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Publisher's Summary

Jonathan Beecher, a middle-aged widower and small-town store owner, has never asked for much. But lately, all too much is being asked of him. The bombing of Pearl Harbor plunges America into World War II and deeply fractures Jonathan's own family. His eldest son, a civilian contractor, is trapped on a Japanese-occupied island in the Pacific. Jonathan's feckless younger son ignores his father's pleas to stay home and joins the army. And his bright, devoted daughter, who Jonathan hoped would go to college, elopes with a brutally abusive man instead.

Jonathan has always met adversity with quiet faith, but as his emotional and financial losses accumulate, so do his doubts. In the midst of his pain, Sarah, a widow herself, emerges as a kind, compelling friend. Powerfully drawn to Sarah, Jonathan struggles to remain true to his late wife.

James D. Shipman's tender, wise novel examines the paradox of human suffering: how irrevocable loss, if we are willing to let it, begets spiritual gain.

©2016 James D. Shipman. (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

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Average Customer Ratings

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

WWII Homefront Struggles

I'm of two minds about this book. On one hand I think the author captured the rigid, dire and harsh realities of loss, war and grief. This story had all of the elements needed to portray WWII homefront life with historic accuracy. The blend of religiosity, domestic violence, and the paternalistic approach was probably how many people actually lived at the time. Grim but true.

On the other hand, the characters seemed so one dimensional and undeveloped. I never felt that I understood what motivated the actions and behaviors of these unlikable and almost card board cutout beings. There were places in the book where I really hated the story. I dreaded the predictable interaction between several of the family members.

To make this book work the author needed to find a way to breathe life into the characters. Instead it became just like the joke about the people we all know who love to regale you with what I call the litany of disaster. You know the stuff--and then his right leg fell off, and then the dog died and then the house burned down--and then...and so on.

In the end, while this was probably an accurate portrayal of life during WWII for some people, I had trouble feeling empathy and connection with the characters and the story.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Don’t waste your time

I thought this was a terrible book. I am a spiritual person, but this really leaned too hard on the God issue. It jumped back and forth from the fathers life and his issues, to his children’s lives. There was no real gripping substance with the story. Not even the narrator could pull me in. Depressing. blehhhhh

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Adequate to tell story

This book told a story, but there was no real artistry to it. The characters were one dimensional and fell flat. If it weren't for my weird desire to know how it ends (with all books in general, not just this one) I wouldn't have finished the book. It isn't often I feel that way.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joseph
  • Somerset, Kentucky, United States
  • 11-15-16

Just a Good Story of the Pain of Real Life

Any additional comments?

The book is a good story, well told, and superbly read of the pain and ordeals of real life in a small town. A bit overdramatic at times, but that was ok. I think most people will really enjoy. I am glad I tried something a bit different.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

It got me!!

I really liked the narrator and the story definitely grabbed me, I could not stop listening to it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Lovely historical fiction

Great historical fiction. The epilogue fives great context. Fitting narration that captivates the voice of the characters. Overall a very pleasant experience.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • LNash
  • Birmingham, AL, USA
  • 03-16-18

It is well

I gave this book 3 stars. It was interesting at first but it started to drag. Luke was very careless in some of his decision’s. But he turned out to be very brave. Matt was a very smart and caring man. I didn’t know about Wake Island but my husband being a Marine told me about it. War is bad but sometimes needed. Mary was a good young lady and came out with good furture. Jonathan was a wossie he couldn’t make a decision on his own and budget his money. He appeared to be only thinking of himself. I really didn’t enjoy listening to it but will try another one of the author ‘s books

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

History and love

Really enjoyed reading this book. It also has a historical summary at the conclusion which validates the historical perspective. Love for family, integrity, faithfulness, redemption, forgiveness and change.



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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Story of the Beecher Family

World War II changed the lives of the Beecher family and all the people that lived in the town by the Snohomish river in Oregon. The characters are real and the life struggles realists and heart warming.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

It is Well

Wonderful tale of a family in WW 2. Very sad and yet uplifting story of faith, family and community and in Luke's story growing into honor and manhood.