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400 pages
Mar 2009
Howard Books

Yesterday's Embers

by Deborah Raney

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Deborah Raney tackles a hard subject in her new book Yesterday’s Embers as she writes about moving on after losing a loved one. Is it love lost, love gained, or love in flames? Doug DeVore finds himself widowed with five children and feeling helpless when it comes to picking up the pieces of his life. The issue becomes even more complicated when Doug falls in love with the children’s daycare teacher, Mickey Valdez.

Raney begins the tale with a gut-wrenching blow when Doug’s wife Kaye and daughter Rachel die unexpectedly on Thanksgiving Day. Shortly after his wife’s death, Doug enters into a whirlwind romance with Mickey. They soon discover they are in way over their heads. Doug is a passionate man, a loving father, and a devoted husband. But seeking relief from his grief, he ignores his internal cautions. Similarly, Mickey is so thrilled finally to find love, she doesn’t consider the emotional cost of instantly becoming a mother to five grieving children. Both of these characters seem desperate to find someone to make them whole, while lacking the common sense and maturity to weigh matters rationally.

I finished Yesterday’s Embers feeling rather frustrated and somewhat dissatisfied. The frenetic switching between the different points of view became tedious after half a dozen chapters. The characters are likeable enough, but not completely three-dimensional. A redeeming quality is how the book explores the process of learning how to grieve through intense emotional pain and suffering. The plot of the book reminded me of a passage in 2 Corinthians 4: 7-8, in which it says that love comes in earthen vessels. It’s painful, but God allows the pain in order to express his power.

If you are looking for a laid back, soft story that is easy to read, this is not it. I would recommend the book for adult readers who are mature enough to handle the difficult themes and patient enough to look past the book’s stylistic shortcomings. – Emily Bennett,

Book Jacket:

On Thanksgiving Day, Douglas DeVore kissed his beloved wife good-bye, unaware that it would be the last time he'd see her -- or their precious daughter Rachel. Left with five kids to raise on his own, and already juggling two jobs to make ends meet, Doug wonders how he'll manage moment by moment, much less day after day, without Kaye's love and support.

When Mickey Valdez, a daycare teacher, hears of the tragedy, she offers to lend a helping hand. After all, it isn't like she has a family of her own waiting for her at home. Her brothers are all happily married, but love seems to have passed her by.

Then a spark ignites...but will the flame be too hot to handle?