Second Chance Reunion
By Merrillee Whren
Village of Hope #1
Love Inspired, 2015
Annie Payton's lost everything she once held dear. The Village of Hope is her last chance to rebuild the life she's frittered away so needlessly. But as she works to regain custody of her children, she never imagines an unlikely advocate in her corner, ex-husband Ian Montgomery.
Ian's always willing to help those down on their luck, but his ex-wife's a different story. Her past betrayal is still a painful memory. As the Village's lawyer, he'll represent her, but that's as far as he'll allow his feelings to go.
Can Annie show Ian that she's changed in every way but one, the love she still has for him?
Love Inspired romances are sweet, upbeat reads, often just what I'm looking for in the midst of busy times. And although Second Chance Reunion is sweet and inspiring, Merrillee involves her characters in some pretty serious situations. I enjoyed the depth of storyline and Merrillee's writing.
In years past, both Annie and Ian's behavior had been destructive to themselves and their marriage. "As a preacher's kid, he should've been someone who led her away from the devastating behavior, but instead, he had joined her - both of them trying to escape the unhappiness with their family situations." Now they are on a journey - Annie to restore her family, and Ian to learn how to forgive.
Life is messy, the effects of sin are devastating, and it's only through the grace of God that forgiveness and second chances come. But Merrillee did a great job in showing how difficult forgiveness can be on a human level, for I could identify with Annie's frustration over the wall of unforgiveness she encountered with Ian and her parents, and his own struggle to forgive personal hurts.
The Village of Hope is an incredible facility and ministry that encompasses every age and need of life - from children to senior adults. Although fictional, it really resonated with me because of a similar ministry in the Atlanta area in which I have been involved over the years. The young and the elderly have so much to offer each other, and that was one of my favorite parts of the story. I'm very glad The Village of Hope will appear in more books.
Second Chance Reunion helps visualize the words of James 1:27, which Merrillee quotes at the end: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." I loved how this story reminds us that God is in the business of forgiveness and redemption - and while sin's effects still have to be dealt with, God brings good back into our lives. I'd like to end with Merrillee's thoughts about Second Chance Reunion:
"This story of two flawed people reminds us that God makes everything new when we accept His grace. We can also know that God uses imperfect people to accomplish His tasks here on earth."
This is a book that fans of sweet inspirational romance will enjoy, especially anyone dealing with bad decisions in their life. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to review Second Chance Reunion, Merrillee.
Merrillee Whren is the winner of the 2003 Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Unpublished Manuscript given by Romance Writers of America. She has also won the 2006 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Love Inspired of 2006 and the Georgia Romance Writers’ Maggie Award for Excellence for her novel, An Unexpected Blessing.
Merrillee’s writing journey has had as many stops along the way as her life’s journey. She wrote her first novel while she was in high school and shared it with her friends. However, many years passed before she considered writing anything for publication. Finally in 2004, after writing and revising eight manuscripts, she made her first sale. The Heart's Homecoming was an August 2005 release.
Because she loves stories with happy endings, she is thrilled to be writing inspirational romance for Harlequin Love Inspired where the stories have emotional and spiritual happy endings.
She is married to her own personal hero, her husband of thirty-plus years, and has two grown daughters. She has lived in South Dakota, Montana, Spokane, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Chicago and Amelia Island, but now makes her home in the Arizona desert. When she’s not writing or working for her husband’s recruiting firm, she spends her free time playing tennis, bridge or walking while she plots her novels.
Meet Merrillee online at merrilleewhren.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
Thank you to Merrillee Whren for providing a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.