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Walking on Air (Valance Family Novel) [Mass Market Paperback]

Catherine Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Signet Book (4 Feb 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451418336
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451418333
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 10.7 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 325,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book 7 Mar 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Once again another great story by Catherine Anderson, have read all her books and have not read one I do not like
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  254 reviews
43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Catherine Anderson does it again! 4 Feb 2014
By cjr - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I have to start this review by saying that I NEVER read historicals. In fact, the only historicals I have ever read have been the ones written by Catherine Anderson because I have loved every one of her books since day one. When I started reading this ARC, my first thought was, "Crap, she snookered me into reading another historical book!"
My second thought was, "Wow, this is fascinating!" Having said that, this book is a wonderful tour through a character's life that sweeps you up and doesn't set you back down until way after you've finished reading it. If you were struck down in the prime of your life, woke up in Heaven and had 2 angels give you a second chance to go back and do it all over again, only there were multiple stipulations, would you do it?
That is the premise of this book and the decision Gabriel Valance must make. If I went any farther into the review, there would be spoilers and I won't do that.
Suffice it to say that Catherine Anderson is a writer with the astounding capability of sweeping you up from the first page and not letting you down until the last. She's an author who makes you think about her books long after you have finished with them.
Read this book. You will laugh, cry, be angry, be sad then be happy again!
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Heartwarming Tale About Second Chances... 6 Feb 2014
By terrylynn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As a long time fan of Catherine Anderson I was happy to find that her latest novel, Walking on Air was all I hoped it would be. This author has a way of tugging at the heartstrings and creating characters that you love to read about. Our hero Gabe Valance and our heroine Nan Hoffman take a journey of the heart as the time they spend together changes them both for the better and it's a wonderful journey for the reader.

Gabe is a gunslinger and early on Christmas day his luck finally runs out and he finds himself dying on the street from a gun shot wound to the chest. He awakens in the presence of two angels who give him the chance to return to earth for 30 days to make positive changes in the lives of people around him and in the process make himself a little more appealing when he dies again hoping to find himself at the Pearly Gates instead of flames licking at his feet for the rest of eternity! When Gabe finds himself back on earth he is determined to do whatever it takes to save himself and follow all the rules these angels have set out for him, but he soon learns this is easier said than done.

Nan Hoffman is a beautiful but joyless woman raising her younger sister as her daughter and running her hat shop. Afraid of men and determined never to marry due to a horrifying experience at the hands of an unwanted suitor, Nan is ill prepared to receive a gunslinger at her door who strongly suggests that she marry him. Desperate to avoid the circumstances he has laid out for her if she refuses, Nan agrees to marry Gabe with no intention whatsoever of caring for him, but she has no idea how easily this man will sneak past her defenses and make her doubt everything she thought she ever wanted for her life.

This is a touching, wonderful romance as Nan slowly learns to trust Gabe and Gabe learns that maybe there are things more important than saving his own hide from eternal damnation. The secondary characters including Nan's sister Laney, a young boy in desperate straights named Christopher and a heartbroken old man named Tyke all come together to create a tale that helps you remember the joy that can come from putting others needs ahead of your own.

A solid 5 stars for Catherine Anderson's Walking On Air.
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tender and Heartwarming Western Historical With a Holiday Atmosphere 5 Feb 2014
By Sophia Rose - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Even though I read the blurb, this book still took me by surprise. It was like a cross between 'Touched by an Angel' (old TV show from 80s) and Charles Dickens 'A Christmas Carol' set in the Old West. It was a spicy historical paranormal romance and sweet inspiration romance. And yes, I know that sounds confusing and yet that's what I got when I read this book. I had changing feelings about this book, but for the most part they swung toward gentle pleasure in a heartwarming holiday read. That's the other thing that took me by surprise since I didn't realize it covers the time frame between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So yep, late holiday book review for you. Just think of it as like those people who leave the lights up all year round except in this case its books.

The story opens at the end of a life and begins with the person being offered a second chance to make things right by taking on a difficult, but worthy task. Gabriel Valence grew up hard and learned to be tough and at the end of his life he has no good to balance out the bad that allows him to enter heaven. He never set much store by religion so learning that God and angels exist along with heaven and hell are only some of the surprises in store. He has a chance to make his life count, but its a slim one. He is offered a choice of three lost souls that he'll have one month to save. There is an old disheartened man who lost his wife and daughters to sickness so he wallows in dirt, misery and drink. There is a small homeless boy starving and freezing under the stairs of a brothel waiting for his mother to return for him. And finally, there is a beautiful woman who thinks she's a murderer so is hiding out with her sister pretending they are mother and daughter all the while she won't abide a man in her life ever again. Gabe immediately determines that's the soul he wants to try saving. The angels explain what he has to do to prove that his mission is complete and Gabe realizes it will take a miracle. He is dropped back in time exactly a month before he ends up getting shot with full knowledge of the future events and of Nan Sullivan's past to help him. He is not allowed to alter the future unless it is to do with Nan or anyone he directly wronged before.

Nan is shocked by the appearance of the hard-eyed stranger who blackmails her into marrying him by threatening to reveal that she's a woman wanted for murder to the marshal. He claims to only want to feel what it's like to be around a family and a good woman and he promises he won't touch her until she gives her permission, but Nan doesn't trust him a bit. She is frightened of the idea of having such a creature in her home and around her young sister, but she has no choice.

