Monday, May 13, 2013

The Face of the Earth

The Face of the Earth
Deborah Raney
(Howard Books)
ISBN: 978-1416599975
May 2013/368 pages/$14.99

What if she never came home. . . ?

When Mitchell Brannon’s beloved wife sets off for home after a conference, he has no 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.


Deborah 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


The Face of the Earth is the latest reason that Deborah Raney is a must-read author for me. I don't just read her books; I experience them. And what a heart-rending experience this novel was! With a scenario that is completely realistic and devastating, as well as characters so authentic I felt as if I might encounter them at the grocery store, The Face of the Earth tugged at my heart. At times, I almost couldn't bear to keep reading it, but I couldn't put it down, either! While I empathized with Shelley, my heart truly ached for Mitch as his life and marriage were essentially placed on hold indefinitely and he mourned Jill's disappearance, not knowing if he was mourning her death, mourning the death of his marriage, or simply waiting on God. In her signature style, Raney does more than provide a great story; she compels the reader to confront an issue right along with the characters, which in this novel is "what do marriage vows really mean in such a situation?" I appreciated her portrayal of Mitch as he grappled with this issue and sought God's guidance; he is neither unrealistically pious nor completely driven by his physical needs and desires. I heartily recommend this book and think it would be a great resource as a teaching tool and cautionary tale for small groups. Just be sure to provide some tissues!

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!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today.Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 30th!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book from Howard Books/Simon & Schuster and Litfuse Publicity as part of a blog tour. 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.”


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Beth said...

Oh My! Cannot wait to get my hands on this book! Love her writing style! Thanks for this review.

Nora @ Professional Doctoartes said...

Just reading the summary of the book makes me want to burst with sadness and revenge. I’m very eager to know what really happened to Jill. Was she abducted or murdered? That book is really a must read! If Jill is still alive, I’d be cursing Mitchell and Shelley. Poor Jill!