Cassandra Todd---the mean girl who taunted him in high school---re-enters Turner Caldwell's life unexpectedly. With her son in tow, she begs for his help in eluding her abusive husband. Entangled in the dangerous situation, Turner is forced to rely on every survival skill he learned back at a youth camp. But will it be enough? 304 pages, softcover from Realms.
Average Customer Rating:
(9 Reviews) 9
Rating Snapshot(9 reviews)
9 out of 9100%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Return of Cassandra Todd and am glad to discover the writing of Darrel Nelson. Set in modern-day Denver, this stand-alone novel addresses the issue of spousal abuse and its effects on the family. Darrel's writing is tight, with no unnecessary words, and flows easily. He also gives vivid descriptions of Denver and the beautiful mountain scenery surrounding it. While primarily a relationship drama, there are elements of suspense as Cassandra flees from her abusive husband in order to protect their son. I'm not usually a fan of suspense, but this aspect was done very well.
Darrel has a gift for creating down-to-earth characters who you feel right at home with. Turner spent four years after high school graduation working at a Christian youth camp for troubled teens, developing both outdoor and maintenance skills in the process. Forced out due to budget cuts, he becomes the handyman at Colorado's Mountain View Motel, run by the whiny but loveable Harvey and his nurturing wife, Loretta. Cassandra was a popular high school cheerleader who later married the star football player, Brad, who thrived on bullying the younger Turner.
Turner's faith is weak, while Cassandra has a strong faith which serves her well during the time of crisis she faced. Anyone who has seen God place special people in their life during much-needed times can relate to this story. Cassandra believes that Turner was the answer to her prayers, the one person who could help, and recalls the story of Esther in the Bible. "I believe you were led to us because you were the only one who had the skills to do what you did. . . . I believe you were raised up for such a time as this."
I was impressed by the insight into his characters that Darrel shows, as well as the wisdom with which he infuses them. Rather than having a chance to become reacquainted and build on their relationship, Turner and Cassandra were forced into a situation where they had to rely upon each other, and that bonded them in a special way - yet would that bond prove to be a strong foundation for love? The uplifting ending is different from what we normally see in Christian fiction, and I found it both moving and realistic.
I highly recommend The Return of Cassandra Todd to all readers and look forward to more from Darrel Nelson.
This book was provided by Booketeria in exchange for my honest review.
Turner Caldwell remembers all too well the living hell high school was for him. He also remembers one cheerleader, Cassandra, who didn't seem like the rest; sympathetic to his plight, but too afraid to reach out and help him. He thought he had put his past and bitterness behind him, but when she shows up unexpectedly with her 4-year-old son, Justin, Turner's life takes an completely unexpected turn.
When Cassandra's husband turns out to be someone from Turner's past, he is at loss for what to do with the two fugitives at his door. If he shelters them, they may very well be able to escape the men that are hunting them. If he turns them away, either mother or child might end up dead. Does he have the courage he needs to save two innocent lives from the clutches of a man who has no regard for anyone but himself?
This book literally had me sweating it out. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, all because I simply had to know what was going to happen next. It was a hostage situation in the form of a novel, and I was the victim. Nelson paints a story so harrowing you will find yourself trying to plan the next step alongside Turner. There were some excellent supporting characters in this novel, along with unforgettable lessons about life, love and faith. Don't let the cover scare you of, men - I promise this is a good one!
This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.
Turner Caldwell was the target of mean-spirited pranks and taunts in high school, but he has moved on. That is, until the popular girl whose friends bullied him, returns to Lakewood and brings back memories he thought he’d forgotten. When he realizes the trouble Cassandra Todd is in, he has to decide quickly whether he will help her and her son get away from her abusive husband.
As danger draws nearer, Turner must decide to forgive and save them all from the hands of a madman. Will forgiveness be enough? Will he save them in time? Has Cassandra really changed? Is she using him just to get away from her husband?
Page-turning excitement, difficult relationships, wonderful dialogue—all wrapped up in “The Return of Cassandra Todd” by Darrel Nelson. If you like the Christian Romantic Suspense genre, you will certainly be fascinated by Nelson’s latest work.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Charisma House, a Strang Company, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I am such a fan of Darrel Nelson and have been anticipating this novel since it was mentioned in his last awesome book, THE ANNIVERSARY WALTZ. In the middle of the night Cassandra Todd and her son left her abusive husband. Taking the bus to her hometown she planned to take care of a bank transaction and leave right away knowing this would be the first place he would look for them.
