. As a parent though, I am not sure I would be easily convinced to provide her visitation with my children, but at the same time, being an outsider to Jennie’s story; it almost seemed unfair to me that her past be held against her so much when she has tried so hard to change things around.
Our past is our past for a reason and if you can prove that your past is no longer a part of your present, I believe you deserve a second chance.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The realism was perfect and I found myself among the characters (and wanting to be “verbal” myself with some!)
About the author
David enjoys traveling, photography, baking bread, and the Carolina beaches. He has photographed subjects as varied as prehistoric ruins on the islands of Scotland, star trails, sea gulls, a Native American powwow, and his grandson, Jack. David and his wife have traveled widely in the United States and the United Kingdom. During one trip to Scotland, they visited Crathes Castle, the ancestral home of the Burnett family near Aberdeen. In The Reunion, Michael’s journey through England and Scotland allows him to sketch many places they have visited.
David has graduate degrees in psychology and education and previously was Director of Research for the South Carolina Department of Education. He and his wife have two daughters.
Follow the Book Tour
I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.
NOW FOR THE AUTHOR’S GIVEAWAY
Win a $25 Amazon.com Giftcard or Paypal Cash
Ending on Sunday 1st November at 11.59pm EST
Enter Below and Good Luck !!