Abigail Durham, owner of a brand new hair salon, spent last night dancing at her friend’s bachelorette party, where she met a total hunk of a guy. She’ll never see him again, of course, because she doesn’t frequent night clubs. Too bad she didn’t even get his name.
Justin Girard is new to the slow-paced Midwest, but that doesn’t mean the town of Rawston is unpretentious. As a volunteer for the town’s Quilt Fair, it’s his job to let the hair salon owner know that her plans for a food cart for the fair does not meet specifications.
Sparks fly when Abby and Justin meet for the second time, but before they can decide whether it’s love-at-first-sight or time-for-battle, the tornado everyone’s been ignoring careens into town. Abby and Justin find refuge in a commercial cooler with a small group of other Rawstoners, emerging a while later to find total devastation all around them. The town has been all but flattened.
Groups of survivors begin to gather, trying to find their loved ones. As Abby wanders through the war zone, she finds scraps of fabrics: a piece of a wedding dress, part of a baby’s blanket, a scrap of a dog bed. Why is she alive when so many have died? How can a loving God allow such tragedy? Does she have a right to love and happiness when others are grieving?
With the help of her great-aunt and Justin, Abby begins to create a quilt from the scraps the tornado left behind. Can her life be pieced back together?
Beyond the Storm is a slightly unusual contemporary romance story in that there are many point-of-view characters all battling with the tornado and its aftermath. I’ve never lived through a natural disaster (tornado or other), but this novel felt like a true story none-the-less. I can totally imagine the “survivor’s guilt” and the various other emotions these characters wrestled with.
This is the first novel in a new series called Quilts of Love put out by Abingdon Press. There will be a new quilt-themed novel available every month for the next two years or so, so if you’re a quilter who loves to read (or a reader who loves to quilt!) you’ll want to keep a close eye on this series.
Carolyn Zane is the best selling, award-winning author of more than thirty novels for three publishers: Random House/Waterbrook Press, Multnomah Publishing and Harlequin/Silhouette where her sales numbers consistently finished strong. Her writing has earned numerous awards, including the prestigious Kay Snow Award and a Moondance nod for her screenplay.
Carolyn lives with her husband, Matt, and their 5 children and 3 dogs in the scenic Willamette Valley in Oregon.
I received an e-copy of this novel via NetGalley. Opinions are, as always, mine alone.