The Face of the Earth: A Novel by Deborah Raney
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Goodreads: When Mitchell Brannon’s beloved wife of twenty years kisses him goodbye one morning, he has little idea that his life is about to change forever. Mitch returns from work early that evening, surprised Jill’s car isn’t in the garage. But her voice on the answering machine makes him smile. “Hey, babe, I’m just now checking out of the hotel, but I’ll stop and pick up something for dinner. Love you.” Hours later, Jill still hasn’t returned, and Mitch’s irritation turns to dread.
When the police come up empty, Mitch enlists the help of their next-door neighbor, Jill’s best friend, Shelley, to help search. As days turn into weeks and weeks into months, Mitch and Shelley’s friendship grows ever closer––and decidedly more complicated. Every lead seems to be a dead end, and Mitch wonders how he can honor the vows he made to a woman who has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth.
My thoughts: The story is a good one. What happens when your spouse is unaccounted for? How do you move on? Do you move on? In this case, Jill leaves a message for her husband that she is on her way home then never makes it. The days turn to weeks and the weeks to months. In the meantime, the attraction between Mitch and Shelley grows. What is the moral and ethical way to handle this?
I liked the way the author handled the topic. I loved the way the marriage was treated as sacred even when Mitch didn't know if Jill was taken, left, or died. Mitch still viewed the marriage promises he made to Jill and to God as a sacred covenant even when he briefly questioned Jill's dedication. (view spoiler)[Now that I write that last sentence, I understand the reason for bringing the old boyfriend into the story. I thought it was a weird, random story line but I now I realize that the reader needed to wonder about all of the possibilities in order to fully appreciate Mitch's dedication. (hide spoiler)]
It's a well written novel that provides a stark contrast to the eroding societal beliefs on marriage. For that I give it five stars. For the rest (story interest, engagement, character development), I give it 3.5