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RACHAEL'S RETURN by Janet Rebhan


by Janet Rebhan

Pub Date: June 16th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-63152-868-2
Publisher: She Writes Press

A supernatural novel follows the attempt of an unborn soul to find a path to reincarnation. 

Caroline Martin is 45 years old, and in preparation for life after full-time motherhood—her youngest son has just graduated from high school—she plans to have a hysterectomy. But she’s overwhelmed by sadness and doubt, becoming slow to accept that she’ll never have another child. What she doesn’t know is that she’s actually pregnant— Fiona Carlisle, a nurse, inadvertently mixed up her medical records with those of another hospital patient. Meanwhile, Mary Anne Maynard struggles to survive as she brings her own baby to term after she’s savagely beaten and then shot by her chronically abusive boyfriend, Vito Gamboa. Hovering above the earthly drama is a disembodied old soul—rendered spiritually advanced after numerous reincarnations—looking for an opportunity to be reborn. That soul has a long-standing and profound connection to Caroline and pines to be born as her child, risking grave consequences by delaying a commitment to another host. Overseeing this crisis are two spiritual guides—Thor and Aurora—intervening in myriad subtle ways to help the soul safely find a suitable home. Mary Anne manages to give birth to a healthy baby girl and names her Rachael on Caroline’s suggestion—the two briefly share a hospital room. But Vito is still on the loose and can’t bear the thought of “anyone other than himself getting custody of his own daughter.” His implacable rage ultimately forces Mary Anne’s and Caroline’s lives to fatefully collide yet again. Rebhan (Finding Tranquility Base, 2012) skillfully braids several plotlines into a coherent fabric. In addition, her writing is reliably clear, if mottled with shopworn New Age clichés: “She felt an immense presence of love and peace and felt drawn into the light.” There’s no shortage of high drama in this relatively brief novel as well as plenty of climactic violence for a story driven by otherworldly preoccupations. Problematically, the tale seems designed to impart a spiritual lesson of some kind—the plot reads like a self-consciously styled parable. But it’s never clear what the lesson is precisely given the vague talk of “higher selves” and “higher dimensions.”

An artful emotional drama undermined by overly familiar self-help tropes.