Twilight is an intense and emotional book. The characters in it suffer deeply. You name it… they have experienced it. Unloving parents, trauma, drug abuse, and fear. Both are hurt – both long for solace. Since this is an inspirational romance, it isn’t until they let go and let God into their lives that they find peace and can love each other.
Cal Morrison was always a bit of a clown as a teenager. Now he is a professional one. Cal is “Spanner the Clown” and a member of the Montrose Fire Department. He does all the safety programs since he can’t face a fire anymore. When Cal could not save a two year old girl, he suffered a terrible case of post traumatic stress disorder and has flashbacks at the sight of a flame. The captain has allowed him to take on the safety program and hopes he can get back into the field soon.
When Cal was in high school he had been in love with Laurie. They had been intimate, but while he was content with the town of Montrose, she wanted more. She went to college, married wealthy Brian Prelane, and settled down to a life of luxury. Cal joined the fire department and built a reputation as an outstanding fireman, until he failed to save the girl.
Now Laurie is back in Montrose with two children. It’s very obvious that something has happened. She won’t talk about Brian and seems very uneasy. Cal offers her friendship, and would like to resume their old relationship, but Laurie is guarded and wary.
Laurie is in real danger from her husband. He was involved with drug smuggling and when Laurie found out, she flushed all the cocaine down the swimming pool drain. Now Brian is after her and so are his “associates.” She needs a hero, but can Cal – with all his problems – be what she needs?
It took me some time to get into Twilight. The first chapters were filled with cryptic conversation, and flashes of flashbacks. It was like trying to see the Grand Canyon on a moonless night with only intermittent lightning for illumination. But as the book continued, things got clearer and the story picked up steam.
I liked Cal immediately. He was that rare creature, someone who is doing exactly what he loves. Cal loves to help people. He always has and even in the throes of his PTSD, he continues to help. The author does an excellent job of describing one of Cal’s flashbacks and the reader can’t help but be moved by his plight.
Laurie was not so easy to warm to. I understood her; she was the daughter of a demanding father for whom Cal was simply someone to be dismissed. Laurie always did what her father wanted, but it bought her nothing but grief. She is so full of anger at her father – and at God, who, for her, wears her father’s face – that she can’t accept Cal and can’t begin to heal herself.
The plight of the characters reminds me of a passage from St. Augustine’s Confessions: “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Both Cal and Laurie are restless and yearning. Some of the secondary characters, especially Cal’s friend Reggie and Laurie’s grandmother, tell them that they are yearning for a relationship with God, and it isn’t until they do let go and lean on God that they can bury the past and be together as they were meant to be. The inspirational part of this book is the best thing about it. It is not sectarian, and is very heartfelt and not too preachy.
However, there was one character who got under my skin. Cal’s friend Reggie has the habit of referring to God as “The Big Guy” – an expression I hate. Reggie also several times rails against premarital sex, going so far as to say that Cal and Laurie’s sexual relationship in high school is the reason they are in such trouble today. To Reggie, premarital sex almost puts the universe out of joint. That’s a bit much.
All in all, fans of inspirational romance should find Twilight generally worthwhile and even those who are not normally readers of the genre may find themselves touched by the story and the characters.