Almost Forever

( 17 )

Overview

Unearthing a lost memory may cause her to lose everything she holds dear… but could it also set her free?

Bryn Hennesey, a volunteer at the Grove Street Homeless Shelter, was there the night the shelter burned to the ground and five heroic firefighters died at the scene. Among them was her husband, Adam. Like the rest of the surviving spouses, Bryn must find a way to begin again. But Bryn must do so living with a horrible secret.…

Garrett ...

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Almost Forever: A Hanover Falls Novel

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Overview

Unearthing a lost memory may cause her to lose everything she holds dear… but could it also set her free?

Bryn Hennesey, a volunteer at the Grove Street Homeless Shelter, was there the night the shelter burned to the ground and five heroic firefighters died at the scene. Among them was her husband, Adam. Like the rest of the surviving spouses, Bryn must find a way to begin again. But Bryn must do so living with a horrible secret.…

Garrett Edmonds’s wife, Molly, was the only female firefighter to perish in the blaze. As her husband, it was his job to protect the woman he loved.… How can he go on in the face of such unbearable loss and guilt?

And what started the fire that destroyed the dreams and futures of so many? Investigators are stumped. But someone knows the answer….

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416599913
  • Publisher: Howard Books
  • Publication date: 5/11/2010
  • Series: Hanover Falls Series , #1
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 534,097
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Deborah Raney’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, was awarded a Silver Angel from Excellence in Media and inspired the acclaimed World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Since then her books have won the RITA Award, the HOLT Medallion, and the National Readers’ Choice Award. Raney was also a finalist for the Christy Award. She and her husband, artist Ken Raney, make their home in their native Kansas.

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Read an Excerpt

1

Thursday, November 1

Bryn drew the queen of diamonds from the stack of playing cards on the wobbly table between her and Charlie Branson. The grizzled Vietnam vet eyed her from his wheelchair as she discarded an ace. She put on her best poker face and pretended to rearrange her hand. From somewhere behind the peeling paint on the west wall, the pipes clanked in the bowels of the old hospital-turned-homeless-shelter, and the furnace kicked on. Not that it would raise the temperature in this mammoth icebox by one degree, but something about the hiss of radiators was comforting.

Charlie drew a card from the tattered deck and flung it away too quickly. He must be close to going out. Good. It was two in the morning, and Bryn was hoping to catch a few hours of sleep before it was time to get breakfast going for the shelter’s residents.

Her husband’s twenty-four-hour shift at the fire station ended tomorrow. Adam had said something about taking her to a matinee, and he’d be suspicious if she fell asleep during the movie. Of course, his invitation had come before their big fight. Knowing him, he’d still be brooding and they would stay home and sulk—or argue.

Bryn shifted in the chair and rubbed the small of her back. She’d foregone sleep to stay up and play cards with Charlie in an effort to settle him down. He and the new guy had gotten into it again, and Charlie had been too worked up to sleep. He’d balked at her suggestion to read, but she knew the real truth—he was lonely. Just needed someone to sit with him.

Bryn had met Charlie at the library where she worked part-time. He was the most well-read man she knew, a fact that endeared him to Myrna Eckland, the library director at Hanover Falls’ public library. Myrna had given Charlie a few odd jobs in exchange for the right to spend his days reading in a quiet corner of the stacks before wheeling to the shelter each evening—after securing his word that he wouldn’t miss his daily shower, of course.

Bryn slid the jack of diamonds from the draw pile and discarded it, but something made her stop and listen. Somewhere above them she heard an out-of-the-ordinary noise. She looked at Charlie. “Did you hear that? Shhh . . .”

He put his free hand to his ear but shook his head. “I don’t hear anything, sis, but that don’t mean nothin’. My ears are no good.” He craned his neck toward the hallway, listening again. “It’s not the dogs, is it?”

