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Susan Marlowe lost her firefighter husband David to a fire at a homeless shelter, where she worked. They have two grown sons and in the past couple of years before his death, Susan and her husband had grown distant. He spent long hours at work and she spent much of her time trying to get the shelter up and running. But she never lost trust in her husband. That is why it hurt so badly when she discovered that he had another woman in his life. She did not make this discovery until about eighteen months after his death. At his funeral, she had spotted a woman standing off by herself and in deep grief. Susan had forgotten about that, especially with the declining donations to the center and the growing opposition to the shelter from the townspeople threatening to close it down for good. However, she finds herself running into the same woman time and again. Finally, while trying to help her son through his turmoil, she found the proof of what she had hoped was not true. Recently, she and the fire chief, Pete, have become good friends and Susan cannot help admiring him and wondering if she could fall in love for a second time in her life. But most importantly, can she find forgiveness for the other woman?
Growing up with her abusive father, Andrea had been determined to make it one day. She is proud that her hard work has paid off and now she is the only female fire inspector in the area. She is also training dogs to help with her investigations. She had been in love, but when he died, she had been unable to stay away from the funeral. Although she knew he would never leave his wife and sons, she still dreamt of it. She has spent so much time on making something of herself that she has neglected her personal life. All she wants now is a husband and children. Recently, she noticed how handsome the fire chief is, but she has also seen him quite often with David’s widow, Susan. She may have lost David to his wife, but there was no way she was going to let her have Pete.
Fire Chief Pete feels responsible for all of his men, so he took it hard when he lost David and the other four firemen, including one female, in the horrendous fire. Now eighteen months later, he still wonders if he could have done something differently so they would still be alive. He had been married, but he and his wife had been unable to have children. This had finally driven her away. They had divorced two years ago and she had recently remarried. Now he was ready to get on with his life. He had two female friends and he liked both of them. But it was not fair to string both of them along, so he knew he would have to choose between the two. However, as he works to rebuild his work force at the station, he begins to listen with his heart and finds love in the arms of the last woman he ever expected to love him in return.
A poignant read, AFTER ALL, the third book in award winning author Deborah Raney’s HANOVER FALLS series, is an emotion-packed, inspirational contemporary romance. As Ms. Raney deals with all of the issues in a realistic manner, readers will find themselves drawn into the story. Susan, Andrea and Pete all suffered losses in the tragic fire that took five lives, and this story shows how each dealt with it in their own way with the help of God. When Pete lost his wife, his relationship with God also suffered. But God uses Pete’s time spent alone, fishing, to draw him back again. Filled with betrayal, secrets, faith, forgiveness, mystery, complex characters, spiritual growth, romance and love, this story is inspiring. I found it hard to put down and, in fact, read it in one sitting. This book can be read as a standalone, even though it is part of a series. This well written book is a beautiful ending to this series, successfully tying up all of the loose ends. After reading this story, I will be looking for more books by this talented author. Do not miss Ms. Raney’s wonderfully inspiring novel AFTER ALL or the two previous books in this series; ALMOST FOREVER and FOREVER AFTER. Definitely a must read for all lovers of Christian fiction!
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