Margaret Fisk's Reviews > Rainbow's End

Rainbow's End by Valerie Comer
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May 02, 12


Rainbow’s End is a delightful collection of romance stories where the characters find their way to love through recognizing themselves and turning to the support of God when things seem too overwhelming. Written by four different authors, and with differences of approach and genre at times, the collection still manages to read as a cohesive whole through the threads of overlapping characters and the underlying situation where they are all involved in a church-sponsored geo-caching hunt.

For those who do not know of geo-caching, this book offers a fun introduction and just might inspire some readers to turn on their phone GPS and check out local caches. We see the perspectives of beginners and those with more experience, get hints at some of the risks for the unprepared, and learn that it’s the challenge that counts rather than the beauty of the clue. I didn’t know about the clue system before, and so my first hunt ended in failure as I stood at the coordinates with no idea where the cache might be. I found the geo-caching parts quite interesting, as you might be able to tell.

Depending on the story, if you’re religion sensitive, you might have some difficulty, but none of the stories tripped over into preaching in my opinion. In each case, the people involved either had or found faith in the course of their journey to love. The faith messages are both strong and subtle in the sense that they lay down no particular path but rather speak to trusting in God to be there for support and guidance, and about learning to listen for that guidance which often comes in a quiet way not a crash of thunder.

Though the novellas did work together, each had a distinct story so I’m going to address them separately now that I’ve talked about some of the general aspects. I did have a bit of a different experience because I got this book from NetGalley and so it was not the final version and two of the stories appear out of order. Also, I had a bit of a hand in the first story as Valerie Comer’s critique partner, but the version I saw in the process was an earlier one than the final, and I was thrilled to see how it had grown.

Topaz Treasure by debut author Valerie Comer opens the collection with a different kind of faith journey. It focuses not so much on finding religion as Lyssa is a long term believer while Kirk has discovered true faith in his brother’s recently deceased wife, but rather on learning to accept and trust in others. Kirk has more to overcome than he realizes when attracted to Lyssa because he does not recognize her as the quiet friend to an outspoken true believer he’d tormented in his early years as a professor. And Lyssa’s broken relationship with her street preacher father keeps her from admitting to the faith that is a strong part of her for fear of shoving it down someone’s throat and making a fool of herself. This novella is an internal growth journey, but each choice, and each barricade set in their way, brings Kirk and Lyssa together, while also offering healing for others around them.

Beneath the Surface by Annalisa Daughety forces two apparent opposites together when Madison’s sister dumps the geo-caching challenge on her when they were supposed to be a team, and Grant’s grandfather proves too weak to handle the pressures of the game. Madison ran from the Ozarks as fast as she could in pursuit of her mother’s dream of a city life while Grant has turned his back on the stress of competitive fishing, and high-maintenance women, in favor of being a small time fishing guide. Their story is steeped with assumptions gone wrong, sometimes between the two, but also inside of each of them as they learn to accept who they are and not be dragged down by the past or the expectations of others.

Love’s Prize by Cara C. Putman adds a bit of suspense to the collection. Reagan allows her brother to convince her to come and join in the hunt with his friend Colton as a way to escape from a stalker the police can’t seem to find. She wants to curl into a corner and hide, so resents the presence of a stranger, no matter how good looking and engaging. But when her brother loses interest in the hunt, and keeps asking Colton to stick with her as protection, something magical sparks between them that offers a chance to let her fear subside and gives Colton the opportunity to re-evaluate his plans for the future. There’s more, but I have a spoiler-free policy .

Welcome Home, Love by Nicole O’Dell is again a personal journey, but one taken primarily by Hadley, with Noah looking on in misery. Like Madison, Hadley left the Osage Beach area as a young woman. She’s had some rough times and recently got herself in order, especially her health. She joins the Rainbow’s End Treasure Hunt to prove to herself that she’s left the fat girl behind and can take on the world. The trouble is that no matter what she says, that fat girl is still foremost in her mind and drives her decisions more than she’ll ever admit. She has to learn that not all suitors are equal and to look beyond the surface of others, but also of herself, before she can see what’s right in front of her. Meanwhile, Noah, a successful youth pastor and the leader of this hunt, has a blind spot where she is concerned that existed since before she left the first time. He can’t see his own value enough to approach her with anything but frustration. He needs to learn to trust his emotions, and trust that Hadley can come to see the value in his love.

I think I’ve put the stories in the order I’ll get to read them when my actual copy arrives…and I’ll get to see the dedications and other pieces left out of the galley, but you should be able to see my enjoyment in each story with the summaries above. I was impressed at how the basic rule set opened the path for four very different types of stories. Each involves the hunt, each involves faith, and each involves a couple discovering each other and themselves. Yet the way each of the authors brought those elements together and stirred meant I didn’t feel any sense of repetition as I read the collection. The first two stories are more internal, while the last two involve a prominent external conflict as well, but that’s not the end to their unique aspects. I had fun taking a stroll through the lives of these people as they joined in the very first Rainbow’s End Treasure Hunt, and whether or not this group takes the stories a step further by reconnecting in a new collection on the second annual treasure hunt, I’m walking away with a sense both of satisfaction and of a broader world where other stories could be told. To me, this is the measure of success.
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