Zeke Downing, a new client at the shelter, had brought a bulldog pup named Boss with him when he checked in two weeks ago. The pup had nipped at Charlie’s dog, Sparky, the first day Zeke was here, and Charlie had gone ballistic.

Sparky was a stray that Susan Marlowe, the shelter’s director, let the old vet claim. Susan made Charlie keep the dog chained outside and buy its food out of his VA disability pension. But Charlie loved the mutt, a Labrador mix. Any friend of Sparky’s was a friend of Charlie’s, and any enemy of Sparky better watch out.

More than once, Zeke and Charlie had almost come to blows over the dogs. Bryn thought Sparky could take Boss without much effort, but Zeke was able-bodied and twice the size of Charlie. It would not be a pretty picture if the two men ever actually duked it out.

Charlie’s eyes narrowed. “So help me, if that SOB let that mutt loose again . . .”

“Charlie . . .” She shook her head and feigned a stern look. “You’d better not let Susan hear you use that kind of language.”

“What? Mutt’s not a bad word.”

“You know what I mean.” His smirk made it hard not to laugh. Bryn was mostly teasing, but Susan did have a zero-tolerance policy when it came to cursing.

“I didn’t actually say anything.”

“Yeah, but you know Susan . . . even initials are pushing it with her.”

He rolled his eyes and fanned out his cards.

“I don’t think Zeke’s even here tonight.” She held up a hand, listening for the sound again. “Besides, it doesn’t sound like dogs. Maybe it’s just a siren, but it sounds different . . . more like a squeal. You don’t have a battery going out in your hearing aid, do you?”

Charlie laid down his cards, put his thick pinky finger to his ear, and twisted. “That better?”

She shook her head. “I still hear it.”

“This old building has so many creaks and groans I’m surprised anybody can sleep here. That’s the only good thing about these blame things”—he adjusted the other hearing aid—“I can just turn ’em off.”

The noise didn’t sound quite like distant sirens, but nevertheless, she shot up a quick prayer for her husband the way she always did when she knew he might be out on a run. Guilt pinched her. Adam wasn’t even supposed to be on duty tonight. He was only there because she’d talked him into pulling an extra shift. Ironic, given all the grief she’d thrown at him about the long hours he worked.

With Adam being low man on the totem pole, he always had to work holidays, and too many weekends. Sometimes Bryn wondered why they’d even bothered to get married if they were never going to be together. She thought she would go crazy if she had to spend one more long night alone in their little cracker box of a townhome. That was the whole reason she’d started volunteering here, taken the night shift. And how much worse would it be when they had kids?

The faint noise droned on. She looked at the stained ceiling. “It almost sounds like it’s coming from upstairs.”

Charlie shook his head and a glint of mischief came to his eyes. “Listen, girlie, if you’re just trying to weasel your way out of this game, you can forget it.” He drew another card and wriggled bushy eyebrows at her. “I’m about to clean your clock.”

They took turns drawing and discarding cards in silence, but Bryn kept one ear tuned to the sound. Charlie was right: the noises in this old building had scared her to death the first time she’d worked the late shift. It was probably just the pipes creaking again, but it sounded different somehow tonight.

Susan was in the dining room, sleeping. She’d told Bryn she would take the middle-of-the-night rounds, but Bryn decided she’d do a walk-through as soon as they finished this hand, just to be sure nothing was amiss.

She’d almost forgotten about the noise when a dog started howling outside the building. Charlie’s head shot up. “Now, that I heard. That’s Sparky.” Pressing his forearms to the wheelchair’s armrests and lifting his rear off the seat, he repositioned himself. He picked up his cards, fanned them out in gnarled fingers, then laid them facedown on the cluttered table before maneuvering his chair backward. “I need to go check on him.”

Bryn gave a little growl and jumped up. “Charlie Branson, if I didn’t know better, I’d think you put Sparky up to this. I am one card away from gin!”

He gave a snort. “Don’t you worry, sis. I’ll be right back.”

