Thursday, February 28, 2013

CFBA Presents "The Return of Cassandra Todd" by

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Return of Cassandra Todd
Realms (February 5, 2013)
Darrel Nelson


I am a schoolteacher by profession and have taught school for (thir—ahem!) years. I grew up in Raymond, Alberta, and attended the University of Lethbridge after graduating from high school and serving a two-year mission to Japan. During university, I met and married Marsha Smith, and we are the parents of four children, which has grown to include their spouses and our ten grandchildren.

I have always loved to write. I started writing stories before I was old enough to realize I was writing stories. It seemed a natural thing to pick up a pencil and paper and create a world simply by using words—worlds of adventure in steaming jungles (Tarzan was an early influence on me) or realms of adventure in outer space (Buck Rogers). But as I have grown older, I have discovered that the real inspiration for me is exploring the theme of love and how it can make such a difference in the world.

I’ve had an article published in Lethbridge Magazine and have written several dramatic plays, two of which won provincial recognition and were showcased at a drama festival. I won the CJOC radio songwriting contest two years running, and have had one of my songs receive international airplay. I have written four novels intended for the juvenile market. They are unpublished as yet, but I read them annually to my fourth grade students and my students tell me they love them, the darlings.


When the girl he hated in high school suddenly reenters his life, little son in tow, and asks for his help, Turner must put the past behind him if they are to survive.

Turner Caldwell works at a local motel as a handyman while attending college full-time. On his way to class one day, he passes the bus depot just as Cassandra Todd and her young son arrive. He is shocked to see her, remembering how cruel she was to him in high school. She was the popular head cheerleader and he the target of her mean-spirited pranks. Turner could never have imagined that the outdoor training and survival skills he learned at Camp Kopawanee, a summer youth camp where he worked three years as a leader, would one day become so crucial. But when Cassandra and her son check into the motel where he works and she asks for his help in eluding her abusive husband, Turner finds himself entangled in a situation that will require every skill he has in order to survive.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of The Return of Cassandra Todd, go HERE.

My Thoughts:

I'm so glad I started reading this one early in the day...I couldn't put the book down until I knew the final outcome!  The story is well crafted and intense...and stirred up some memories from long ago.

Bullying is the topic of the day, but few stories deal with the later years...after high school, when everyone has moved on and crafted a life of their own.  For Turner to be able to set aside years of intense abuse to help a former 'mean girl' is huge...and I felt his struggle.

Cassandra was one of the popular crowd, but she learned very quickly that popularity in school fades quickly, leaving real life in its wake...and those who bullied once will sometimes refuse to reform their ways.  If only she'd had eyes to truly see when her life was just starting out.

The story takes twists and turns, and can leave you breathless.  Darrel Nelson is a master storyteller, and I love his realistic fiction.  Be may or may not get your happy ending:-)

I received a copy of "The Return of Cassandra Todd" through CFBA in exchange for an honest review.  Honestly, this is a must read.  A good reminder that high school doesn't last forever...but God's mercy does.

Happy Reading!



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