Then Came Heaven

LaVyrle Spencer, Author
LaVyrle Spencer, Author Putnam $24.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-399-14369-4
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7871-1676-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 9 pages - 978-0-7871-1677-4
Hardcover - 441 pages - 978-1-56895-535-3
Hardcover - 978-1-56865-569-7
Hardcover - 376 pages - 978-0-7089-9139-8
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-59040-047-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-57815-556-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-57815-300-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 343 pages - 978-0-515-12462-0
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-425-19576-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 368 pages - 978-0-515-14085-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 368 pages - 978-0-515-15077-3
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-101-53766-4
Paperback - 347 pages - 978-0-425-26095-1
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Set in 1950, in Spencer's (Small Town Girl) hometown of Browerville, Minn., this gentle tale of forbidden love (which Spencer says will be her ""last book"") brings together a nun and a widower. St. Joseph's Church janitor Eddie Olczak and his saintly wife, Krystyna, are pillars of Browerville's Polish community; their two daughters are the favorite pupils of Sister Regina, one of the Benedictine nuns who teach at St. Joseph's school. But then Krystyna is killed when a train hits her car at a crossing. As Eddie, with the help of his large family, manages to put his life back together and take care of the girls, Sister Regina finds that her feelings for Eddie go beyond nunnish sympathy. The Mother Superior of St. Joseph's notes it, too, and warns Sister Regina not to let herself be distracted from her religious duties. Meanwhile, Eddie and Sister Regina keep meeting up in potentially compromising ways. The good Sister questions her vow of chastity, and Eddie continues to seek out Sister Regina's companionship. After a struggle, she applies to the pope for dispensation to leave her order. Dispensation comes--but with the condition that Sister Regina leave without goodbyes, and so Eddie and his girls feel Regina's loss as another terrible blow. But, of course, love conquers all in this traditional romance. Despite a slow and achingly predictable plot, the vivid people and attentive rendering of Browerville bring this story to life. With this avowed swan song, Spencer exits the romance stage with a characteristically pleasing novel filled with leisurely charm and balmy emotion. (Dec.)
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