The Return of Cassandra Todd


The dreams of a high school nerd come true. Turner's secret crush who turned out to be so cruel to him in high school is running away from a very bad man and needs his help. So far so good. The story starts out truly gripping and I really like the inner dialogue of Turner's as he works fixing a faucet or some other maintenance problem at the motel where he works.

Then the story drifts a bit after he recognizes Cassandra. But that is in the prologue!

I have never, ever liked head jumping as Randy Ingermanson calls it. To get inside the head of each character takes truly great skill. Not many have it, or the patience for it. You have to take the time to introduce a character and develop the character before you go jumping somewhere else. It is a sad mistake that so many newer fiction writers do, and I'm not at all sure it is their mistake. I think the editors share a large part of the blame. But, when an author not only head jumps, but uses flashbacks as well. Unless done extremely well, you've got stew not a story.

Now... all this happens in the prologue as I mentioned before. Another thing that I drives me crazy is the constant repeating what's gone on before. Then add to that a really stupid female and you've got something that literally drives me crazy.

However, Nelson deals with an issue that I wish more authors would tackle. Spousal abuse is rampant, but it is always shoved under the rug because it isn't a nice subject. Nelson tells Cassandra's story in a way that is not formulaic, and there are some really good turns of phrase that are not story flow stoppers, just pleasant gems for wordsmiths.

I give this novel 2 stars. It isn't horrible, but it isn't great. It's readable, and there are far too few out there that are unreadable.
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.

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