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Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
400 pages
Jan 2006
Bethany House Publishers

Things We Once Held Dear

by Ann Tatlock

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


After the death of his wife, art teacher Neil Sadler returns to his hometown of Mason, Ohio, for a summer of rest and healing. The pace is quite different from New York City, and boyhood memories collide with familiar faces: his cousin Grace, in the process of turning the ancestral home into a bed and breakfast; Uncle Bernie, the retired Episcopal priest whose gracious words of wisdom contrast with his silence on confidential matters; and Mary, the distant cousin whose childhood friendship could have blossomed into more.

The latterís presence brings the most surprise and conflict to Neilís life. Maryís father, Cal, was like a second father to Neil and the one person who encouraged his art. Then came the murder, shattering Neilís idealism and Maryís life. New York became Neilís home for the next two dozen years. Mary got married and moved away.

Now Maryís back in Mason. Her husband, a policeman under investigation for killing in alleged self-defense, spends his days drinking to forget. Maryís friend Peg suggests that now is her time to move on, find the happiness she missed with Neil.

But the mystery of the summer of Ď77 remains. Maryís invalid mother was murdered, and her father, Neilís supportive Uncle Cal, was arrested for the crime Ė and pled guilty.

This book is a slow weaving of past and present, as old secrets come to life and new truths are found. Poignant description reflects the complex character emotions. If youíre looking for fast-paced action and adventure in a quick read youíll soon forget, donít choose this novel. If, however, you want rich characters you can savor getting to know, Tatlockís book is well worth your time. Ė Katie Hart, Christian Book

Book Jacket:

The foundations of Neil Sadler's small-town life had been rocked by a suspicious death. Years later, as he struggles to recover from a more recent loss, memories surrounding that disturbing ordeal have taken hold of his mind and won't let go.

Intent on repairing his shattered world, Neil reconnects with his friend Mary Beeken. Their once-close relationship hadnít been strong enough to survive the tragedy that overtook Maryís family--yet what drove them apart years ago now seems to be drawing them back together.

The mystery that shrouds the fateful event stretches back over two decades--and remains unsolved. To bring closure will mean facing old truths--hard truths--and discovering some new ones. For Neil, the future is as much in the balance as the past.