Book Review: The Face of The Earth

10 May

599975_w185When Mitchell Brannon’s beloved wife of twenty years kisses him goodbye one autumn 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. Her conference in Kansas City is only a few hours’ drive from their little town of Sylvia, Missouri. 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.”

Mitch sets the table with their best china and lights some candles, looking forward to their first weekend as empty nesters.

But at eight o’clock, the candles have burned to stubs and Jill still hasn’t shown up. Mitch tries her cell phone only to get her voice mail over and over again. Their two college kids haven’t heard from their mom either.

At midnight, Mitch’s irritation turns to dread. And later, when the police and Missouri Highway Patrol have turned up nothing, the Kansas City hotel calls to say they’ve found property belonging to Jill in a hotel maid’s possession.

Mitch enlists the help of their next-door neighbor, Jill’s best friend, Shelley, and together they search for clues to Jill’s disappearance. As days turn into weeks and weeks into months, Mitch and Shelley’s friendship grows ever closer––and decidedly complicated with Jill as the tie that binds them together. Just when Shelley decides to finally reveal her feelings for Mitch, a clue to Jill’s whereabouts is uncovered. But 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.

DRaney-136Deborah Raney is the award-winning author of several novels, including A Nest of Sparrows and the RITA award winning Beneath a Southern Sky and its sequel, After the Rains. Deborah’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, was the inspiration for World Wide Pictures’ highly acclaimed film of the same title, which in December 2004 aired on prime time network TV for the second time. Deb’s novella, Playing by Heart, was a National Readers Choice Award winner and a 2004 Christy Award finalist. Her novel for Howard/Simon & Schuster, Yesterday’s Embers, appeared on the ECPA Christian fiction bestseller list. Known for her sensitive portrayal of family struggles and relationships, Deb has also written nonfiction books and articles and often speaks at women’s retreats and writers’ conferences around the country. She and her husband, illustrator/author Ken Raney, have four children and make their home in Kansas. Find out more at

My Impressions:

Deborah Raney has done it again — written a story filled with tension, desperation, waiting, doubt and, above all, hope. Her novels always involve realistically drawn characters the reader comes to love, life situations that ring true, and a message of God’s love, provision and promises fulfilled. And that’s what you get in her newest novel, The Face of The Earth.

Mitch and Jill have a great marriage, an almost perfect marriage. So when Jill goes missing following the conclusion of a teacher’s conference, no one is more surprised, hurt and confused than Mitch and Jill’s best friend, Shelley. While Jill’s disappearance rocks the family and small town, the days that stretch into months without word becomes a wound that many cannot fathom or share. But Shelley is always there for Mitch and becomes much more to him than Jill’s best friend. So how long is enough to hope for Jill’s return and how long will God ask Mitch to hold to his vows?

I have to say that I felt the tension of Jill’s disappearance from the opening pages of The Face of The Earth. The situation was real, almost too real, and I felt right there in Mitch and Shelley’s sorrow and grief. The doubts that the characters experienced were also palpable. Just how could someone just disappear without a trace? And the struggles with guilt that Mitch and Shelley encounter also ring true. Recent news of the woman who returned after 11 years of being missing and presumed dead, was just a reminder that this could really happen.

If you like a book that examines the feelings and emotions surrounding real life and the message of God’s faithfulness through it all, then you need to pick up The Face of The Earth.

Highly Recommended.

(Thank you to LitFuse for a copy of this book to read and review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To read other reviewers thoughts, click HERE.

To purchase a copy of this book, click on the image below.


Deborah is celebrating with a fun “Date Night” Giveaway (win a $200 Visa Cash Card!) and an Author Chat Party on Facebook! {5/30} 

One winner will receive:

  • A $200 Visa Cash Card (Use that to catch up with a loved one – your spouse, friend, sister, mom … whomever!)
  • The Face of the Earth by Deborah Raney

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 29th. Winner will be announced at the “The Face of the Earth” Facebook Author Chat Party on May 30th. Connect with Deborah for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Deborah will also be sharing a sneak peek of her next book and giving away books and fun gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of The Face of the Earth and join Deborah on the evening of May 30th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)




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