by Rosanne Bittner

February 2004
ISBN: 0-373-78513-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Steeple Hill
Trade Paperback

Elizabeth Breckenridge’s world starts falling apart soon after the untimely death of her parents. The new minister in the congregation starts making advances toward her and when his wife catches them together, the pastor lies and says Elizabeth tried to seduce him. Desperate to escape the lies, Elizabeth ignores the council of wise friends and decides to set sail for Dawson, Alaska, where her minister brother lives, even though winter is coming on, and most of the trip through Alaska will be over the mountains on foot. Elizabeth figures she’ll be safe because there are hordes of miners and prostitutes also headed for Dawson.

Clint Brady is a cynical bounty hunter known to shoot to kill, no questions asked. He’s headed to Dawson after a known convict. He has to get there quickly, or the man he’s tracking might get wind of his pursuit and run. But the feisty Elizabeth keeps getting in Clint’s way, causing him to jump to her rescue time and again.

Clint thinks Elizabeth is too good for everyone else and he tells her so repeatedly. Elizabeth, on the other hand, thinks Clint is a drunken killer and works hard to try to convert him, continuously preaching at him about his less than attractive behavior. What is Clint hiding behind his gruff exterior? Is it possible for Elizabeth and Clint to beat all the odds and make it safely to their destinations? Or might God have something else in store?

I found the characters in Where Heaven Begins, less than realistic. Elizabeth does her duties in caring for Clint when he becomes ill, but the whole time she’s caring for him she’s going on and on about how it’s a sin to even see a man’s bare chest. The Christianity factor in Where Heaven Begins, is also lacking. The author has bought into the idea that God can’t handle being God, so when people die they are assigned duties caring for their loved ones as God can’t be bothered with us. As a minister’s wife, I found that very disturbing.

With the unrealistic behavior of the characters and the false ideas of God presented in Where Heaven Begins, I cannot begin to recommend this book. Readers of Christian fiction will need to look elsewhere.

Reviewed in April 2004 by Laura.

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