#BookReview ‘Those Children Are Ours’ by David Burnett

This Book Review and Author Spotlight is part of a Blog Tour of Those Children Are Ours by David Burnett, organised by Brook Cottage Books.

Those Children are Ours Tour Banner

Blurb: Those Children Are Ours

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. Her daughters are now sixteen and fourteen. They live four hundred miles away, and they have busy lives that do not include her, lives that will be totally disrupted by the visitation that Jennie requests.

Their father is engaged to be married to a woman who has taken the role of their mother for a decade, and neither child wants anything to do with Jennie. Alexis remembers nothing good about her. 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 believes that she is being timid and ought to demand full custody, not visitation.

As court convenes, Jennie’s past is dredged up− the desertion, the men, her drinking, her mental health − and hauled before the judge. Her claim to be a different person, now, is attacked. When the judge appears to be reluctant to grant Jennie’s request, but seems to feel that she must, her husband’s attorney suggests three trial visits, hoping that they will go so badly that Jennie will come to her senses and drop her petition.

Jennie wants to be a part of her children’s lives, but can she convince them to allow her to try?

BUY LINKS
AMAZON UK
AMAZON.COM

Those Children Are Ours

My Review (4 Stars)

Those Children are Ours is the story of Jennie, a dysfunctional young woman, who made a mess of her life due to unwise choices, mental illness, and alcoholism. Twelve years after walking out on her husband and two daughters, her life is back on track. Thanks to the passing of time, religion, and her psychologist, she no longer drinks or sleeps around. Her mental condition is under control and she is working as a teacher.

However, Jennie is still immature and insecure. She is also coping with personal problems, such as a drunk ex-boyfriend and a violent and unsupportive father. Surprisingly, she decides, or rather is convinced, that she wants to see her daughters again.

It takes her time to realize she can’t take up where she left off and expect everyone to forget and forgive how she destroyed the family she once had. Her ex-husband and his daughters’ lives have moved on, they have busy and well-organized schedules, and a step-mother and step-sisters they are very fond of. Jennie discovers she is an unwelcome and unloved intruder.

Although the events narrated are heart-wrenching, and the time period covered is long, from Jennie’s College Days to her mid thirties, it’s so fast paced and well written that it’s a pleasure to turn the pages and follow the evolution of Jennie’s dramatic and traumatic life. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. I read it in two sittings. I especially enjoyed the court hearings and the realistic dialogues throughout.

It’s a disturbing, contemporary family drama, which makes the reader become involved and take sides. There are various generations and relatives involved; parents, step-parents and siblings, children, grandparents, grandchildren, uncles and aunts. It was hard for me to feel much sympathy for Jennie, especially at the beginning of the novel, but I gradually came to understand and feel compassion for her.

The author cleverly moves the narrative from, ‘Those children are mine’, a selfish cry from all of the adults involved, to a more balanced, ‘Those children are ours’, which appears on the final page. The way the characters and plot evolves to reach an unexpected, yet realistic and hopeful ending, makes the reading experience meaningful and thought-provoking.

****

I’ve asked David to tell us more about his novel and his writing process.

IMG_0519_edited-1

1- What inspired you to write Those Children Are Ours?

I generally say that I do not know the origins of my stories. I certainly cannot explain all of the twists and turns of the plots. I’ve actually posted on my blog on this very question At the conclusion of that post, I write this about the inspiration for my stories:
It is sort of like magic!

In the Second Chance Café, the author writes of a young woman who weaves beautiful scarves. They sell in upscale stores around the country and are often seen wrapped around the bodies of movie stars and celebrities. Each scarf is unique. How does she decide on the colors, the pattern, for a new scarf? She describes the process in this manner:

“I don’t know how you do that,” her father said, looking at the collection (of yarn) she held and shaking his head.

Honestly, neither did she. To this day, she could not explain how the colors came together in her mind. How one flowed into another as she sat at her loom. How the different strands of story became a whole. “I just see it. I don’t know where it comes from. Any of it. It’s just there.”
For me, that’s how it is with writing.