“Stay here. I’ll go see what’s up.” She scooted around Charlie’s chair and went to peek down the hallway. Nothing appeared out of the ordinary, but she jogged to the end of the hall, fumbling with the key on the lanyard around her neck as she ran. The doors to the shelter—housed in the building’s basement—were locked at eleven each night unless the smokers could talk the volunteers into letting them have one last cigarette before they turned in.

Bryn punched in the code to disable the alarm, unlocked the door, and hurried up the short flight of stairs that led to the street-level parking behind the building. The November air hit her face, and her breath hung in a fog.

Sparky was tied in his usual spot. He yanked at his chain, alternately yipping and howling. Sparky looked like a black Labrador in color and build, but Charlie was proud of the dog’s lack of a pedigree. “He’s a mutt like me . . . Heinz 57,” Charlie told anyone who asked.

Bryn knelt and framed the silky black head in her hands. His ears were on alert and his hackles stood stiff. “Hey, boy,” she crooned. “What’s wrong? Is that mean doggie giving you trouble again? Huh? Is he?”

But Zeke wasn’t on tonight’s sign-in list, and Boss wasn’t tied up out here.

Bryn looked around to see if something else was causing Sparky’s excitement—maybe another animal—but the parking lot was empty except for her car and Susan’s, and the dilapidated old station wagon Tony Xavier lived in during the daylight hours when the shelter was closed.

She shushed Sparky again and stroked his head as he pushed his muzzle into the cup of her hands. But the minute she turned toward the door, he started in yapping again.

She went back and took him by the collar, unclipping the chain. “What’s wrong, fella? You want to go for a little walk?” She scratched his head and panned the parking lot.

Dim light from the lone streetlight at the end of the lot caused the building to cast deep shadows. “You’re okay, boy. Let’s walk a little bit.”

Sparky stood at her side, on alert, his breaths coming short, like he was on the trail of a rabbit.

She tightened her grip on his collar and clicked her tongue like she’d heard Charlie do before he wheeled his chair around the bumpy parking lot, Sparky in tow. She started away from the building, not liking how dark it was out here, and already hearing Adam’s lecture if he found out she was here by herself at two in the morning—if he found out she was here at all. Sparky angled back toward the building.

“What’s wrong, boy? I thought you wanted to go for a walk.”

He kept tugging, so Bryn let him lead her back to the building. Making an odd whimpering noise, he angled toward the door.

“Uh-uh, boy. Sorry. You know you’re not allowed. Come on, now. You go to sleep. Charlie’ll be out in the morning.”

She leaned down to reattach his chain, but at the sudden bleep! bleep! bleep! of an alarm blasting, Sparky shook loose of her and took off around the side of the building. Stupid dog.

But what was going on? She was certain she’d disabled the alarm before she came out.

Leaving the dog, she ran back into the building. “Where’s Susan?” she shouted. Surely all the racket had awakened the director.

“Haven’t seen her. What’s going on?” Charlie wheeled toward her, confusion clouding his face.

“I don’t know. Could it be a fire drill? Do you have those here?” She’d only been volunteering at the shelter for three months, but they’d never had a fire drill while she was on call. Charlie would know, though. He was a fixture here.

He waggled his chin at her. “Drills, yes, but never known ’em to do one at two o’clock in the morning.”

According to Susan, Charlie was the first person they’d taken in when the shelter opened two years ago, and he’d been here ever since, in spite of a policy that discouraged long-term residency.

Charlie made a three-point turn with his chair. “Sparky’s okay?”

“He’s fine, but I took him off his chain, and he got away from me.” She had to shout over the blare of the fire alarms. She didn’t even know where the alarms were . . . where to shut them off. She fought to remember what she’d learned at the training sessions about the procedure in case of fire—and came up blank.

She cast around the hallway, trying to think what to do next. Sixteen clients had signed in tonight, not counting the guys who worked night shift but had called to reserve beds for the night. Why wasn’t anybody awake? This shrieking was enough to wake the dead. But the hallway was empty except for her and Charlie.

