This week I’ve been reading Returning Home by Toni Shiloh. For several hours, I was completely immersed in the world of this wonderfully written story about Evan and Jo Ellen.
When we meet him, Evan is on top of his world. He’s got a job he loves and is on his way to propose to his lovely girlfriend. But in a nightmarish instant on the freeway, it’s all gone. He loses his leg, his job, his independence, and his girlfriend.
Evan grows understandably bitter with God for allowing the accident that caused his life-changing injury. Now, stuck back in his home town, he needs to get his space remodeled to allow for wheelchair access. To his dismay, the contractor his mother hires for the job is Jo Ellen.
She’s the girl he tormented throughout high school, and the last person he wants to see him like this. Jo Ellen is equally horrified. The wounds Evan caused her are still raw and painful, but she’s determined to do her job right. As they work together, God works a miracle in their lives, restoring their relationship with Him and weaving something beautiful between them.
I loved how Toni made placed this story in a community. Jo and Evan’s family and friends play prominent roles. Just like in real life, they have messy and complex relationships, and I was just as invested in their relationships as I was in the love story between Jo and Evan.
Evan and Jo have a lot of growing to do, and through their increasing reliance on God and His truths, they both overcome their flaws and false narratives. I particularly loved how Toni wrote about how Evan learns to cope with his new reality as an amputee. Highly recommended.