My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing
This handsome firefighter makes a living coming to the rescue, but Gin doesn't need a man to fight her battles.
After Raine's dad walked out, Ginevieve Lightly never lived in one place too long, a rambling lifestyle that defined her daughter's youth. When their car dies in Banister Falls, Wisconsin, Gin promises Raine they can stay until she finishes her senior year of high school. Gin will do anything to make sure her daughter has a bright future . . . a future that's compromised when Raine reveals she's pregnant.
Dan Moretti has only ever called Banister Falls home. After losing his best friend in a tragic accident, Dan devoted himself to responding to fires, rescuing the helpless, and guiding Cody Bennett, his best friend's son, through life. With Cody being the epitome of the good kid, it was an easy job. Until he says four little words: The baby is mine.
Knowing gossip of Raine's pregnancy will erupt sooner or later in the small town, Gin's reflex is to grab the suitcase and escape to a new city, a new life. But with each passing day, Gin's feet stay rooted in Banister Falls, and she falls a little more for this local firefighter who shows her not all men abandon women at the first sign of smoke.
As Gin and Dan do the best they can to guide the two teenagers through their early entry into adulthood, they discover together that romance can bloom in the rockiest of situations. And God can turn the pieces of a broken past into a beautiful new beginning.
I loved the themes in this story of accepting consequences, looking for the good in others, and unconditional love and friendship. I got to know the characters in this book when I read the sequel first (I seem to be doing that a lot lately...) so reading this was like visiting old friends and discovering new stories about them. I would recommend reading them in order if you can, though ;) I liked seeing how Gin's upbringing directly influenced her attitudes but she was willing to change and try for the sake of her daughter. The steadiness of Dan's character is huge for both Gin and Raine, and as they become included under the shelter of his protective nature, he is an example of Christlike love to them. It was interesting to have the younger perspective of Cody and Raine as well as the adults; it made for a richer and more rounded telling of the story and all the emotions from various perspectives. The changing point of view never felt unbalanced and was skillfully woven as the plot unfolded. A heartfelt story of choices, consequences, and blessings.
(Thank you to Zondervan Publishing for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)