“The Way of the Brave” by Susan May Warren is a wonderful, suspenseful, action-packed Christian romance. The main focus of the book is the story of Jenny and Orion, who first met in Afghanistan, but have been separated and pining for each other ever since. They reconnect when Jenny and her friends run into potentially fatal trouble while climbing Denali.
My favorite aspects of this book:
1. The ice-climbing information: The author clearly knows a LOT about climbing preparation, techniques, and equipment. She makes it very clear that this is a serious sport, not just a pleasant outing for someone who’s taken a “how to climb” class at the local gym. I appreciated that everybody who ventured onto the mountain was portrayed as someone who had trained and prepared diligently, and taken every precaution to insure a safe trip. I’m not a climber myself, but everything I read about sounded very accurate and believable.
2. The descriptions of Denali: These were very clear and detailed, and I could truly envision the beauty and majesty of the area as I read. Since I doubt I’ll get any closer than viewing photographs of this amazing place, I enjoyed getting to see it through the eyes of the characters.
3. The main romance: Jenny and Orion’s story was especially intriguing because they had fallen in love (although neither admitted it) when they first met years ago. Tragedy separated them, and neither expected to reunite. As the two are forced into close quarters (and near-death experiences) on the mountain, they spend a lot of time talking through their feelings and past baggage, making their eventual connection feel very real, and well-deserved.
4. The side-stories: Jenny’s two climbing friends both have interesting stories of their own. At least one (Aria’s) will likely be explored further in a future book in this series. The story of Orion’s friend Hamilton (Ham) intervening in an assassination attempt also adds excitement to the story.
5. The spiritual aspect: I thought this was particularly well done in this book. Both Jenny and Orion have some religious background, and both have pulled away from their faith because of things that happened to them. Luckily, both are surrounded by strong Christian friends, who consistently talk to them and influence them without becoming “preachy”. Some of Ham’s wisdom, in particular, has stayed with me, and I’ve made notes of a couple of his quotes for future reference.
All if all, five out of five slices of my favorite provolone!