Desert Isle Keeper
A Rush of Wings
A Rush of Wings sat on my TBR pile all summer long. I’m embarrassed to say that I put off reading it because I didn’t think it would be very good. My luck with inspirationals has been rather poor of late. But I was wrong. Quite, quite wrong. This is the best inspirational romance I believe I’ve ever read.
Noelle St. Claire arrives at Rick Spencer’s ranch out of the clear blue one day. A not entirely remembered incident has sent her running out of the sphere of her wealthy, overprotective father’s influence. Determined to be anonymous, she rides the bus until she feels she’s run enough. And at the end of the trail are Rick Spencer and his charismatic brother, Morgan.
Neither Morgan nor Rick knows what to make of Noelle. Obviously she comes from money and privilege. She’s a horsewoman, an accomplished pianist, and a watercolor artist. But she’s also a broken vessel, debilitated by semi-regular panic attacks. Morgan tries to cajole and romance Noelle out of her shell, but Rick leaves her to heal on the beauty of his Colorado ranch and the peace of a protected environment. He is amused to see how ineffectual the normally irresistible Morgan is with Noelle, but for the most part, he doesn’t take note of Noelle until she’s firmly embedded her non-believing self into his world, and then he doesn’t know what to do. Helping her further means becoming more emotionally entwined with her – which seems both painful and impractical – but he can’t seem to stop himself.
This book works beautifully well in both areas an inspirational romance must excel. It’s both a good story and an inspirational one. From the moment Noelle arrived at the ranch, I was hooked. Heitzmann drew out the suspense of what happened to Noelle very slowly and effectively. Noelle doesn’t have amnesia. She remembers everything except a few pivotal moments in her life. But those moments, unfortunately, are everything. Further complicating things, what Noelle does remember of herself, she doesn’t like. She hates how dependent she was on her father and how controlled and fenced in her life was. She determines that she won’t ever be that submissive to anyone again.
But this is a difficult resolution to make when you’re a young woman with limited cash funds who wants to remain completely anonymous. And Noelle’s desire for independence clashes with Rick’s worldview that a Christian must always submit his (or, in this case, her) will to God’s. Yet Noelle is drawn to Rick in every other way. He’s kind, gentle, generous, and patient. He never forces his presence on her, and is never angry, even when she gives him reason to be. Perhaps most importantly, she feels safe in his home. Blissfully safe and protected.
The secondary characters are also very well done. Noelle’s ex-fiancé is surprisingly sympathetic; his interactions with his sister, his mother, and Noelle’s father go a long way toward explaining his behavior. Rick’s family members provide both context and tension. Morgan is appealing, vulnerable, and, in his own way, very kind.
So often inspirational romances slap the religion on with a trowel, but Heitzmann doesn’t do that. Rick is a man of faith, but he is not judgmental or preachy. His evangelization is done through works – helping others is doing God’s will in his mind. Noelle’s confusion about God was completely understandable given her background, and her struggle to understand Rick’s God was touching. It made me think more about my own personal faith journey. Finally, the book was far more ecumenical than most inspirationals I’ve read. Catholicism is presented as a valid faith choice, as are other sects of Christianity.
Reading A Rush of Wings was a pleasure. Heitzmann’s writing and storytelling were fluid, smooth, and compelling. Best of all, Morgan’s story will be out in only a few months. I can’t wait to read it and the rest of Heitzmann’s backlist.