Immortal Heart

Always Faithful by Julie Miller
(Lovespell, $5.50, PG) ISBN 0-505-52374-4
Everything is going wrong for Faith. The prospective angel is desperately trying to earn her wings, but she certainly won’t anytime soon if she continues to foul things up the way she’s fouled up her very first case.

In attempting to spare Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Ramsey from a painful death when the building he was in exploded, Faith snatched him up too soon, pulling him from earth before his time. Now the Colonel stands before her, begging for the opportunity to return to his wife Emma and their two-year-old daughter, Kerry.

There is a way, but only if Faith also sends back the other man that also perished in the explosion: a notorious arms dealer known only as the Chameleon. Unfortunately, the novice angel-to-be makes a bit of a mistake in returning the men to earth...

Emma Ramsey has spent the five years since Jonathan’s disappearance as Executive Director of LadyTech, a thriving communications technology corporation. Her life is filled with work and caring for her seven-year-old daughter, but Jonathan is never far from her thoughts. In the years since his disappearance she has continued to search for him. First with government help, and when that proved a dead end, she hired private detectives.

Drew Gallagher is the latest detective Emma has enlisted in the search. There’s something about him that attracts her, and for the first time Emma questions her desire to locate Jonathan. Drew has been attracted to Emma from the start and thinks he knows exactly how to find Jonathan. But if he does, he knows he will lose Emma.

Always Faithful is a blend of fantasy and romantic suspense with an intriguing plot twist that should have made this a terrific read. Unfortunately, once we leave poor, struggling Faith and return to earth, the story seemed to drag and I was never fully engaged.

Emma is a large part of the problem for me. Her devotion to Jonathan is explained in detail, yet after five years of fruitless searching I couldn’t help thinking she should just get over it. I know -- it should be a positive thing that she never gave up on her love. But her devotion to Jonathan seemed more like an excuse to keep from getting on with her life.

Drew made a fine hero, caring and willing to do what was best for Emma, whatever the personal cost. My favorite character is the bumbling Faith. She makes just a few appearances, but she seemed more “real” than the flesh and blood Emma.

Always Faithful is part of a series of LadyTech adventures and author Julie Miller gets two thumbs up for the complicated and unusual plot. Even if Always Faithful didn’t quite work for me, I look forward to trying more books in the series. How about a hero for Faith?

--Karen Lynch

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