Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Almost Forever" Review

“Almost Forever” by Deborah Raney was sent to me as a review copy by the publisher, Howard Books. It is the first in a series of three books, the “Hanover Falls” series.  I was actually asked to review the second book in this series (“Forever After”), but I wanted to read the first one first, so they sent both to me! J

“Almost Forever” begins tragically with a fire that occurs at a homeless shelter in the small town of Hanover Falls, Missouri, killing five firefighters and seriously injuring another. One of the widows of the fire, Bryn, was actually at the shelter that night, and the story is mostly told from her point of view. Her story unfolds through her soon-after-the-fire involvement with a widower, Garrett, who lost his wife in the blaze.  To further complicate things, Bryn has a secret she has been keeping ever since the fire occurred.
As far as emotions go, mine were all over the place when reading this book. The beginning was sad, reading about the grief of the widows who lost spouses in the fire. However, I did think that the author did a good job telling about this part of the story without getting so heart-wrenching that I had to stop reading the book! The middle of the book got a little boring for me when it dealt with the relationship between Bryn and Garrett, but it picked up closer to the end of the book when the plot changed course a bit and became much more thought-provoking.
After saying all of that, I did enjoy reading this book, despite the roller coaster of emotions. The story, after it started moving along a little more, is one that brings up many questions relating to forgiveness, both from God and from others. The book delves into so many other issues as well, including pursuing a relationship so soon after losing a spouse and the complicated topic of the benefits and roadblocks to having a homeless shelter in a small town. I thought the characters in the book were pretty much based in reality, and they definitely took their faith seriously.
Where the characters differed from reality for me was how soon the relationship between Bryn and Garrett developed. It was hard for me to swallow how quickly they were drawn to each other. While I have never been in their shoes, I also can’t imagine how long (if ever) it would take my heart to heal after losing my love. I am sure, though, that it would be longer than just a few months.
This novel really makes you think about how you would act and what you would do if you were in Bryn’s situation. It thoroughly explores the concept of whether or not “the truth will set you free.”
This was my first time reading a book from Deborah Raney, and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the novels in the Hanover Falls series.
I will give “Almost Forever”… 3  BookWorms.

You can also read my review of this book on The Christian Manifesto.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received this book free from the publisher, Howard Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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