Book Review: Forever After

27 Jun

Lucas Vermontez was a proud firefighter like his father. Now, not only has he lost his father and his best friend, Zach, in the fire at the Grove Street Homeless Shelter, but the devoted rookie can no longer do the work he loves after being crippled in the tragic event. When friendship with his buddy’s beautiful widow turns into more, he wonders what he could possibly offer Jenna.

Jenna Morgan is trying to grieve her husband’s death like a proper widow, but the truth is, she never really loved Zach. His death feels more like a relief to her. But that relief is short-lived when she loses her home and the financial support of her in-laws. Now the secrets of her past threaten to destroy her future.

DEBORAH RANEY is a bestselling novelist whose books have garnered multiple industry awards including the RITA Award, HOLT Medallion, National Readers’ Choice Award, Silver Angel from Excellence in Media, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. Her first novel, A Vow to Cherish, shed light on the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. The novel inspired the highly acclaimed World Wide Pictures film of the same title and continues to be a tool for Alzheimer’s families and caregivers. Deborah is on faculty for several national writers’ conferences and serves on the advisory board of the 2500-member American Christian Fiction Writers organization. She is at work on her 21st novel, and her recent Hanover Falls Novels series is published by Howard/Simon & Schuster. Deb and her husband, Ken Raney, enjoy small-town life in Kansas.

My Impressions:

In Forever After, the second installment in the Hanover Falls series, Deborah Raney again produces a complex look at the aftermath of a tragic fire that claimed the lives of 5 members of a fire department.  Although a sequel, the novel can be read as a standalone. However, I would suggest starting at the beginning — the first novel, Almost Forever, is too good not to read.

The novel begins on the first anniversary of the fire at the homeless shelter in Hanover Falls.  A lot of things have changed, but many things are the same. Jenna Morgan is still struggling with the debt and feelings of guilt that have haunted her since her husband Zach’s death.  Lucas Vermontez, the sole surviving firefighter from the accident has come a long way in his rehabilitation, but is still far away from regaining the life he had before the fire.  While some characters, including Luc’s mother, have made great strides in finding a new future, Jenna and Luc can’t seem to break the hold of the past.  My only complaint with the novel is that at the start of the book several of the surviving spouses are planning to remarry. Seems a bit soon for me, but the device keeps the story going.

Forever After has well drawn characters that have authentic struggles — physical limitations, increasing debt, survivor guilt.   The pain of losing their well planned lives is authentic.  But Raney doesn’t allow the characters to wallow in their grief.  She puts them on a path of healing — both physical and spiritual — that is full of hope and grace.

This contemporary novel, with a good dose of romance, is  fast paced.  It is a good companion to the earlier novel in the Hanover Falls series.  If you like a novel with true to life characters going through real circumstances, this book is for you. I look forward to the next book in the series, After All.  (Raney has included an excerpt of this next book.)

Recommemnded.

For my review of Almost Forever, click HERE.

(I received a copy of Forever After from Glass Road PR in return for a review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

3 Responses to “Book Review: Forever After”

  1. Brenda June 27, 2011 at 9:01 am #

    After reading your comments I really want to go back and read the first book in the series. Great review.

    • rbclibrary June 27, 2011 at 10:06 am #

      Thanks Brenda. I really liked Almost Forever.

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