Sunday, July 14, 2013

*The Return of Cassandra Todd*

I really liked this story. I really did. 
How many stories have you heard about men and women reuniting long after high school?  
So have I. 
But have you ever heard a story about a still-lovely former cheerleader who is on the run from a marriage that is riddled with all kinds of abuse who is Providentially reunited with that sort-of-shy kid she had never really noticed?
 That sort-of-quiet kid who is all grown up and is now her best human hope for her and her son's rescue from the darkness of domestic abuse? 

Well, if you didn't expect to hear that story, Cassandra Todd never expected to live it. 
She never expected that her "Most Likely to Succeed" husband would turn out to be a man of violent rage. 
She never expected that violence to turn on her, but it did. Over and over. 
And she hated the idea of him turning on her toddler son Justin... it was fear of that anger being unleashed on the child's tender heart and body that drove her to pack up her shreds of hope and leave him. 
So Cassandra and Justin run, with a plan... and a bargaining chip. 
And they run straight into the life of Turner Caldwell. 

And Turner Caldwell is very shocked. 
Ok, so he recognized her the moment he saw her stepping out of the taxi and going into the bank. 
And after seeing her, he was so bemused and bogged down by bad high school memories that he could hardly pay attention to his college classes that afternoon! 
And when he got back to the motel, and he was told he needed to go repair a safety chain on the door of a room, he never expected to find her behind the door. 
Behind the door, obviously nervous and afraid of something, and not remembering who he was, though maybe the latter is a good thing. 
 If remembering him means associating him with his unwanted high school nickname "Pancake Turner," then he'd rather keep his identity a secret! 

This book really made me think, as I followed Cassandra, Justin and Turner on their wild adventure, "What if the characteristics that you didn't appreciate years before suddenly proved to be what made somebody so very special?" How many great qualities may I be missing all around me in the people I know and love? Qualities that I shouldn't wait to find...I should look for them and appreciate them now! How many "Turners" am I calling "Pancake" when I should be noticing how much they care, etc? 

With this unique storyline, a wry sense of humor, some really good descriptive writing, a great supporting cast, and an important theme, The Return of Cassandra Todd is a book to put on your reading list! 

 Mr. Nelson says "I was honored to have Lena Nelson Dooley write an endorsement. She said: “I loved Darrel Nelson’s debut novel, but The Return of Cassandra Todd is even better. The multilayered characters, complex relationships, and strong suspense thread kept my attention until the very last page. This one is a keeper.”

Ace Collins was kind enough to write: “This tale of suspense builds page by page as a wife and little boy must depend upon the wits and courage of the ultimate underdog to escape the wrath of a man consumed by hate born of ego and desperation. This is a book that is impossible to put down and a story that lingers long after the final page has been read.”

And Eva Marie Everson wrote: “I became riveted by the story line, the characters’ dilemmas, and the real-life dialogue. I read every free minute I had, often so fast I could hardly keep up with myself because of the heart-stopping action and emotion. In other words: I loved it! I’m a forever fan.”

I appreciate the positive endorsements and hope readers will not only enjoy the book, but think about the issues addressed in the novel and be uplifted as well as entertained. 

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