Immersing herself in the fictional town of Hanover Falls for almost four years, Deborah Raney is left a little bereft having completed her trilogy.
The origins of the Hanover Falls series began when Deborah’s husband left a newspaper clipping on the kitchen table. “It was an account of a fire that, in an instant, took the lives of nine firefighters from the same South Carolina city,” she shares. “As I read their tragic stories and thought about what life might look like for the loved ones of those firefighters in the weeks and months to come, the Hanover Falls novels began to take form in my mind.”
The final novel, After All (Howard Books), begins 18 months after the loss of five Hanover Falls firefighters—a story of healing and love, but not your usual 20-something romance. “I love writing romance about older couples,” Deborah explains. “I think mature romantic love comes far closer to being a reflection of the love God has for us. Not that giddy, somewhat unrealistic passion we feel when we’re falling in love for the first time—though that’s wonderful, too!—but the kind of love that takes comfort and security in the commitment that undergirds it. That’s the kind of love that lasts.”
Deborah also explores the question of how one forgives someone who is no longer alive to say that they are sorry. “In our humanness we want closure for every difficult situation—but this side of heaven, that’s not always possible.” Her wish is that the message in After All offers great hope for those who might be struggling in their own lives.
The thread of redemption runs through all Deborah’s novels, from Christ’s death on the cross but also the way God redeems every sorrow and loss in our lives. Yet Deborah surmises, “Possibly the most wonderful redemption is found in learning to forgive as we’ve been forgiven, and in having the chance to love again.”