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Publisher's Summary

Part 1: Reunion or Farewell?
The story begins as Colleen and Newell Cerak first learn the doubtful, then shocking news that their daughter, buried five weeks earlier, may still be alive. It continues with Colleen's drive to the hospital with the dental records, amidst desperate calls to Newell, overseas on a mission, and finally the reunion. Forming a backdrop to the reunion are the faces of the Van Ryn family, strangers to the Ceraks, who are just coming to terms with the harsh reality that the girl whose bedside they have been posted at for five weeks is not their daughter after all - and that their own daughter, Laura, has already been buried under the name of Whitney Cerak.

Part 2: Five Weeks or a Lifetime?
Part 2 begins the night of the accident and continues up through "Laura's" arrival in the emergency room. The rest of this section centers upon the five weeks when the Ceraks believed their daughter to be dead, and the Van Ryns cared for a girl that was not their own. Woven into these chapters are the back stories of both families and their daughters, including the key questions of how each of these individuals reached a point at which they could respond to this tragedy as they did. A strong element of this story is how the families came to faith and how that faith developed to the point where they could trust God through the unthinkable. The characters all take on full dimensions in this part, and listeners will identify with and feel a strong affection for them. In this section, both families are still separated, traveling down two different arcs. These arcs come together in the night first described in chapter one. Finally, this section will explore the unfolding drama of the Van Ryn's growing doubts that the girl in the hospital is their daughter.

©2008 Susie Van Ryn; 2008 Newell Cerak; 2008 Don Van Ryn; 2008 Colleen Cerak; 2008 Whitney Cerak (P)2008 Simon and Schuster, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amanda
  • Galesburg, MI United States
  • 10-06-08

Great book!

I have listened to this book numerous times. Being from Michigan this story was in the news quite a bit. Both of these families have great amounts of strength and courage. I have and would again recommend this book to my friends.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rhonda
  • North Versailles, PA, USA
  • 04-24-09

Great

This book was very compelling. I watched the 60 minutes report on this and just had to get the book/audiobook on this story. It was very well written.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kim
  • Texarkana, TX, USA
  • 04-06-08

Mistaken Identity

this was a great book. I can't imagine this happening to anyone. my prayer are with those who still need them.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good Christian Values ...

This is an excellent audio book! What beautiful people both families are. What deep love for God that walks the walk and doesn't just talk the talk. Very moving and touching! Excellent choice!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

sad but wonderful story

unreal what happens to these families, but the strong faith they have is wonderful! i must hear story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time

This book is a testament of God's unwavering love. The Van Ryn's are absolutely beautiful people. To have their beautiful daughter (sister, niece, granddaughter, etc..) taken from then and still managing to remain COMPLETELY selfless just goes to show how God's Love can work through and within one another...even in your darkest hour..He remains forever faithful.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Very religious, not a lot of actual story.

This book is mostly a religious book. It does talk about the families, the accident and the mistake made with the identities of the girls. But mostly it's a book about Jesus and prayer. If you are not religious, you may want to skip this one.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

The facts of a tragic accident

I didn't feel like there was anything new to learn in this story about the accident. It was sad and happy and it was nice that the two families allowed God to bring them thru this trying time. But it wasn't super compelling to read because you already knew the ending.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Subachad
  • Las Vegas, NV United States
  • 02-11-15

Amazing story!

I have followed this story since the beginning and it has stuck in my mind for years. Hearing the details from so many involved was so great! I know the book was meant to tell the story of how great God was through this tragedy but I will say that it became a distracting for me due to how much they consistently spoke about God. It became a bit overwhelming and felt a bit excessive for me, who is someone that isn't hugely religious. I wanted to hear the story about two families, there tragedy, loss and the bonds that were forged over such a tragic mistake. As a reader and a non religious person I would have like about 20% less God talk. Still great story and I'm so very glad they wrote the book. I'd love to see the movie someday!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Marian
  • La Palma, CA, United States
  • 07-18-14

Worth a credit !! One of my fave !!

Love the story .. A heartwarming and touching story about family . I just find it odd that their own parents didn't recognize their own daughter ..