Her Kind of Hero
According to statistics, Americans are a very religious people, but fiction, especially genre fiction does not show it to any degree. The characters in inspirational fiction live and act out what they believe. They pray and recall verses from the Bible. Their faith is a a part of their lives that is with them constantly, not just for one hour a week at church.
I know from working part-time in a bookstore that there is a sizable group of readers who want to read a love story, but are uncomfortable with depictions of sex. Inspirational romances are perfect for this kind of reader. They offer a story with love, faith and caring but there are no descriptions of sexual activity. Her Kind of Hero is the first inspirational romance I have read, and I enjoyed it, with a few reservations.
Calandra (Calli) Giovanni is a member of a citizen’s patrol. She disguises herself and prowls the streets looking for gang activity, which she calls in to the police. Her brother Mike was killed by a gang and his killer was never brought to justice. Calli’s patrols are her way of protecting the innocent and avenging her brother. The police know her as A.C. (anonymous caller), but have no idea who A.C. really is.
One night, Calli has an accident on an icy road and is rescued by Luke Northop, a policeman. Calli dislikes police – her ex-fiance was a cop, but gradually Calli meets Luke again and again – once on a ski slope and when he turns up as an instructor in her self-defense class and they gradually get to know each other.
Luke is the best thing about Her Kind of Hero. He is a man who has a deep faith in God. Luke has had his share of troubles. As a young man, he got a young woman pregnant and when they married, she decided that she did not want the baby and left. Luke has had full custody and has raised his son pretty much alone. In his job as a policeman, he comes in contact with the all the worst aspects of humanity, but Luke is not a bitter, cynical misanthope. His faith leads him to believe that all things happen for a purpose that purpose will be revealed in God’s good time. Luke is not a pious Pollyanna nor a Holy Joe. He really is a fine and decent man.
Calli is a little harder to warm up to. Her brother’s death has left her bitter and she is as cynical as Luke is hopeful. Her growth over the course of the book makes her a much more sympathetic character. With the example of Luke, she warms up and even rediscovers her faith, which she was in danger of losing.
While the main characters in Her Kind of Hero were very good, the pacing of the book was uneven. The beginning and end were exciting, but the middle bogged down. Also, Luke’s ex-wife Nancy could have been better presented. She shows up at his house one day and says she wants to see her son again and then she does not show up in person again. She is talked about a lot, and at the end she is reconciled with her son, but we don’t see it. We only hear about it from Luke.
Her Kind of Hero is a more faith-based story than a romantic one. Luke is a man of strong faith and it is his example, (there is no preaching in the book) that brings Calli back to her old self. Yes, they do fall in love, but their love is incidental to Calli’s recovery of her faith and hope.
Inspirational romances are a relatively new sub-genre, and finding a middle ground between a focus on one’s faith in God and a moving romance is difficult. While this novel succeeds well as an inspirational novel, the romantic aspect is not as fully fleshed.