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Authors: Ann Tatlock

The Returning

BOOK: The Returning
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The Returning
Copyright © 2009
Ann Tatlock

Cover design by Studio Gearbox

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

Published by Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South
Bloomington, Minnesota 55438

Bethany House Publishers is a division of
Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Ebook edition created 2012

eISBN 978-1-4412-6063-5

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.


“I was delighted to become acquainted with Billy in
The Returning
. He is a thoughtful, ambitious, and warm young man. Tatlock has successfully described the essence of a person with Down syndrome. Great story!”

—Chris Burke, actor, singer, and star of the hit television series
Life Goes On
(ABC, 1989–1993)

“Once again Ann Tatlock proves she is a master storyteller and weaver. Every chapter peels back another layer of the story, another level to the characters, compelling the reader toward the end, where little is perfect, but with God it is well.”

—Eva Marie Everson, author of T

“Ann Tatlock’s characters are, as always, richly developed and sympathetic. With
The Returning,
Ann delves into new territory—the occult, adultery—with a very real sense of foreboding that draws the reader. And, as always, Ann delivers a message of hope and truth. Her writing bears witness without preaching.”

—Susan Andrews, Exalt Ministry, Christian recording artist

For Viola Blake,
a kindred spirit



Title Page

Copyright Page




Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Twenty-Two
Chapter Twenty-Three
Chapter Twenty-Four
Chapter Twenty-Five
Chapter Twenty-Six
Chapter Twenty-Seven
Chapter Twenty-Eight
Chapter Twenty-Nine
Chapter Thirty
Chapter Thirty-One
Chapter Thirty-Two
Chapter Thirty-Three
Chapter Thirty-Four
Chapter Thirty-Five
Chapter Thirty-Six
Chapter Thirty-Seven
Chapter Thirty-Eight
Chapter Thirty-Nine
Chapter Forty
Chapter Forty-One
Chapter Forty-Two
Chapter Forty-Three
Chapter Forty-Four
Chapter Forty-Five
Chapter Forty-Six
Chapter Forty-Seven
Chapter Forty-Eight
Chapter Forty-Nine
Chapter Fifty
Chapter Fifty-One
Chapter Fifty-Two
Chapter Fifty-Three

Author’s Note

About the Author

Other Books by Author

Back Ads


As always, I’m indebted to numerous folks who gave generously of their time and expertise to assist me in the research of this novel.

I’d like first of all to thank
Chris Burke
, who provided the inspiration for the character of Billy Sheldon. I’ve admired Chris since 1989, when millions came to know and love him as Corky Thacher on the hit ABC television series
Life Goes On
. Today he stays busy traveling with his band and serving as a spokesperson for the National Down Syndrome Society. Chris and his mother,
Marian Burke
, graciously agreed to read my manuscript and offer their feedback. Chris and Marian, for your help and for your kindness, I’m more grateful than I can say. God bless you.

A huge thank-you also to:

Roxann Colwell,
for reading the manuscript and making numerous valuable suggestions. Roxann is program coordinator of the Family Support Network of WNC and Resource Center, and in that capacity she works collaboratively with the Western North Carolina Down Syndrome Alliance. She is the mother of a grown daughter with Down syndrome.

Carole Hawkinson,
who sat with me on her front porch and talked about life with her son Jamie, a delightful young man with Down syndrome who was adopted from Korea.

Nancy Gossett,
whose son D.J. participates in the Progressive Education Program at one of our local high schools. He has a great sense of humor and enjoys playing the PlayStation, watching
, and listening to music. But it was the fact that he loves to swim and participates in the Special Olympics that gave me an “Aha!” moment. Because D.J. is a fish in the water, so is Billy Sheldon.

I’m also grateful to a number of people in Virginia who answered my questions about drug and alcohol abuse, the workings of the legal system, and the ins and outs of prison life, probation, and parole:

Martha J. Shurts,
Norfolk Drug Court Counselor (as well as best sister imaginable), Commonwealth of Virginia

Julie Chavez,
Senior Probation Officer, Norfolk Drug Court, Commonwealth of Virginia

Matthew Hahne,
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, Commonwealth of Virginia

Timothy Mattson,
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, Commonwealth of Virginia

Dawn Obliskey,
Norfolk Drug Court Administrator, Commonwealth of Virginia

Marla Newby,
Forensic Services Program Coordinator, Commonwealth of Virginia

And finally, a thousand thanks also to:

Julianne Presnell,
daughter of fellow writer and friend Deborah Presnell, who read my manuscript with the eye of a sixteen-year-old to make sure Rebekah Sheldon was believable. Thank you for taking time out of your busy summer schedule to do that, Julianne!

Dimitrios (Jimmy)
Constantine (Dino) Zourzoukis,
my neighbors and the owners of Three Brothers Restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina. Thanks for sitting down with me and giving me the inside scoop on running a restaurant. By the way, your spanakopita is the best.

Alice Denneville,
town historian, Conesus Lake, New York, who took a telephone call from a stranger and yet kindly and patiently answered my questions about life at the lake today.

Sharon Asmus,
my editor for more than a decade now. Sharon, you have unfailingly made every story better, and for that I’ll always be grateful.


He would be here soon
. The waiting was over. She’d had five long years of it, had felt every minute of it ticking by. At first his coming back had seemed impossibly far off, something that would never really happen. But here it was, the day she’d been waiting for, and now it was almost too much to believe.

Andrea glanced at her watch, then gazed back out over the lake. Another long winter had passed, and spring had thawed the water’s thick covering of ice. Now, on the sixth of June, the surface of the lake was busy with motorboats, rowboats, and jet skis. A light breeze carried the sound of laughter over the water. Andrea breathed deeply and found herself smiling. The timing was right. Even nature, in turning again to life, seemed attuned to her hope.

This had been a good place to wait, this little cottage on the edge of Conesus Lake. While it was almost too small for the four of them, it was still as good a place as any, she supposed. Certainly better than that awful house they’d owned in Virginia Beach, with its beat-up aluminum siding and decades-old wall-to-wall carpeting. She’d always felt dirty there, as if she were living in a deserted strip mall. But worse than that was the fact that Virginia wasn’t home. New York was. At least she’d had the comfort of being home these past five years.

BOOK: The Returning
10.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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