The Color of Light
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The deeper the darkness, the brighter the light
For more than a decade minister Analiese Wagner has felt privileged to lead her parishioners along a well-lit path. Her commitment has never been seriously tested until the frigid night she encounters a homeless family huddling in the churchyard. Offering them shelter in a vacant parish house apartment and taking teenage Shiloh Fowler--a girl desperate to rescue her parents--under her wing, she tests the loyalty and faith of her congregation.
Isaiah Colburn, the Catholic priest who was her first mentor and the man she secretly longed for, understands her struggles only too well. At a crossroads, he's suddenly reappeared in her life, torn between his priesthood and his growing desire for a future with Analiese.
Divided between love and vows they've taken, both must face the possibilities of living very different lives or continuing to serve their communities. With a defeated family's trust and her own happiness on the line, Analiese must define for herself were darkness ends and light begins.
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“Richards expertly weaves an intricate tale in this page-turning genre-melder. She eloquently captures the subtle nuances and epiphanies while carefully constructing her unforgettable characters. Her compassion in chronicling the tragic plight of this homeless family is exceptional, and her ending is outstanding!”
—RT Book Reviews Top Pick
“Contravening all the expectations of inspirational romance, Emilie Richards daringly pairs up a minister and her mentor, a Catholic priest, in The Color of Light. In a genre that can feel very constrained by custom, it’s great to see authors and publishers willing to take some chances.”
“This is a terrific series that will warm the heart and soul of every reader.”
I’ll admit that writing about churches is tough. So many of us have preconceived notions about what it’s like to be a clergy person in any denomination or religion. We forget to view ministers/priests/rabbis and all other people serving religious communities as human beings, flawed and struggling. I think that’s why when clergy falls from the pedestal, as we see far too often and publicly, we are shocked and disheartened. So exposing that basic humanity can be tricky for an author.
As the wife of a minister for many years I’ve seen the best and worst of my husband’s colleagues and friends. I know them for the people they are. I had fun with this in my Ministry is Murder novels. And I’ve tackled ministers as “heroes” in two novels, one, Dragonslayer, which won the Romance Writers of America RITA, and another, Endless Chain, the second novel of my Shenandoah Album series. While critically acclaimed and meaningful to many of my readers, neither novel was among my bestsellers.
Knowing this, I still chose to write about Analiese Wagner, the minister of the Church of the Covenant in Asheville, North Carolina and home of the Goddesses Anonymous. That series began four years ago, and this is the fourth novel. Many readers have asked for Analiese’s story because she’s been a consistent character and wise woman in each of the preceding books.
But Analiese, like every real minister, must have her challenges. I considered all the possibilities. Battles between churches and their clergy are all too common. Personal struggles are, too. 1700 ministers leave ministry each month citing, among other problems, exhaustion, depression and negative impact on family. This is never an easy job, and I didn’t believe it would be easy for Analiese, either.
In the end I knew that Analiese must struggle here with both her congregation and herself. And she does.
I’ve never been as happy with a title as I am with this one. I think you’ll see why.