cover image Beyond the Gathering Storm

Beyond the Gathering Storm

Janette Oke. Bethany House Publishers, $11.99 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-7642-2400-3

Oke, whose evangelical Christian romances have sold 19 million copies worldwide, here presents the romantic lives of an adopted brother and sister in pre-WWI western Canada. Duty calls Henry, a sensitive and kind Mountie, to inform a young logger's wife that her husband has been killed in an accident. The woman's tragic loss haunts Henry, who wonders for years afterward what became of her and her infant son. Assigned to a new beat five years later, he rediscovers Amber and gains her trust--and eventually her heart--by offering his calm and steady assistance as she copes with another near-tragedy. Meanwhile, Henry's younger sister, Christine, off to work as a secretary in the big city of Edmonton, experiences her own loves and losses. Courted by the boss's temperamental, randy son, the saintly Christine has to fend off the traditional temptations of her suitor's fast friends, late evenings and penchant for alcohol. She and the boss's son become engaged, but his mercurial outbursts only worsen, occasionally erupting in violence (the novel anachronistically refers to Christine as ""physically abused""). A heartbroken Christine breaks off the engagement, sadder but wiser. Oke covers little new ground in this latest historical Christian romance, though she paints a fairly realistic portrait of a controlling, abusive man, and refrains from tidying up the novel by having Christine fall for someone more suitable. (July)