She hurried toward the dining room to find Susan. Even if it turned out to be a false alarm, the director would no doubt call the fire in. Susan’s husband was a lieutenant at Station 2—Adam’s boss. If they called it in, Adam would make the run, and he didn’t know Bryn was here.

If he found out . . . She blew out a breath and with it pushed away the memory of the argument they’d had before Adam left for his shift Wednesday. He hadn’t called her once since then. But then, she hadn’t called him either. She sniffed the air and thought she detected a hint of smoke. Bobby. Sneaking another cigarette.

Where was Susan anyway?

“Hang on, Charlie. I’ll be right back.” She headed for the service elevator, breaking into a jog. But a shout brought her up short.

Susan appeared around the corner at the end of the T-shaped hall, racing toward them. “Get everybody out! Get out! Now!” She swept past Bryn and pounded on the door of the shelter’s family quarters, where Linda Gomez and her children slept.

Bryn stared, and for a moment dared to hope Susan was just adding a little urgency to a routine fire drill. But when the director turned to her, Bryn saw panic in her eyes. This was no act.

“What’s going on?” Bryn felt like she was moving through wet concrete.

“The hallway on the second floor is full of smoke,” Susan yelled over her shoulder, running toward the dining room. “Get everybody out. There’s fire somewhere!”

“Fire? Where?” Charlie wheeled down the hallway toward them, cradling a canvas bag.

“Upstairs. Second floor.” Susan pointed down the hallway to where the elevator led up to the shelter’s office space. “I got off the elevator up there and I couldn’t even see.”

“I hope you didn’t ride the elevator back down,” Charlie scolded.

“I didn’t have a choice. I couldn’t see my way down the hall to the stairs.”

Susan was a firefighter’s wife. She knew the fire safety codes. She wouldn’t have used the elevator unless she had no choice.

Panting and coughing, the director pounded on the door to the family quarters again. “Bryn, go check the men’s quarters and make sure everybody is out. I’ll get Linda and the kids up and get the other women out.”

“Charlie, get out of here! Now! You know the plan. We’ll meet outside in the parking lot.”

Bryn looked past Susan. “I was just up there . . . not forty minutes ago. Everything was fine.” She retraced her steps in her mind. She’d just finished charting and filing the new intake forms when Charlie had appeared in the doorway and challenged her to a game of gin rummy. Clients weren’t supposed to be in the office area except for the intake interview or to make a phone call or get their prescription meds out of the locker, but Charlie was almost like an employee and had special privileges.

She searched her brain, trying to remember those last minutes in the office, then riding down in the elevator with Charlie. A hazy image formed and her pulse lurched. Surely she hadn’t forgotten to—

“You didn’t smell smoke when you were up there?” Susan’s voice sounded accusing.

“No. Nothing. Did you, Charlie?” The flood of dread rising inside her took firmer hold.

The veteran shook his head. “No, but my sniffer don’t work too well.”

Susan grabbed the receiver from the phone hanging in the hallway. “I called 9-1-1. Why aren’t they answering that alarm?”

Bryn froze. “You already called it in?” If he wasn’t out on another call, Adam would make the run. And if he discovered her here, she would never hear the end of it.

At the end of the hall, Linda Gomez and her children, all still in their pajamas, scurried toward the shelter’s main entrance.

Susan took charge. “I’ll call again and then get the women out. Bryn, go! You take the men’s wing. Hurry!”

Bryn nodded and crossed the hallway to the men’s section with a new sense of urgency. The musty locker-room odor this wing always seemed to hold deluged her. Half a dozen shapes sat hunkered on cots against the far wall.

“What’s going on?” Tony X alternately clapped his hands over his ears and rubbed his eyes.

“We’ve got a fire in the building. We need to evacuate.” She had to shout over the blare of the alarms.

