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.
I’m going to just say first off, get some tissues, because this book will take you through every single emotion you can have. It’s such a roller coaster, but in a good way! Simply amazing, I thought!
I’ve never actually known anyone who has been diagnosed with being Bi-Polar, but if I had to guess, and if he went to the doctor for it, I do know someone who MIGHT just be that way. Totally confusing, because they can be happy go luck at one moment, then the next they’re ready to tear your throat out they’re so pissed at you. Doesn’t make sense! I’ve heard that it is genetic, which worries me, because well, I got genes from the person I spoke of.
Jennie came from an abusive childhood, and her father was ever diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disease. Jennie got married and had 2 children and then one day, she just left. I just can’t even imagine leaving my kids. For that matter, I can’t imagine leaving my husband. He’s my rock. He’s so supportive. Anyways….. Years go by and Jennie decides she would like to see and get to know the daughters that she just left.
Will her daughters ever forgive her? Can her ex-husband ever forgive her? He’s engaged to be married. I kept thinking, “Would I forgive her? I’ve been in this type of situation… Would I do it again?”
You need to read this book.. The ending just might surprise you like it did me!
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.
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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.
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