Review of The To-Hell-And-Back Club by Jill Hannah Anderson

TTHABCPeyton Brooks has a terrible marriage. With both kids now in college, she is finally ready to tell Jerry she wants a divorce. Her group of three best friends have been her life support for the last 18 or so years, but when tragedy takes them away from her, she is lost. What will she do to start living again? And without her support system, how will she ever be strong enough to end her twenty-year-old marriage?

In college, Peyton reeled from a break-up with the only boy she’d ever loved, only to have a summer fling. Jerry Brooks was just a fun distraction; that is, until Peyton realized she was pregnant. Both wanting to do the right thing for the baby, they married, and Peyton moved from Texas to his hometown in Minnesota.

Together they raise their son and daughter, but through gritted teeth.  Neither is happy in their relationship, but they stay together out of obligation.

He paced between our kitchen table and the living room. The room wasn’t big enough for our misery. Our bitter words hung over our heads, ready to slide down the pale yellow walls in a runny blur, covering up everything we hadn’t said over the years. Jerry grabbed a sunken popover and descended silently to the basement.

Peyton is finally ready to be happy, or at least that’s the plan. But when the three friends she’s made her family are unexpectedly taken from her, she doesn’t know how to survive, much less truly live again.

After months of mourning, Peyton visits Eunice, the minister of her lost friend Dana’s church, who tells her of a club she’d founded years ago. The To-Hell-And-Back-Club is made up of women who have traveled a rough road, who need sisterhood to mend and heal. Peyton is not sure what to think. She really doesn’t know how to make new friends after all these years, but agrees to give it a try. What she finds in the group is nothing short of amazing.

As part of her grieving process, Peyton decides to read the time capsules she and her friends had buried so many years ago, and is shocked at the secrets she finds hidden within them. Will Peyton be able to rebuild her life? Will she be able to become the woman she’s always wanted to be? And will her life have room for the romance she’s spent the last twenty years without?

I enjoyed reading The-To-Hell-And-Back Club. I was touched by Anderson’s examination of a woman who had done what she felt was right for her children, sacrificing her own happiness in the process. And when the foundation of her life is ripped away, it was inspirational to witness a woman rebuilding her life, climbing up from the depths of loneliness and despair to find her true self, and the happiness that self could bring.

I recommend The To-Hell-And-Back Club for a story that will make you consider the choices you’ve made in your own life, and the strength we sometimes need to rebound into happiness.

Thank you to Pandamoon Publishing for providing me with an Advance Reader’s Copy for review.

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