Bobby, a twenty-something addict whose parents had finally kicked him out of their house, crawled back under the thin blanket and yanked it over his head. “Wake me up when it’s over,” he moaned.

“No, Bobby. This is serious. Get up. Everybody out. Where are the rest of the guys?”

A heavily tattooed man—Bryn couldn’t remember his name—pointed toward the dining room. “Some of them headed for the back exit.”

“Okay . . . okay. Come on guys, move it. Bobby, come on!”

He didn’t argue and trudged after the other men into the hall. Bryn peered into the darkened room. All the beds were empty. A couple of the new guys had gotten on night shift at the plastics plant and, according to the log, they didn’t get off work until three a.m. She glanced at the clock. 2:27. They wouldn’t be coming in for a while.

Out in the hall, Charlie rolled his chair ahead of them, the canvas bag holding all his earthly goods balanced on his lap. The air was still clear, but now another set of smoke alarms kicked in. This time when Bryn inhaled, she clearly smelled smoke.

The crescendo of distant sirens rose from the west—Station 2.

Bryn darted into the game room across the hall and grabbed her purse from the back of the sofa. She looped the narrow strap over her head and slipped an arm through, crossing the strap over her chest. Thank goodness she’d brought it down with her. She usually kept it locked in the office, but tonight she’d brought it downstairs so she’d have her cell phone and change for the vending machine.

She traced her steps back through the doorway only to see Sparky barreling through the back door. The dog skidded to a stop three feet in front of her and gave a high-pitched yelp, then ran back outside, nearly tripping Susan.

Bryn heard Charlie hollering Sparky’s name from outside the door. Good—at least Charlie was safely out. Someone must have helped him maneuver his chair up the rickety makeshift ramp.

Susan scowled. “Why is that dog loose? What are you doing, Bryn? Get out! Is anybody still in the men’s quarters?”

“No. The beds are all empty.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yes. Everybody’s out.”

“Let’s go, then! We’ll do a head count in the parking lot.” Susan motioned for her to follow and ran back toward the entrance.

“I’m right behind you.”

She jogged behind Susan, but a nagging image wouldn’t let her leave the building yet. She had to check . . . had to make sure she was wrong. The minute the director disappeared through the outside door, Bryn wheeled and ran in the other direction down the hallway to the door that opened onto the stairwell.

She turned and pressed her
back against the door. If she
went out there now, Adam
would see her for sure.

© 2010 Deborah Raney

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

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(13)

4 Star

(3)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2013

    Deborah Raney's stories send me to another time, another world.

    Deborah Raney's stories send me to another time, another world. And the narrator of these books is really fabulous.

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  • Posted December 2, 2010

    A Moving Story of Loss and Hope

    Deborah Raney hits the reader right in the heart with Almost Forever, the first book in her new Hanover Falls series. This tender story of the effects of a tragic fire, not only on the two protagonists but on an entire town, is beautifully written. It delves deeply into grief at the loss of a loved one, showing the slow and poignant journey back to life and hope of the survivors. Highly Recommended!

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  • Posted October 19, 2010

    Another great read by Raney

    Almost Forever is the story of a devastating tragedy that resulted in the death of five firefighters. The firefighters' families, as well as the woman whose negligence may have caused the disaster, must deal with the aftermath.

    Raney's characters are rich and real. The struggles they face produce realistic responses. I connected with the characters to the extent that I teared up when they were facing difficulties and celebrated when they triumphed.

    I discovered Deb Raney's books years ago, and I'll continue to be a fan. She knows how to deliver a wonderful story, always with an uplifting message. As usual, she didn't disappoint with the first installment of the Hanover Falls series. Can't wait to read the next one!