2- What would you say to a reader to convince him/her to read Those Children Are Ours?

As the story opens, Jennie Bateman is certainly not a very nice person.
We typically do not expect people to change. It’s a principle of perception.
If you imagine your best friend, you expect his behavior today to be the same as it was yesterday. You look for it not to be any different next week, next month, next year, or at the end of the next decade. I will tell students in my psychology classes that in a few years, they will be invited tom their high school reunions, and they will expect their former classmates to look and to behave exactly as they did on the night of graduation. And many of them will. And some of them won’t.
People can change, and Jennie Bateman is one who does. She overcomes a debilitating mental illness and she changes her life. All of my books focus in some way on the need for forgiveness. It is important to give people second chances, and third ones, too!
A second focus of the book is her illness. In the Unites States, at any rate, bipolar disorder is a frequently diagnosed condition, too frequently, some believe. Many believe that the disorder simply consists of sudden mood changes and that manic behavior seems like fun. In many cases, though, the popular view is inaccurate. Jennie’s case is one of these. Particularly in the first half of the story, the reader sees the effects of the disorder and comes appreciate just how serious it can be. Her disorder is not presented as an excuse for her behavior. It is an explanation, at least a partial one. She needs forgiveness, she wants forgiveness, and in the story, she is seeking it.

3. What are you working on now?

Currently, I am at work on two stories. One is a stand-alone sequel to Those Children Are Ours. It picks up Jennie’s life four years later, and while it has a romantic theme running through it, it deals with events that unfold when Jennie is shamed into no longer taking her medication, and the classic symptoms of bipolar disorder re-emerge.
The second is a bit different from my other books. It is a paranormal romance (if the characters are angels that makes it paranormal, doesn’t it?) that is set during the war in heaven, when Lucifer rebelled against God. It focuses on a young angel who follows Lucifer, while the one she loves stands with Saint Michael. Readers will, perhaps, recognize it as a re-telling of the parable of the prodigal son.

****

Thank you so much for visiting Rereading Jane Eyre, David. It was a pleasure to read and review your novel, and take part in Those Children Are Ours, Blog Tour. I look forward to reading about Jennie four years on!

Letter D The April A to Z Blogging Challenge #AtoZChallenge

April Author Spotlight 2015

Letter ‘D’ is for David Burnett author of To Fall In Love Again

D

Why do I recommend To Fall In Love Again?

I loved this very different love story featuring two widowed young grandparents, who are well into their fifties when they accidentally meet and fall in love. Conflict ensues as various generations have to adjust to their unexpected relationship. I appreciated the way all the characters learnt to trust each other, cope with deceit, misunderstandings, meddling gossips, and social prejudice, and I was finally relieved that they were offered yet another chance of happiness thanks to love, forgiveness, friendship and trust. If you enjoy stories with authentic characters who are offered a second chance of happiness, you will enjoy this well written, pleasant and satisfying, cosy read.

To_Fall_in_Love_Again_-_Amazon

What’s your novel about, David?

To Fall in Love Again is a story of romance, set in a beautiful city. Drew and Amy meet on a flight as they return from vacation, and they fall in love. Pretty typical, right?

Drew and Amy both are in their fifties, not their early twenties, as you might expect. Both are widowed. Both have grandchildren. Not typical at all.

Instead of coping with their parents’ reactions when they fall in love, they must cope with the feelings of their children, and children can be very protective. Instead of carting around baggage from former boyfriends or girlfriends, they have memories – some good, some very painful – of long-time spouses. Instead of looking ahead sixty years, they can look, perhaps, thirty years into the future.

The problems confronted by Drew and Amy – their families, their pasts, the future – are faced by any couple in love. Older readers will identify with them. Younger readers will view their own issues in a different light.

What are you working on now?

I’ve just completed a new novel, Those Children Are Ours.

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.

Her situation is hardly ordinary. 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. Neither child wants anything to do with her.

