Beneath a Southern Sky by Deborah Raney

What to say…I loved this book.

Deborah Raney is a gifted writer and brings such raw emotion to her characters they almost feel real. The book offers rich detail but does a good job keeping the mundane details at bay so the reader doesn’t get bored. I was so emotionally connected to Daria, Cole and Nate that I couldn’t decide a proper outcome for them. Most of the story is told through Daria’s perspective but elegantly flows to Nate and Cole when needed. The shifting perspectives brought necessary depth to connect to the men involved in this dilemma. Because of the synopsis of the book we the reader know what Daria is going to face, but yet she doesn’t know until mid-way through the book.51Z9Xdu9fhL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

While the relationship with Cole is progressing, your thinking NO DARIA- Nate is ALIVE, but we travel down this new marriage with her just waiting for Nate to show back up. Not to mention Natalie, the baby Daria had from Nate is now connecting with Cole and calling him daddy. So we see not only Cole and Daria falling in love, but Natalie falling in love with Cole as well, adding to the heartbreak we know that’s coming. Daria is so focused on moving on and falling in love she misses and ignores all the little things going on around her. Vivid dreams of Nate start to trouble her sleep, letters from the missionary field begging her back make their way into her mailbox. The deep gut feeling that she should wait and take things slow with Cole –ignored- As God tries to drop hints all around her she’s put her foot down and will not listen to her heart’s warning.

Daria marries Cole and settles into a new married life happy and distant to her faith. When Nate finally does reenter the book- the reunion is agonizing and knowing the heartbreak Cole is going through, makes the reader suffer right along with them. One thing that struck me about this book was the core strength being love and not so much the circumstances. I loved the honesty of the characters especially in Daria. She truly loves Cole and has moved on from her grief over Nate. The marriage is happy but not perfect and when the two fight- it’s real and they express real inner feelings. I found that refreshing for a romance novel that her characters are not these flawless people who gaze in each other’s eyes every second- they are normal people facing big problems and make huge mistakes!Evan_reading_AnneLamott_still01

When Daria see’s Nate all her love from that marriage comes rushing back and she is overwhelmed by the possibility of living life with him, big problems and huge heartbreak is on the horizon for our characters. The ending was shocking, and only because I had no idea how Daria was going to choose, the outcome was -for me- so heartbreaking but yet so brave, the decision finally made will drew beautiful parallels between the love story told and the love story of Christianity.

I would recommend this to anyone who loves romance, no language or graphic sex scenes, there are plenty of references to sex and adult situations in the book but stays wholesome throughout.

4/5 Christian Romance

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