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.
Every now and then I would come across a book that leaves an indelible mark and I am unable to stop thinking about it for weeks. Those Children Are Ours by David Burnett is one such book.This is a beautifully written story of heartbreak, loss, pain, forgiveness and healing.Choosing to read this title was indeed one of the best decisions I have made as it relates to my choice of reading matter. I have no regrets whatsoever.This was my first time reading this author’s work and it definitely will not be my last. I was fascinated by the blurb and the cover and I was eager to see how the tale would develop. The author touched on the sensitive issues of mental illness and physical abuse. He demonstrated the devastating impact that mental illness can have on the patient and their family if not diagnosed and properly treated. If we fail to see the signs, then the impact can be devastating. The author demonstrated this when Jennie’s husband failed to recognize that her change in behaviour was due to some underlying mental issues.
Initially, I detested Jennie. For the life of me, I could not understand how a mother could abandon her children. Jennie did this and now twelve years later she wanted to reconnect with them. To me she came off as being selfish, however, as the story progressed, I found myself wishing that she would get that second chance she so desired. It was evident that Jennie has come a long way since that fateful day, twelve years ago. She is a prime example that a person, with the proper support, can change if they desire to do so and for me persons like these deserve a second chance. She has learnt that things are not so black and white. She came to the realization that she could not pick up from where she left off. She had to fight to prove that she was worthy of this second chance. Will she win the battle and prove herself worthy or will her past prove to be her downfall?
I loved the way the characters were portrayed.They were some you like, but there were those who you disliked immensely and the more you encounter them the more you find yourself despising them.Jennie’s father was a prime example.
The story is extremely well written. From the moment I began reading I knew that I would have a hard time putting this one down.The pacing was well balanced, there was never a dull moment. There was a particular event in the book that had me on pins and needles. It was a very nerve wracking moment, but in the end it worked out the way it should for all the parties involved. I enjoyed this story and I would highly recommend that you give it a try.
5 Addictive Stars
About the author
David Burnett lives in Columbia South Carolina, with his wife and their blue-eyed cat, Bonnie. The Reunion, his first novel, is set in nearby Charleston.
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.
Nadene's addiction to reading began at an early age, when a family friend gifted her a copy of Wuthering Heights. From that moment she was never without a book.She will read anything as long the material is compelling enough to hold her attention. She gained many experiences through the pages of the books she had the opportunity to read.She created this blog to share her love of books with like minded individuals hopes that in sharing reviews of the books read visitors to the blog will discover their next addictive read. When not reading, Nadene enjoys cooking, listening to music and watching television.
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4 responses to “BOOK TOUR – Those Children Are Ours”
I remember when I had my first child. She was eating in her high chair, and the dog was running crazy, like a cat does. That was the first time I ever heard a young child, laugh so hard, her eyes watered. I was laughing just as hard. On another note, David, I hope you got through the flooding alright. I live on Johns Island, SC, and we did fine.
I really coudn't put this one down either, I just had to keep reading on to find out what would happen!
We now live on Peas Island, across Folly Road from Bowen's Island. We were concerned about high tide one day, but we were fine, too.
Thank you for reviewing Those Children Are Mine! David Burnett