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The Face of the Earth By: Deborah Raney

Saturday, June 15, 2013

What if she never came home . . . ?

When Mitchell Brannon’s beloved wife sets off for home after a conference, he has no idea that his life is about to change forever. Mitch returns from work early that evening, surprised that Jill’s car isn’t in the garage. But her voice on the answering machine makes him smile. “Hey, babe, I’m just now checking out of the hotel, but I’ll stop and pick up something for dinner. Love you.” Hours later, Jill still hasn’t returned, and Mitch’s irritation turns to dread.

When the police come up empty, Mitch enlists the help of their next-door neighbor, Jill’s best friend, Shelley, to help search. As hours turn into days and days into weeks, Mitch and Shelley’s friendship grows ever closer—and decidedly more complicated. Every lead seems to be a dead end, and Mitch wonders how he can honor the vows he made to a woman who has seemingly disappeared from the face of the earth.

Goodreads Summary

In the Q&A at the end of the book, Raney mentions that she considered many versions of endings for this story…thank goodness, she picked the only one that wouldn’t make us all send her nasty mail.  By the end of the story, I had so much respect for Mitch, Shelly, and Jill.  Any other ending and any other relationship between Mitch and Shelly throughout the ordeal would have been upsetting.  This is a mystery; this is an examination of relationships: between husband and wife, between friends, between parents and children.  Raney holds her characters to high standards – and they generally meet and exceed those moral standards.  The story is also sad and tense which made it hard to stop reading, but a relief to finally finish.  This is not a story where I wound up wishing it would go on.  With teary eyes, I finished reading and positively knew that the characters’ lives could be happy and fulfilling.
The story celebrates the friendships of women.  I’ve rediscovered a character flaw in myself by reading this novel.  I am the jealous type; I had a hard time warming up to Shelly and to Mitch…when the subject was their growing attraction.  I wanted to jump in and bring up Jill’s name – Shelly and Mitch didn’t disappoint me though.  They were loyal to Jill and to ties of marriage and friendship.   
As Raney writes, “this life, in all its beauty and pain, was over in a flash, whether you lived to be forty-four or ninety-four.”  Mitch and Shelly exhibit self-control, honesty, loyalty, and self-sacrifice throughout the story.  The author mentions that self-sacrifice is the foundation of marriage, family, our country, and our faiths.  It’s something that’s hard to do…but wonderful personal ideal to build upon.

Four Stars
*Reviewed by Colleen*

Find this book:
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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.


  1. Bilqis A said...:

    Ah... another book I want to read. Thanks to you, now I have so many books to read. Love your blog ;)

  1. miss fifi said...:

    wow, I love your detailed review, a lot. The story did intrigue me but I guess it is too sad and mysterious for me to deal with :3

  1. It makes you wonder what happen to his wife kind of almost a spokey side of it. Thanks for the summary and rating I shall check this book out! <3

  1. Sarah P said...:

    This seems super interesting..I wonder if we ever find out what happens to Jill by the end :O

  1. Susan T. said...:

    I'm glad to hear that Shelly and Mitch don't betray Jill. I wouldn't be able to read it if they did!

  1. Berenice said...:

    Fantastic review. This one sounds great. I love the mystery of it and I love that this one had a happy ending. I think I will definitely have to check this one out. Thank you! =)