While my three previous novels are all romances, this story focuses on Jennie’s attempt to establish a relationship with her children. One finds very little romance in the story, certainly not for Jennie. Of course, I’ve begun a sequel…

DAVID BURNETT

What would you like readers to know about you?

My background, education, and work experience aren’t what you might expect of a novelist. I went to school pretty much forever, studying psychology, theology, and statistics.

And I write about romance! My colleagues at our state’s department of education, where I spent a decade as director of research would be shocked! They believed me to be detail-oriented, analytical, and interested only in “the facts.”

I’m proof that anyone can have a creative side.

How can we find out more or contact you?

Amazon

Amazon UK

 Createspace Store

Website

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon Author Page

 

Please take some time to check out some of the other blogs on the A-Z Challenge. There are plenty of interesting and varied topics.

 

 

Book Tour: To Fall in Love Again by David Burnett

It’s a real pleasure to take part in this Book Tour organised by Brook Cottage Books and introduce you to author David Burnett and his third novel To Fall in Love Again.

BCB-Host Button-200
My most treasured moments are the hours I’m able to spend in a comfortable chair with my Tablet and Kindle App engrossed in an absorbing story. Although I enjoy all types of novels, especially mystery, thrillers, historical, women’s and literary fiction, I have a weakness for romance and character driven novels. I’m interested in reading about people and how they feel, make decisions, cope with life’s conflicts, grow emotionally, and develop lasting relationships.

To Fall in Love Again is one such novel. It’s a novel about how people meet and fall in love, and the conflicts which inevitably arise as relationships progress. No couple is an island, and Drew and Amy have a background, a family, friends, and neighbours which influence how they relate to each other.

To Fall in Love Again Banner

Most love stories portray beautiful and forceful, young protagonists, who are usually struggling to make their way in life professionally, often with a view to eventually having children, and setting up a family. To Fall in Love Again is different. It’s about two middle-aged characters who have had a family, and lived through a first courting, marriage and children. In fact, they are two widowed young grandparents, in their fifties, who meet quite by chance and fall in love.

They have no time to lose, but they are also level-headed, mature adults, who seem to know what they want, and are in control of their lives. However their idyllic first encounters are soon disturbed by conflict deriving from the rest of the characters they are involved with, such as children, friends, and colleagues, who have very diverse backgrounds and expectations, and are often annoyingly interfering.

The novel is about how Drew and Amy meet, fall in love, and overcome the challenges their relationship faces. It’s also about relationships between various generations; adult children and their parents, as well as grandparents and grandchildren. It’s about trust, deceit, misunderstandings, meddling gossips, social prejudice, and how these aspects invade their lives and almost ruin their chance of happiness. It’s also about second chances, forgiveness, and the value of love, friendship and trust, as paths to happiness and fulfilment.

To_Fall_in_Love_Again_-_Amazon

It’s a novel which takes you up and down with the characters’ emotions, but finally, you feel optimistic and happy when you finish reading, because although it wasn’t easy, Drew and Amy made it. This isn’t a spoiler, because readers know this is a HEA, romantic novel. Readers will not be concerned with the outcome itself, but with how the expected outcome finally occurs.

I enjoyed the setting, too. I felt as if I was walking along the streets of Charleston with Drew and Amy, and learnt about some of the social and cultural aspects of this beautiful city, which I have not yet visited.

To Fall in Love Again is a love story about authentic characters who are offered a second chance of happiness. It  is very well written, and is easy, pleasant, and satisfying to read on a cosy winter evening.

I’d like to thank the author and Brook Cottage Books for giving me the chance to read and review this novel and take part in this Book Tour.

DAVID BURNETT
David Burnett lives in Columbia South Carolina, with his wife and blue-eyed cat, Bonnie. He has two daughters and three grandchildren, and enjoys traveling, photography, baking bread, and the Carolina beaches. He has a degree in psychology and education, and was formerly director of research for his state education department.

More information about the author:
http://davidburnett.yolasite.com
http://davidburnettsbooks.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Burnett-Author/447290468681693?ref=hl

Amazon US link.

Amazon UK link.