Friday, August 12, 2011

Detours by Jane Vollbrecht

Publisher:             Blue Feather Books

Talk about literally “falling” in love.  That’s what happens when Gretchen VanStantvoordt, AKA Ellis, meets Mary Moss.  When they’re caught in a traffic backup, they strike up a conversation and on the way back to her truck Ellis falls and badly sprains her leg.  Like a Good Samaritan, Mary takes her to the hospital, arranges for someone to do the landscaping job Ellis was on her way to and then takes Ellis home to stay with her while her leg heals.  Ellis and Mary slip into a very comfortable domestic life except for one drawback.  Mary has a nine year old daughter Natalie.  Ellis likes Natalie, but she doesn’t want to be involved with children.  Family life for Ellis had never been fulfilling, but she begins to change her mind as she is exposed to the close relationship that Mary has with her extended family.  By the time Ellis and Mary decide to establish a permanent relationship, Ellis even agrees to have a second child join the family.  When their son is born three months prematurely, Mary and Ellis are plunged into the world of special needs children and Ellis discovers a love more profound than she thought she was capable of.

Jane Vollbrecht proves once more that she can take a regular romance and turn it into more by giving both the characters and the story depth and deeper meaning.  Detours starts out as a study in family relationships.  By contrasting Ellis’ estranged family with Mary’s very close one, the reader is led to an understanding of the impact that family dynamics can have on a person.  Families can be nurturing or, by misunderstanding one incident, can become the source of immense pain.  Ellis wrestles with this as she opens herself first to Mary and then, reluctantly, to Natalie.  Just as Ellis seems to have learned the lesson that is intended, Volbrecht twists the story another way with the birth of their son.  The reader is allowed to view the anxiety the parents struggle with as they wait to see if the child will survive and their determination to give their son the fullest life possible.  Vollbrecht dedicated the book to some personal friends and their special son, with whom she is very close, so she understands the emotions that parents in this situation feel.

In Detours Jane Vollbrecht shows how the way you have planned your life can be derailed by unexpected circumstances and relationships.  She has created a novel that is enjoyable to read and thought provoking at the same time.  This is well worth the time you’ll spend on it.

No comments:

Post a Comment