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  • Posted September 16, 2010

    Beautiful Blending of Tragedy Into Healing, Unforgiveness Into Friendship, Loss Into Love

    When I open a book by Deborah Raney I expect several things. I expect to be drawn into the lives of the characters from the first page, travel a journey of faith and growth with them, get confused by a few twists and turns in the journey, and believe in the ending. Almost Forever delivered all I expected. The characters, Brynn Hennesey and Garrett Edmonds, lost their spouses in the same tragic fire. Mourning brings them together, friendship grows until secrets and the revelation of a horrible accident threaten to destroy the friendship and halt the healing. It is no wonder Deborah's books have won so many awards. This one will probably follow suit. Grab the book, a cozy blanket, and curl up for a great read.

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  • Posted September 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Almost Forever is a touching story of forgiveness and mercy.

    Bryn's firefighter husband, Adam, dies in a fire that consumes the homeless shelter where Bryn volunteers. Besides the death of Adam and four other firefighters, the shelter is totally destroyed. Investigators have only questions -- no answers -- on how the fire started. Only one person knows and tries to unknowingly bury the truth. Will the truth be revealed? A touching story of love and forgiveness. I gave this story four stars because I thought it dragged in a few places. But overall, I thought Deborah Raney wrote a very good story. I would recommend this to my friends.

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  • Posted July 10, 2010

    Can't Put It Down

    Really stayed up late to read this book and loved every minute of it! Great from start to finish and can't wait to read more in next books. The characters are people who I wanted to know what would happen to them and I cared about them. The story also shares the importance of homeless shelters and serving those in need. Add in a huge fire, great losses, a secret, and God's guidance, a great book--a favorite Raney book! Husband and I both think it was one of her best and can't wait for more!

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  • Posted May 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Bryn Hennesey, is a volunteer at the Grove Street Homeless Shelter who uses her free time in the evening to avoid being lonely while her husband Adam works the late shift for the fire department.

    He has sternly told Bryn that he doesn't working at the shelter any longer due to the recent attack there of another female volunteer.

    He has gotten a bit more protective of her in the last few weeks as they have begun to have serious discussions of starting a family of their own. Yet Bryn has a sense of belonging there in helping the many homeless people, who due to reasons beyond their control in this economy and tough times have found themselves with no place to go.

    Yet tonight will change all their lives forever in one split second when a fire breaks out in the shelter. Since Adam is on duty that night, his station was the first to respond. Bryn doesn't want him to know she is there and hides among those evacuating the shelter. She sees him enter the building with 4 other fire fighters and trusts that he will make it out just fine like all the other times she has faced the fear of his dangerous job.

    Suddenly the building collaspes in an explosion and Bryn has to face the fact that no one could have survived that including her husband Adam. That night five heroric firefighters died at the scene and like the rest of the surviving spouses, Bryn must find a way to begin again. But Bryn must do so living with a horrible secret...

    Garret Edmond's wife Molly, was the only female firefighter to perish in the blaze. As her husband, it was his job to protect the woman he loved...How can he go on in the face of such unbearable loss and guilt?

    And what started the fire that destroyed the dreams and futures of so many? Investigators are stumped. But someone knows the answer...

    In her first novel, Almost Forever by Deborah Raney, you find yourself in the midst of the surviving spouses and learn how they begin to try and put the pieces of their shattered lives back together while the search for who started the fire continues. She was also the author of another great book I reviewed awhile back," Beneath A Southern Sky".

    I was honored to review this book, compliments of Glass Road Publications, and must say, it was a nail biter from beginning to end. It had me flipping pages as fast I could read them and had me crying during some parts. You discover how God's love can heal all things and understand that even when things like death happen, God can restore it all and make it work out for the best.

    If you would like to know more about this book, the author and even how to purchase a copy, please click on the link below.

    http://www.deborahraney.com/

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  • Posted May 27, 2010

    A Great Read!

    I really enjoyed reading Almost Forever. It's very well written. I was immediately drawn into the story and stayed that way till the very end.

    It's a rather emotionally riveting book. I experienced a roller coaster of emotions as I read it; I cried, agonized, laughed, experienced joy. Overall, I am in awe that the writer had created such a beautiful story as this one.

