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4 Stars Out Of 5
A fun story
February 27, 2012
Forever After is about a fireman recovering from a tragic homeless shelter fire that affected many people in Hanover Falls. Lucas Vermontez had always wanted to be a firefighter just like his dad and had achieved that goal. But the shelter fire left him severely wounded - emotionally and physically.
A year later he still has a limp and uses a cane which is a huge improvement to the wheelchair and walker he had been using a few months ago. But he is frustrated by his limitations and worries he'll never be able to return to the job he loves.
Jenna Morgan lost her husband, Zach, also a fireman, in that fire and has spent the past year trying to continue with life and properly mourn her husband. But she's starting to realize that they had been relying too much on his parent's money and had always lived beyond their means.
Forced to sell her home and rely on others for housing, and her growing friendship with Lucas help her face her past and figure out who she is and wants to be. Not an easy task who has spent years being someone that others wanted her to be.
I liked how the story would switch from Lucas' to Jenna's point of view. In different ways they are each haunted by the past so the alternating point of view was a good way to get to know both characters and understand where they were coming from.
At first I wasn't quite sure why this was "Christian fiction" since no one seemed to have a very strong faith in God or even any faith at all. But right around the time I really started to wonder Lucas started to pray more and openly acknowledge that he wouldn't have gotten through his depression without God's help.
His mom is a strong believer and I love the contrast between the Vermontez family and the Morgans (Jenna's in-laws). One is welcoming, loving, caring, the other proper and controlling. Jenna notices and slowly starts to question where the Vermontez family gets their peace and love.
She learns first hand that God really does listen to prayers. An important lesson that many people, many Christians, don't quite grasp. Not only does he listen but he also answers; just maybe not in the way we were thinking of. But whether His answer is "yes, I'd love to do that for you", "no, if you knew what I knew you wouldn't ask that", "wait, the timing is just not right yet", or "I've got a better plan" - He still listens.
One thing I didn't like though was that Lucas continued to be attracted to and pursue Jenna even though he knew she didn't share his belief in God. Missionary dating is not a good idea. And while it "worked out" in the story it isn't something that ought to be promoted.
Deeply moving. Compassionate. Intense. Heart-breaking. Heart-searching. God-focused. Suspenseful. Exciting. Carefully crafted. Well written. A gentle dose of God-focused romance. Wonderful storyline_okay, I'll stop with the epitaphs but not until I tell you to read this book.
Forever After is the 2nd book in the Hanover Falls series by Deborah Raney and it's the first book of the series that I've read. Though I would have liked to have read the first book in the series, Almost Forever, first, I was not afforded that chance; I do not feel that my enjoyment in Forever After was, in any way, marred by reading it first. Yes, it's that good and it's that complete.
The main character, Jenna, is faced with starting a new life after her fire-fighter husband died in a fire at a homeless shelter. Forever After takes you on a journey that reveals Jenna's heart-rending choices, her desire to grow and overcome and her process of maturing into a true woman of God.
At the end of the story, another story reveals itself as Mrs. Raney shares her financial and emotional struggles during her husband's time of unemployment. As a woman whose husband was just employed after nearly two years of joblessness, I could relate to her struggles and to her desire to be completely trusting of and dependent on God. I applaud her transparency, her honesty and her trust in God.
I highly recommend Forever After.
DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of Forever After for free for purposes of review from Glass Road Public Relations. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest and fair one. My opinions are my own.
In her new book, Forever After, Deb Raney takes us back to Hanover Falls, the scene of a fatal fire the past year. Jenna Morgan is coping with her husband's death and loss of income as well as dealing with her in-laws who want to control her life. Lucas Vermontez is recovering from his devastating injuries in the fire that also killed his dad. While others are going on with their lives after the fire, Lucas is reminded day after day through his pain and attempts at rehab and Jenna harbors secrets from Lucas, her husband's best friend. When these two bond in friendship, each is caught up in a series of events that will test that friendship and possibly take it a step further to love. Deb continues to create characters who climb into your heart and take up residence before you know it. Drawn with a supporting cast that fills in the gaps, this story is one that will snare your heart and keep you turning the pages to follow the path of Jenna and Lucas.
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.
I received a copy of this book from Glass Road Publicity Group on behalf of the pusblisher for the purpose of this review.