Publication Date: 02/04/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Genre: Western Historical Romance
(Received for an honest review from Signet)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound
Catherine Anderson on the WEB: website, twitter, facebook, goodreads
Excerpt from, Walking on Air, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.
From “incomparable” (Fresh Fiction) author Catherine Anderson comes a novel of lost souls, second chances, and love everlasting....
Random, Colorado, is just another stop on the road for solitary gunslinger Gabriel Valance. Known for his drinking, gambling, and womanizing, he prefers to remain a stranger to anyone who crosses his path. But when an upstart gunslinger catches Gabe off guard and shoots him down, he regrets his empty, lonely life with his dying breath....
Golden-haired beauty Nancy Hoffman settled in Random after fleeing an abusive past. Caring for her younger sister and working in a hat shop help her to forge ahead, though she remains fearful and mistrustful of men—and marriage....
Their paths will cross when Gabe gets a second chance at life and a divine mission: to sweep Nancy off her feet, gain her trust, and convince her to believe in his love. And in doing so, the once-hardened cowboy may save himself....
Catherine Anderson's new book, Walking on Air is first book in her new Valance family series. This book is a real genre-bender. It has Western historical elements as well as inspirational components and a bit of the paranormal. The underlying theme of redemption and putting others first is refreshing and the circumstances are certainly original. Anderson takes her time with these characters and delivers a great Christmas themed romance that will have readers remembering what it means to forget about themselves and put others first. A great start to a new series.
What I liked:
This is my first Catherine Anderson book, but it certainly won't be my last. I was not sure what to expect. I couldn't tell from the cover what the book was really about. When I read the blurb I was again surprised to find that it was historical in nature and when I actually got into the reading of the book I was even more taken aback by the somewhat paranormal aspect of the book. Basically, you have a gunslinger who meets his maker and gets a second chance to get into heaven. All he has to do is change the life of a woman with a tragic past. Sound like an easy thing? Definitely not.
Anderson hints at Charles Dickens with this novel. She gives readers a main character who needs redemption not unlike Scrooge. She uses angels to show him how he can change and puts him in the path of people he can help. I loved the nod to the classic Christmas tale. The setting for Walking on Air was also that magical time between Thanksgiving and Christmas and that helped to solidify the story and give it an air of sweetness and romance. Anderson also gives a nod to one of the great Western movies, Liberty Valance, by giving her lead character the same surname. I liked all of the ties that bound this novel together, it made it just that much more enjoyable.
Gabriel is a man who never cared for anyone but himself and now he finds himself in a situation that requires he look at life in a different way. He only has 30 days to change Nan's life and what really happens is that in turn she changes him as well. He is looking for redemption a way to atone for a wicked past but what he doesn't realize is that he enjoys the new man he is becoming. Once he starts to help people, it's contagious, even if it not within the guidelines of his mission. He begins to see the joy of putting others before his own self, even if it means that his redemption isn't what he expected. I loved him. What a great character. He showed a kindness and caring side of himself that I never would have thought he could possess from the early part of the book. Anderson was showing readers a real diamond in the rough kind of man. A great character!
Nan was a little stuffy for my tastes in some ways. She was ll buttoned up and didn't know how to enjoy her time with a man. But she started to loosen up and readers find that it's her past that has made her this way. She had an abusing father and was almost raped by an unwanted suitor. Now all she cares about is protecting her sister and running away from the past. However, Gabriel's entrance into her life changes the very fabric of her existence. Together they can both see their life as a family and they long to have that chance.
It was a great holiday themed romance that had me thinking about how much enjoyment I get out of helping others as well. It is often a difficult time for people who are financially strapped or who have lost family members. I just kept thinking of all the people Gabriel was able to help and it put a smile on my face and made me want to do that same. It doesn't matter what the season is, there is always someone who needs a change, some help, or even a kind word. I'm glad this novel was quick to remind of that. There were also some inspirational elements to this story. It is billed as mainstream historical romance, but there are definitely some moments any inspirational writer would be proud of.
What I didn't like:
I was a little taken aback by the fact that this book was so hard to categorize. I wasn't even really sure how to represent the genre. Like I said, it's definitely a genre bender, but it is also a very poignant and beautiful love story set in the Old West. You read it and be the judge.
This is a historical romance that has a little bit of everything included from the paranormal to the inspirational. Anderson has written a sweet love story, with a fantastic link to the classics and one that will have readers thinking about the checks and balances of their own lives. A great first book in a new series. Can't wait to see where we go from here.
Walking on Air is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
Catherine Anderson lives in the pristine woodlands of Central Oregon. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Sid, and is the author of more than thirty bestselling and award-winning historical and contemporary romances, including the Harrigan Family Novels, the Coulter Family Contemporaries and Coulter Family Historicals, and the Comanche Series.
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