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A Time to Mend    by Sally John & Gary Smalley order for
Time to Mend
by Sally John
Order:  USA  Can
Thomas Nelson, 2008 (2008)

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* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

After over thirty years of marriage, Claire Beaumont is fed up. She's tired of always coming in second (or lower) to her husband Max's job. Although they built the staffing company together from the ground up many years before, as time has passed, her role in the company has diminished and ceased to exist. One evening, after Max misses the surprise birthday party their four children throw for Claire, she has had enough. She gives Max an ultimatum - 'either the business goes or I do.' Max doesn't take Claire's threat seriously - their relationship is fine! But Claire is totally serious, and moves out that afternoon.

As time passes, both Max and Claire need to come to terms with their individual roles within their marriage if they want to make it work. Claire works on finding her own identity again, but also has to improve communication with her children and help them to understand what is happening. Is it possible to move past the hurt and problems after they have been festering for so long?

A Time to Mend is an interesting combination of Sally John's strength in plotting and characterization with Gary Smalley's relationship expertise. The book could read like an ongoing anecdote in a self-help book, but it really doesn't. The plot is well thought out, and flows very smoothly as a fictional story with lessons to offer the reader. The characters have their own unique identities, and there is room for other books in this series featuring the Beaumont's adult children and their relationships.

The spiritual content of the story does play a role in the mending of each of the torn relationships. However, the faith aspects are not so preachy that they will offend those who enjoy secular fiction. It is refreshing that the main characters are older and have a great deal of life experience. This really adds to the fabric of the tale and provides an alternative for adult readers who want to read about those in similar age and life situations. Readers who have enjoyed Karen Kingsbury's Redemption series (coincidentally, the first five books of that series were co-authored by Gary Smalley as well) will warm to A Time to Mend and the Beaumont family.

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