by Robert Elmer

June 2006
ISBN: 140007164X
Reviewer Graphic Button Waterbrook Press
Trade Paperback

Gerrit Appledoorn and Joan Horton are dating, and things are perfect. At least until Gerrit goes over to Joan’s house one evening after she burned her supper and when he takes out the trash he discovers a letter from a school of music in Chicago buried in the trash. Gerrit wonders what it’s about, but he doesn’t want to confess to Joan that he’s been digging around in her garbage. So he waits for Joan to mention it.

Joan keeps thinking about the offer to teach in Chicago and wondering where she mislaid the letter. It interested her to think of teaching advanced level piano students instead of the first and second year piano students who now fill her days. But she’s with Gerrit . . . and when he proposes, Joan has no other answer except “Yes!”

Still, the letter keeps coming between them. Gerrit finally brings it up, and the next thing he knows he’s given up all he loves and knows to move halfway across the country—to Chicago—for her. The job he thought he’d landed fell through. And Gerrit and Joan seem to disagree with each other more than they agree. What is Gerrit supposed to do with his days while his wife works? Will this marriage work?

The Recital is the sequel to Mr. Elmer’s earlier novel, The Duet, and I think this is one of his best works yet. I laughed. I cried. And my emotions ran from the highs to the lows during the course of this page-turner.

Joan and Gerrit are loveable characters. I could thoroughly relate to Joan, coming back to her native environment, a metro area she thrives in. I also related to Gerrit, leaving the quiet country life he knew and loved for an area where people seem to fill their days with busyness to hide the loneliness. Gerrit isn’t sure how to relate to the city folk, and he becomes the butt of many of Joan’s co-workers’ jokes. It was interesting to read about the clash between small town values and big city sophistication.

I enjoyed The Recital, and highly recommend this book. My copy is going on my keeper shelf. The Recital will warm your heart.

Reviewed in August 2006 by Laura.

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