Monday, June 27, 2011

Forever After by Deborah Raney

In this novel, the second of the Hanover Falls series, a year has passed since the fatal homeless shelter fire.
Jenna Morgan has been trying to get her life together since the fiery death of her husband. She has gone through what little life insurance Zach had, and she spent his meager pension checks as fast as they came in. She is behind on the mortgage and has maxed out her credit cards. She decides she will have to sell the house. As much as she hates to, she decides to move in with her wealthy in-laws. He relationship with her mother-in-law Clarissa is antagonistic and it is not long before Jenna is told she must leave. The problem is Jenna's friendship with Bryn. Bryn was responsible for the fatal fire and Zach's parents have never forgiven her. Bryn has paid for her actions and many in the community have forgiven her, as has Jenna.
Lucas Vermontez survived that fire but still struggles to walk with a cane. More than thirty bones in his legs and feet had been shattered. His dream was to get back to firefighting but he wondered if it was impossible. Lucas had cried out to God as he lay crushed in the fire. God had not saved his father from death in the fire. God had allowed Lucas to live. But for what purpose?
Lucas happens to run into Jenna at the Java Joint. She remembers him, one of Zach's friends from the firehouse. Their meeting initiates a growing but troubled relationship. Lucas is a committed Christian and Jenna hasn't darkened the door of a church in years. Jenna has deep secrets she does not want to share with Lucas and he is frustrated with her frequent withdrawal. When Bryn needs someone to take her dog before she marries, Jenna suggests Lucas.
As Jenna and Lucas continue to develop their relationship, Jenna overcomes some of her hurts and fears. It is not until she has an accident while driving in a surprise snow storm does she find what she has needed all her life. But she is out of sight of the rescuers. Lucas is frantic. Will she be found before it is too late?

Raney's novel is well written. The characters are fully developed. I felt I was right along with their struggles. Christianity was rightly represented as an essential part of the Vermontex family.
I was a little confused regarding Bryn's responsibility for the fire. As one who did not read the first in this series, I felt Raney did not sufficiently review that aspect of the first novel.
Nonetheless, this is a well written and very satisfying novel. The discussion guide included makes this a great choice for reading groups.

Deborah Raney is an accomplished author. Her first novel, A Vow to Cherish, is an award winning book made into a World Wide Pictures movie. Her other novels have won several awards. She loves to hear from her readers and you can contact her through

I received a copy of this book from Glass Road Publications on behalf of the publisher for the purpose of this review.

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