Book Review: Step by Step

31 Mar

51E-iEev+7L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Three years after a tragic accident left her a widow, ER nurse Taylor Cabot is determined to move on, checking off one item after another on her survival list. Her relationship with a handsome plastic surgeon even gives her hope for the last point―“fall in love again.” At least until crisis chaplain Seth Donovan steps back into her life, reawakening unanswered questions about her husband’s death.

While in San Diego to train community volunteers, Seth hopes to learn why Taylor is backing away from the crisis team and from their friendship. But nothing prepares him for the feelings that arise when he sees Taylor again . . . and sees her moving on with another man.

When a community crisis hits home and puts lives at risk, emotions run high and buried truths are unearthed. Will hope make the survival list?


bioFormer ER nurse, wife, Mom and proud grandmother, Candace Calvert believes that love, laughter, and faith are the best medicines. Her popular medical fiction offers charismatic characters, pulse-pounding drama, romance, humor, suspense–and a prescription for hope. Think, “Grey’s Anatomy finds its soul.” She is . . .

A Northern California native who spent several years in Hill Country Texas — where she learned to check her shoes for scorpions and plucked an armadillo from her swimming pool. Thinks cruising is the best way to travel: honeymooned in Venice, swam with stingrays, rode a camel at the pyramids, and sang (badly) with a Newfoundland country band. She’s passionate about cooking, loves bird watching, gardening, and gets goose bumps when her handsome husband hits the low notes at karaoke. She writes inspirational fiction because . . .

God blessed her with a quirky wit, buoyant optimism, and a contagious sense of fun — but she didn’t come to know him until after the Triple Whammy that turned her life into a bad country song. A painful and unexpected divorce, the Northern California floods of 1997, and (just when she was coping like a champ, no problem) an equestrian accident that left her with fractured ribs, a bleeding lung, broken back, neck fractures and a spinal cord injury. She’ll tell you that God took drastic measures to get her attention.

In the months of rehabilitation, Candace healed in body and spirit. And came to fully understand the difference between being a strong woman and a woman of strength. The difference is faith, and that lesson has been her biggest blessing. Her story, By Accident, appears in Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul, and launched her writing career. Now . . .

She is honored to bring readers medical fiction that offers exciting entertainment and a healthy dose of hope.


My Impressions:

I have read several of Candace Calvert’s novels, but I think Step by Step is her best so far. It is filled with characters I could relate to and came to care about, descriptive prose that put me right in the action — whether in the ER, on the beach, or on a nighttime motorcycle ride — and themes that touched my heart. The second book in her Crisis Team series, Step by Step can be read as a standalone. If you are a fan of medical drama, then you definitely need to check this one out.

Taylor Cabot and Seth Donovan have shared a lot during the past 3 years. But Taylor feels she needs to move on — new home, new job and perhaps a new love — and doesn’t need Seth or anyone else to remind her of her grief. But this ER nurse encounters trauma everyday — physical and emotional. Can a self-imposed deadline really move her into a future free from doubts and loss?

There is much to like in Step by Step. Characters, both main and secondary, are well-developed. I found myself immediately drawn to their stories — their hurts and their hopes. I could easily identify with their struggles with the past impacting their present and future. These characters are really real! Lives are messy and not all things can or will be cleaned up. As the wife of a veterinarian, I was touched by Calvert’s inclusion of some furry characters as well. (And I am happy to say the vet in this book was not a villain!) San Diego is the setting of the novel and its vibrancy came to life within its pages. There is a definite Christian message in Step by Step that is naturally woven into the narrative. Short chapters make this one a quick read as well.

Calvert is a former ER nurse and her experience and expertise make for an authentic feeling novel. She also does her research. I loved the time she spent developing the role of a Crisis Care Team in helping people move through the process of traumatic events. I wish my own community had a resource like that. The story lines with Marty the rescue cat and Taylor’s dog, Hooper, are developed with sensitivity and a great awareness of the needs of both owner and pet. Kudos for great research and writing with both of these aspects.

Step by Step proved to be a thought-provoking read. I found myself wishing this one was a book club choice, and I can’t wait to share it with members of By The Book! I loved it and am betting you will too.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Tyndale for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)



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