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 They are unpublished as yet, but I read them annually to my fourth grade students and my students tell me they love them, the darlings.

Learn more about Darrel and his books on his Website.


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.

divider2MY REVIEW:

Since I am in the midst of recovering from the flu, I was tempted to take the easy way out and just do the required post without a review for this book. But I was feeling enough better to actually concentrate on the print long enough for it to register so I decided to give it a try and only resort to the basic post if I could not generate enough interest to continue reading. I am so glad I did because I would have missed out on a thoroughly riveting page-turner. The Return of Cassandra Todd was not at all what I expected.

Turner Caldwell is a young man who has experienced some tough breaks in life and as a result has turned his back on God and allowed himself to become somewhat bitter and resentful. When an old classmate returns to town, her appearance stirs up memories that he thought he had left in the past. Her plea for his help draws him into a dangerous and deadly struggle for his own survival as well as the survival of Cassandra and her young son that forces him to rely on God once again.

The Return of Cassandra Todd is a fast-paced nail-biter that kept me on the edge of my seat. Well-developed plot and characters and a natural dialogue made the reading effortless. Tension grew in increments until the explosive climax but the book did not end at that point. I am still not certain how I feel about the author’s decision to continue the story for several more chapters in order to wrap things up neatly. It was an anticlimax and  seemed unnecessary to me. I don’t mind wondering how things turned out between certain characters. Other than that,  The Return of Cassandra Todd was nearly perfect in every way. I would recommend it for those who enjoy a good suspense with lots of surprises.