Sunday, October 4, 2009

Through the Fire by Diane Noble

Through the Fire Cover

Through the Fire
by Diane Noble

Hardback: 248 pages
Publisher: Guideposts
First Released: 2007

Author Website

Source: Checked out from the library

Back Cover Description:
When Kate and Paul Hanlon leave their home in San Antonio to take over the pastorate of Faith Briar Church, they are excited about embracing the small town way of life. But when they arrive in Copper Mill to see their new church in flames and evidence shows that the fire was not an accident, Kate sets out to discover who is behind it. As she investigates, she makes friends in town, and threatening phone calls, mysterious packages and a life-and-death chase only make her more certain she is on the right path. Meanwhile, Paul struggles to keep the wounded church together. How will they rebuild? Was moving here a big mistake? As they seek God's wisdom, the folks of Copper Mill discover that hope can rise out of ashes and lead to glorious new life.

Through the Fire is a fun and charming cozy mystery. I liked that the mystery, for once, didn't involve a dead body.

The characters were entertaining and good humored. Kate and her friends weren't unusually clever, but they definitely were determined! The pacing was very good, and I loved how the author depicted small-town life. It reminded me of my little town. :)

There was a lot of Christian stuff (Bible study, prayer, God talk, etc.) in this book, but it wasn't preachy. I liked that Kate and Paul had a close relationship with God that was much like mine.

A few very minor nit-picks: The author's notion of what's involved in visiting someone in jail (even in a small town) was very inaccurate. Also, Ms. Noble never did actually explain how someone could send Kate an e-mail with no "From" or origin information. (To my knowledge, that isn't possible, but I admit I could be wrong.) Also, the bell went through a fire so intense that it burned the building to the ground and then the bell dropped the distance of the bell tower. I'm pretty certain the bell's structural integrity would be damaged and, at the very least, it wouldn't maintain the same tone as before the fire. I'll admit it made for a poetic ending, though.

There was no bad language or sex. Overall, I'd recommend this novel as enjoyable, clean reading.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
Kate Hanlon smoothed her skirt, straightened the buttons on her periwinkle cardigan, and adjusted the silver drop-pendant at her neck. With a sigh, she flipped down the visor mirror and fussed with her strawberry-blonde collar-length hair in an attempt to tame the frizz brought on by the mist outside the car.

Her husband, Paul, who was driving Kate's Honda Accord, grinned. "I can tell how close to Copper Mill we're getting by how often you do that."

"The sighing or the primping?"

He laughed. "Both."

"As my mother used to say, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression."

On either side of the narrow road, thick stands of hickories, hemlocks, ashes, and maples were just beginning to turn vibrant oranges, reds, and browns. Since dawn, when they first turned off the main highway into the hill country, a light fog had wrapped itself around the trees, causing the leaves to drip and the scent of damp, loamy soil to drift into the car.

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