    As I finished the story, I just sat there and let the whole experience sink in. It's that kind of an experience and those kind of books are the ones I truly enjoy reading!

    Many thanks to Glass Roads Public Relations for sending me this book to review.

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  • Posted May 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Almost Forever A Story Of Faith And Forgiveness

    Deborah Raney in her new book, "Almost Forever" Book One in the Hanover Falls series published by Howard Books introduces us to the small town of Hanover Falls and the wonderful people who live there.

    In an effort to avoid the lonely house when her firefighter husband, Adam, has to work through the night, Bryn Hennesey volunteers at the Grove Street Homeless Shelter. Just as she is about to win at a card game with a shelter resident fire breaks out. Bryn and the Director rush to get everyone out of the building as the Fire Department with her husband show up to battle the blaze. Five firefighters die in the blaze including Adam and Molly, the only female firefighter. Now the survivors and the town must begin the mourning and go through the process on the road to healing.

    However, this healing process will be a little slow as there are questions as to the cause of the fire and Garrett Edmonds, the husband of Molly, wants the answers so he can know the truth and move on. Bryn doesn't want the answers as she might know the real cause of the fire and she doesn't want the truth made known. As Bryn and Garrett begin the steps to a relationship what will happen when the truth is finally found out?

    This book is all about relationships and how these relationships can affect those we come in contact with. It is a book about forgiveness: forgiveness of others and even ourselves. It is a story about faith and redemption where redemption does not seem possible.

    All the characters are likable and Ms. Raney has a way of making the characters lives very real so that we feel that we are living the moments with them. I, for one, am looking forward to book two in the series.

    To listen to 24 Christian music please visit our internet radio station www.kingdomairwaves.org

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Howard Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted May 26, 2010

    Don't judge a book by the cover

    Bryn Hennesey works as a volunteer at the Grove Street Homeless Shelter in Hanover Falls. She is staying up late one night playing cards with one of the residents - Charlie - when a fire starts at the shelter. One of the firefighters responding to the fire is her husband. For many reasons, the fire spreads quickly and the shelter is destroyed.

    Five firefighters died in the fire. Among those that died are Bryn's husband, the husband of the homeless shelter director, and a female firefighter named Molly.

    Bryn's sadness over loosing her husband is multiplied by the fact that she thinks she knows something about the fire that nobody else does. As the town and families grieve their losses, Bryn struggles to decide if she should share her knowledge.

    As months pass and things seem to be getting back to normal, new information about the fire comes out that changes many things.

    Almost Forever tells the story of how the town and survivors deal with the tragedy. It also tells of how the faith of some of the survivors help them go on with life.

    I did enjoy reading this book even though I normally prefer books with a little more action. Some parts of the book seemed to move a little slow even for this type of novel.

    Since four and a half stars is not possible, I will give Almost Forever five stars.

    *** Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Glass Road Public Relations, LLC <www.GlassRoadPR.com> as one of their GRPR bloggers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."***

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  • Posted May 22, 2010

    ALMOST FOREVER by Deborah Raney

    I am a huge Deborah Raney fan and her latest book; ALMOST FOREVER The book portrayed Bryn's guilt for the death of 5 firefighters with clarity and depth. Bryn Hennesey is a volunteer at the Grove Street Homeless Shelter in Hanover Falls. When the shelter catches on fire one night, killing five firefighters including Bryn's husband Adam, Bryn is left with sadness and guilt. "Almost forever" is a novel that explores honesty, faith, character, love and forgiveness. I believed all the motives behind the actions and loved the romance that was sprinkled through the story.

    Bryn "Bry" is very good friends with one of the shelter's residents Charlie, he is a Vietnam veteran and in a wheel chair, she and Charlie was playing gin when the fire alarms went off. They were all to meet and wait in the parking lot until everyone was accounted for. As always the media with there camera were up in all the wives and husband of the Hero's faces. They would no leave any of them alone as they tried to face who they had lost.

