Those Children Are Ours {Book Review + Giveaway}

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Jennie Bateman screamed at her daughters, cursed at her husband, packed a bag, and walked away. Twelve years later, she petitions the family court for visitation with her daughters, Alexis and Christa.

Her attorney tells Jennie that, ordinarily, she could not imagine that some type of visitation would not be granted. But, she warns, the situation is hardly ordinary.

True, Jennie suffered from a bipolar disorder when she began to drink heavily, abandoned her family, and moved in with another man. True, she has turned her life around: leaving her boyfriend, returning to school, entering therapy, taking medication, finding a job, and joining a church.

But she pressed no claim for her children when her husband divorced her, and she has made no attempt to contact them in any way since then. Her daughters, now sixteen and fourteen, live 400 miles away. They have busy lives that do not include her, lives that will be totally disrupted by the visitation that she requests. Their father is engaged to be married to a woman who has taken the role of their mother for a decade. Alexis remembers nothing good about Jennie. Christa recalls nothing at all.

Conflict ensues as soon as Jennie’s petition is served: her former husband does not want to share his children with the woman who deserted him; her children have no interest in knowing the mother who abandoned them, and her father insists that she is being timid and ought to demand full custody, not simply visitation.

As court convenes, Jennie’s past is dredged up− the desertion, the men, her drinking, her mental health − and paraded before the judge. Her claim to be a different person, now, is attacked. The judge hesitates to grant Jennie’s request, but reluctantly agrees to order three trial visits.

If persuading the judge to let her see her children was difficult, convincing them to allow her to be a part of their lives seems to be almost impossible. What happens as she finally begins to connect with her daughters places them all in grave danger and threatens her life, itself.

My review of Those Children Are Ours

This book resonated with me because I also struggled through an extremely difficult custody battle with my former husband. So, from that point of view, it rings true. As a result, it can be tough to read at times, because of its very realistic story line.

One thing that’s definitely worth mentioning is that the author’s skillful character development. While I wasn’t in love with every character in the book, they made me feel something, one way or another. When I found myself resenting and hating someone, I realized, hey, this is stirring up emotion. That’s an accomplishment!

If I had to rate the book, I’d have to give it four stars instead of five. That’s for two reasons — and they’re not huge problems, but I can’t ignore them (you might disagree, and that’s your right to do so, as is my right to not ignore them) — 1) a handful of typos and grammar errors and 2) occasional dialogue that reads awkwardly.

The dialogue sometimes reads as too formal and proper, rather than conversational. Sure, some people do speak in perfect diction, but certainly not every character in the book, especially when they’re different ages and genders and education levels and so on.

That all being said…I do not want to detract from this book. It’s a great story and it is told extremely well. I had trouble putting it down and I pored over every single page, eager to make my way through the journey of the characters. I like David Burnett. He has some serious skills, and we will be reaping the rewards.

Available to buy from…   Barnes and Noble   Printed Books

About the author

David Burnett lives in Columbia South Carolina, with his wife and their blue-eyed cat, Bonnie. The Reunion, his first novel, is set in nearby Charleston.

David enjoys traveling, photography, baking bread, and the Carolina beaches. He has photographed subjects as varied as prehistoric ruins on the islands of Scotland, star trails, sea gulls, a Native American powwow, and his grandson, Jack. David and his wife have traveled widely in the United States and the United Kingdom. During one trip to Scotland, they visited Crathes Castle, the ancestral home of the Burnett family near Aberdeen. In The Reunion, Michael’s journey through England and Scotland allows him to sketch many places they have visited.

David has graduate degrees in psychology and education and previously was Director of Research for the South Carolina Department of Education. He and his wife have two daughters.

Find the author on the following sites…
Website   Blog   Facebook   Twitter   Goodreads   Amazon

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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.


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  1. Natalie Brown says

    The funniest thing I can think of with my son was when he was 5 years old and he was Elvis for Halloween. He said “Thank-you, thank-you very much” all night long. lol

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