Turner Caldwell is one of Cassandra's former high school classmates and was in love with her but never told anyone. He also was bullied terribly during those years. He's shocked when he spots Cassandra going into the bank one afternoon. Eventually they are thrown together and what entails is a suspenseful tale of abuse endured by these two people.
I loved this book! Nelson has great talent and writes in such a way you feel the characters pain and anxiety. He deals with the long term effects of abuse wonderfully. I highly recommend both of Nelson's books!
I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Darrell Nelson in his new book, "The Return of Cassandra Todd" published by Realms brings us into the lives of Turner Caldwell and Cassandra Todd .
From the back cover: When the popular girl whose friends bullied him in high school suddenly reenters his life, little son in tow, Turner Caldwell must put the past behind him if they are to survive. Turner Caldwell works at a local motel as a handyman while attending college full-time. On his way to class one day, he is shocked to see Cassandra Todd and her young son in town. The sight of her brings back powerful memories of being bullied in high school--she was the popular head cheerleader and he the target of her friends' mean-spirited pranks.
When Cassandra and her son check into the motel where he works and she asks for his help in eluding her abusive husband, he finds himself entangled in a dangerous drama that will require him to forgive and draw on every skill he has if they are to survive.
In the old movie serials they would give you story, get the hero in trouble, get him out of trouble, give you more story then get him in major trouble to end the serial that week with getting him out of trouble the following week. I found those serials to be very exciting and well done. "The Return of Cassandra Todd" reads like an old serial to me and it is very well done. Cassandra escapes her abusive husband, goes back to her home town and through circumstances meets Turner. Her husband sends men to bring her and the boy back and she needs Turner's help to escape. Thus begins the thrilling, escalating adventure of them trying to escape from the clutches of her husband. Mr. Nelson in addition to giving us all this action also deals with spousal abuse and past bullying: those who bully and those who are bullied. To heal we need the help of God and Mr. Nelson shows us this in perfect fashion. And Mr. Nelson is not through yet he also gives us a romance. "The Return of Cassandra Todd" delivers suspense, thrills, romance, mystery and excitement. I liked this book very much.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Glass Road Public Relations. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Cassandra makes the difficult and life changing decision. She and her young son, Justin, escape the abusive home in the dark of night. They ride the bus to her hometown in Colorado. She plans to quickly visit the bank, secure the money her father had left her, and be on their way. But the bank work will take two days. She needs to hide and chooses an out of the way motel. The handyman at the hotel, Turner, had been in high school with Cassandra - and her abusive husband. A couple of thugs, sent by her husband, have followed her and will do anything to take her back. Turner decides to help her escape the impending danger and the deadly chase begins.
There are several issues dealt with in the novel. The most prominent is spousal abuse. Also part of the back story is the issue of bullying, in this case, in high school. A part of Turner's life is having begun in an outdoor career he loved but then having to face his not being able to continue in that work. The final issue is the emotional bond that happens when two people are brought together under dire circumstances. Permeating these issues is Christianity. Turner has been hurt and is angry with God. Cassandra has faith that helps her persevere. It is a joy watching Turner responding to the love of God.
There is only one aspect of the novel I found less than perfect. As the plot develops, we have a repeating cycle. Cassandra, Justin, and Turner find safety. Then the thugs show up. Escape to safety. Then the thugs show up. And again. And again. I just got a bit tired of that repeating aspect of the plot. I must say, however, that the end of that cycle was pretty exciting.
All in all, this is a pretty good novel. It certainly addresses the issue of abuse. It also has plenty of action. The character development is good and Christianity is well presented. This novel might appeal to male readers as well as women. Much of the action takes place in the foothills and involves outdoor survival.
There are no discussion questions at the end of this novel. That's too bad because it would make a good choice for a reading group.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from a publicity group for the purpose of this review.
I was introduced to Darrel Nelson last year through the release of his debut novel, The Anniversary Waltz. I quickly realized that Darrel had a special talent for story-telling, and have eagerly anticipated the release of his second novel. I'm happy to say that—while very different from his debut novel—The Return of Cassandra Todd was just as good, if not better!