Gabe has no idea how he is going to gain Nan's trust and acceptance at first especially in light of her horrid past with an abusive father and a near rape experience to overcome. Just words won't work and even his actions are suspect. It will take time- time he doesn't have. But he engages in his task anyway. Soon restoring Nan, caring for her and her sister, and taking care of their future are not just a mission to save his own life in the hereafter. He comes to care and experiences happiness for the first time in his life especially when Nan and Laney really open up and accept him. It's at this point that he notices other situations that he has the power to fix if the angels hadn't set those no-interference with other people's future rules on him. He finds it nigh impossible not to help those others he knows about even if it means forfeiting all he hopes to gain in the end when his month is up. Gabe was never one for rules anyway and doing nothing when others are suffering doesn't set well with him.

The plot on this one was pretty straight forward since its about Gabe finding redemption for his past, but it was also about the lives he will touch differently with this second chance. The pace was gentle. It was about character development, romance and the building of a family. Very heartwarming! I loved the majority of what I was reading, but...

I had one problem. I'm going to say something on a touchy subject, but I can't very well avoid it since it sticks out in the story and isn't obvious in the blurb or categorization of the book. This book has strong inspirational romance elements in it. Everywhere I checked it is touted as being a mainstream historical romance so this is what I thought I was getting. First, I want to make it clear that I am not one who dislikes the mention of religion or any other philosophical thinking in a mainstream romance book so that is not why I had a problem with this. But- and here's the big proviso- that is providing that it can be done in an organic way that blends well and doesn't disrupt the pacing of the story. I find many authors struggle with the balance and it can be tricky. In this case, I felt that this story would have benefited from having several of the religious passages edited out. It felt preachy and unnecessary for the development of the story. It stopped the flow. Not that its wrong to put a strong thematic element into a fiction story, but smooth it in so that it doesn't push aside the story. I picked up the book because I wanted a story.

Aside from that issue, I have only good things to say about this story. It was one of those warm, fuzzy Christmas reads that smoothed out the harshness of reality offering a lovely, neatly 'tied up in a bow' ending. Not that there weren't challenges and crises in the story. Oh there were, I even got that burning feeling of tears at one point when I thought all was lost. But in the end all came to rights and everyone was blissfully happy.

I thought the romance was extremely well developed. Nan was hostile in the beginning and she was so broken by her past that there was no way I would have bought a fast-paced romance and this one was not fast by fictional standards. They were in the other's presence constantly and there were many scenes and references to conversations and activities that demonstrated the developing feelings and passion. Gabe had his work cut out for him. He had some growing to do in his own right because he didn't know much about being around good people or how to be with a lady. He was a coarse, rugged male with no apology, but he demonstrated tender feelings and gentleness too. I cracked up during the love scene when the totally innocent Nan and experienced Gabe finally came together. She is so buttoned up and ladylike that she has no idea how to even reference what goes on in a bedroom and he struggles to keep from shocking her with his very direct language.

"Wait!" She braced the heels of her hands against his shoulders. "We've a situation."
He froze and held her gaze with feverish intensity. "A Situation?"
"I fear that the fit is all wrong."
He stared down at her, and then his white teeth flashed in what she believed he meant to be a grin, but was actually more a grimace. "Nan, just hug my neck and let me worry about the fit. Okay? Everything will be fine."
Nan didn't think so. She had a small passage, and he had a very big friend that she now wished had been kept in the barn.
Loc. 3596 Gabe and Nan

I loved that Gabe fell in love not only with Nan, but Laney, Christopher, Pop and Jasper as well. He found a family to love. Some of those scenes of them all together were just priceless. I loved it when the kids brought the dog home and when they all worked on cookies together. Too cute!

So in the end, I cherished the family feel, holiday scenes and romance set against an Old West Colorado small town for the back drop. I still scratch my head over how to recommend this book so how's this: Those who enjoy a sweet historical romance with splashes of some heat and spice as well as an inspiration romance feel?

My thanks to Penguin Group and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gabriel Valance, what a guy 4 Feb 2014
By Jeanne Lorenz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I love Catherine's books and re-read them often. Her new hero, Gabriel Valance, is a wonderful combination of all those traits that make us human and imperfect. He's a little self-pitying at first, has a great sense of humor, you can almost hear his laugh through the pages of the book and he turns out to be the kind of man we'd all love to meet and have in our life. Add to that the other characters, Nan and Laney as well as some others you'll have to read to meet, you have a book you can't put down. I got home from work at 10 p.m., read for hours even though I had to be to work at 8 a.m. that next morning! A great read. If you haven't read Catherine before, you will be hooked and if you love her already, you won't be disappointed. Enjoy!
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars always listen to your heart 15 Feb 2014
By Christine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I had the gracious honor of being on the review team. I was completely taken back but how perfect this book points you to second chances as they are all around us. I had the great joy of loving someone so fully and then losing him to God. It brought me to tears with lessons it taught me. I loved the draw of each character and the immediate love you feel for them. How many times we walk by someone and think twice should we or shouldn't we, God is always listening and so shall I. Catherine is a reply gifted writer and I'm forever a fan. Life may throw you lemons, but pull up your boot straps and keep going. Love love love it......
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