    Garrett Hammond's wife Molly was one of the "Heroes" in the in fire. The grieving Garrett turns to Bry for comfort. The pair realizes they have deep feelings for one another but something in her past may cause him to turn his back on her. The story line is embedded with many moral issues that will have readers reconsider their values, as respect and understanding of others are critical in any relationship.

    As I started to read this book another tragedy came to mind that is so near the same thing this story is about. CHARLESTON, S.C. - Fire swept through a furniture warehouse, collapsing its roof and killing nine firefighters inside -- the nation's deadliest single disaster for firefighters since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. I live in SC so this book was really good read to me.

    This book was sent to me by Glass Roads publisher in order for me to post a review with no obligations for a postive review.

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  • Posted May 15, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Beautiful Deborah Raney Novel!

    It is no secret that I am a huge Deborah Raney fan and her latest book, ALMOST FOREVER does not disappoint.
    The story is about love, betrayal and guilt, all rolled up into one tension building story. What I loved so much about this story and all of Raney's books, are the redemptive themes. The book portrayed Bryn's guilt for the death of 5 firefighters with clarity and depth. And the responses to life's mistakes that ripple through other's lives and just what happens when one careless action affects an entire town
    Reading this book was like coming home. The book deals with the human condition in a way that the reader actually feels their lives unfold. I believed all the motives behind the actions and loved the romance that was sprinkled through the story.
    It got tense about half way through the book and I was anxious for the characters and what would happen to them.
    It felt well researched and I loved every minute. Like being wrapped in a warm blanket, ALMOST FOREVER drew me in and tugged on my heart strings. A true keeper.
    This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the author for my copy to review.

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  • Posted May 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Did She Blow Out The Candle?

    Raney's first book in the Hanover Series is another spellbinder.

    Did Bryn Hennessey forget to blow out that candle? Her husband wasn't supposed to be on duty the night of the fire, but she persuaded him to work so that she could volunteer at the homeless shelter. Later that evening she stared at five sheet-covered bodies of firefighters who died in a horrendous fire. One of them was her husband.

    The five widows band together to cope with the tragedy and make sense of their lives. Garrett and Bryn are drawn together until they find true romance, but isn't it just too soon? Regardless, the feelings between the two cannot be ignored. Nor can Bryn shush the haunting memory that could leave her holding the blame for the five deaths.

    Deb Raney and her husband live in their native Kansas with their four children, where she has produced award winning novels from the first one.

    You'll like this story, whether you're 10 or 110.

    Review by Audrey Hebbert, M.A., author of Green Light Red Light.

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  • Posted April 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    entertaining

    In Hanover Falls on November first, late at night, Bryn Hennesey plays cards with a resident at the homeless shelter, wheelchair-bound Vietnam veteran Charlie Branson. Bryn feels guilty because she hasn't told her husband that she is still volunteering at the shelter even though he does not want her hanging with criminals and addicts.

    While they are playing cards, she hears a siren sound in the background, which suddenly gets much louder. It is the fire department coming to put out the fire in the shelter. As they evacuate the building, the firefighters including her husband, Adam, rush into the inferno to insure all the residents are out. After the fire is put out, the building collapses killing several firefighters including the husband of Bryn and Garrett Edmonds' wife Molly. The grieving Garrett turns to Bryn for comfort. The pair realize they have deep feelings for one another but something in her past may cause him to turn his back on her.

    Besides being an entertaining novel, the story line is embedded with many moral issues that will have readers reconsider their values as respect and understanding of others are critical in any relationship. Bryn is a wonderful person who volunteers to help the needy at personal cost and risk. The survivor guilt she feels almost cripples her but time and Garrett's empathy help her heal. Deborah Raney makes her second chance at life work because the audience believes that her lead couple is real.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

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    Posted June 9, 2011

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