The first few pages provided great background for what was to come, yet immediately intrigued me. Throughout the rest of the book, Nelson balanced the need for background information, plot development, and an intensity that kept me furiously turning the pages.
Turner was a great character. He's overcome a horrible high school experience only to continue facing trials within his family. When Cassandra and her son turn to him for help, he willingly assists them, but things quickly get out of control. I loved his protective nature and how he used his wilderness survival skills to get them out of one tough situation after another. It was interesting to watch the friendship between Turner and Cassandra grow and show him that God could still use him, in spite of himself.
The suspense throughout the novel surprised me—both that the book was suspenseful and the intensity of it. Several of the twists really caught me off guard, and that's pretty hard to do. :)
POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT: One final thing I feel bears mentioning is the fact that the publisher labeled Cassandra Todd as a "romance." When I realized that the heroine was married, I was a little uncomfortable with the idea of a Christian romance novel featuring a married woman. HOWEVER, after reading the entire book, I don't feel that the book was truly a "romance" novel (much more of a suspense!). The relationship between Turner and Cassandra is truly a friendship worth embracing, and I loved how the author tackled this unique situation.
Overall, The Return of Cassandra Todd is a stellar read—a perfect blend of emotion and suspense, and I cannot recommend it highly enough! [4.5 stars]
I received a free copy of this book from Charisma Media and CFBA in exchange for my fair and honest review.
This Christian Fiction story is much more than a romance; it's chock full of adventure. The character, Turner Caldwell, reminds me of a current-day Superman. As a handyman--rather than reporter, Clark Kent--Turner's super characteristics come to the forefront when needed. And they are urgently needed to protect Cassandra, a victim of spousal abuse, and her son, "little man" Jason as they flee for their lives.
I've never been overly fond of outside activities, but I was able to easily follow along with the scenes in the great outdoors. I enjoyed this thrilling adventure/romance novel, and I highly recommend it.
Thank you to Bonnie at Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Realms Publishing for my copy.
When Turner Caldwell left high school behind, he had hoped all the memories of being bullied went right along with them. Being the focus of many high school pranks, he couldn't wait to graduate and leave those times long behind him. Yet little did he know that those old memories would resurface in unexpected ways and literally right under his nose. When Cassandra Todd and her three-year-old son, Justin arrive in town, all those old feelings of his high school crush come rushing back. She was the ever popular cheer leader and it seemed like even then she didn't acknowledge him so why should today be any different.
Working as a handy man at the Mountain View Motel in Lakewood, Colorado and attending college pretty much occupied all his hours in a day. He had hoped one day to reap the benefits of working for Camp Kopawanee and helping troubled teens in a survival camp. Now supplementing his college classes in outdoor education and Psychology, he had hoped to one day make a difference unlike his former life in high school. Taking his ever present to do list from Harvey Jones, the owner of the motel, he found himself face to face with Cassandra in Room 21 to replace the door chain. What he doesn't expect to to find himself involved in helping Cassandra and Justin hide from her abusive husband, and one time high school bully, Brad Duncan.
When Cassandra leaves him in the middle of the night hoping to find a safe haven, she didn't think she'd run into Turner Caldwell, but she truly believes in the power of prayer and knows Turner is sent to her from God to help. But no matter how many times they try and avoid detection from Brad Duncan and his two thugs, they seem to be one step behind. Now that Turner's involved, Brad's out to make sure this time, Turner stays put even if it means killing him in the process. Will Turner be able to help Cassandra and Justin find peace or will Brad follow through with his threats and kill Cassandra and Turner and take back his son?
I received The Return of Cassandra Toddy by Darrel Nelson compliments of Realms Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review. This is the second book written by Darrel that I have had the pleasure and true honor to review and I am so thrilled I did. His writing style immediately engages you from the prologue and even though you know how it might turn out, just being along for the action thrill ride is guaranteed to give you white knuckles turning pages and holding on to the book! I love how the survival training Turner has experienced in growing up, he is able to utilize when things go wrong and the threesome find themselves in a true survival situation in the mountains and no phone service. I absolutely LOVED how Darrel incorporates all this into this novel and kept me engaged until I turned the final page leaving me truly breathless. Well done, once again Darrel Nelson and I give this one a 5 out of 5 stars!! Can't wait for Following Rain coming soon!