“After All” by Deborah Raney

Susan Marlowe is beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel after the tragic death of her firefighter husband David nearly two years before.  The fire that took his life took several others, as well, leaving few people in town unscathed.  Busy getting a homeless shelter up and running, Susan sees romantic possibilities and new friendship in Fire Chief Peter Brenneman.  Peter has also caught the eye of Fire Inspector Andrea Morley, who desperately wants to find home, hearth, and children.  With Susan’s adult son back at home still dealing with the loss of his father, new information about her husband’s activities, and clashes with the community, can Susan find a way to move forward?
Susan doesn’t seem like the cheerleader type.  She didn’t have the perfect marriage, she struggled as a parent, and she gets too focused on her work.  Yet despite her tendency to see only the rosy side of people, her situation draws you in like few others could – because she seems real.  As a reader, you can identify with her issues and want to know how she resolves them; you just might have the same things happening in your own home.  With the added stress of the firefighters’ jobs and the mystery man who keeps turning up, you’ll be turning pages as fast as you can to race Susan to the end.

I really liked the way that Raney didn’t spill the plot all in the first chapter.  Really great books have a hook, some information that the author withholds to keep you reading until the end; but Raney kept back more than the usual whodunit.  Without even knowing exactly what the mystery was, she drew you into Susan’s world, which at times looked incredibly bleak, but always gave you a shred of hope and a glimmer of what could be.  

After All is inspiring and encouraging with a sense of reality that is hard to find.  I’ll definitely be reading more Raney in the future.

I received a free copy of After All from Glass Road Publications in exchange for an honest review.

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