Sunday, July 12, 2009

Healing the Boss's Heart

Valerie Hansen
Contemporary Inspirational Romance
Steeple Hill Books

With Valerie Hansen’s Healing the Boss’s Heart, the folks at Steeple Hill have launched a unique miniseries of romance novels they have titled After the Storm (a Kansas community unites to rebuild). All six books deal with how the people in High Plains, Kansas cope with the aftermath of a killer tornado, the worst one since “the big one in 1860.”

Healing the Boss’s Heart begins with the tornado scene, unsuspecting lives lofted into nature’s take-no-prisoners maelstrom. Hansen introduces the main characters as the life-threatening events unfold with a fury. Greg Garrison, a wealthy businessman in town, was thought of as being rather stiff and unreachable. The tornado made a rapid change in him. He rescued an orphan boy and even spent quite a bit of time looking for his dog. He made resources available from his hardware store to help out the people and the church.

Maya Logan, Greg Garrison’s secretary, was not only in shock because of the tornado but also by the changes in formal, sober, Mr. Garrison. He helped her and her daughter get situated with an open heart and kindness, expecting nothing in return. Others noticed the difference in him, too. Especially those who knew his father who was generally quite unpleasant and looked down on others, including his own son.

While High Plains, Kansas, had many losses from the tornado, it also experienced gains in the closeness and helpfulness of the people. Some good seems to come from everything.

While this series is tied together by the worst tornado since the Civil War, just like the cover illustration of Healing the Boss’s Heart, none of the titles trade on the storm’s inherent drama. The final book, Kathryn Springer’s Jingle Bell Babies, wraps the series in December with the storm nowhere in evidence. Just like with most good series books, the story in each novel appears to be dramatically valid in its own right. That means you can join the series in progress, with any title at any time; but if the drama of the killer tornado stirs your heart (no pun intended) and you’re intrigued how such an event might stir the lives of the people living in High Plains, starting at the beginning is never a bad plan.

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