cover image Over the Waters

Over the Waters

Deborah Raney, . . Steeple Hill, $12.95 (329pp) ISBN 978-0-373-78543-8

Raney (Beneath a Southern Sky ) submits a poignant inspirational romance about a doctor's change of heart and a woman's realignment of her dreams set against the backdrop of poverty-stricken Haiti. In the Chicago suburbs, Dr. Max Jordan builds a lucrative business giving Botox injections to wealthy women while fuming over his son Joshua's "wasted" charity work in Haiti with orphans. After Joshua's death, Jordan flies to Haiti to try to understand why his son chose to spend his talents and life there. While volunteering at the orphanage, Jordan meets the lovely Valerie Austin, whose broken engagement and frustrated longing for children has led her to Haiti. Sparks fly, and soon Jordan is re-examining his life's work and his refusal to share his son's Christian faith. The novel has flaws, including a contrived conversion scene and some flat characters. Raney also has a penchant for overdoing the adverbs and adjectives ("The tabletops were artfully arranged with softly lit lamps that illumined tasteful sculptures commissioned by a local artisan"). Despite these troubles, the story clips along at an even pace, and Raney admirably leaves some loose ends dangling. Evangelical Christian readers who like a strong moral message at the center of their fiction should enjoy this novel. (Oct.)