The phrase walking on air conjures up so many images and feelings – happiness, confidence and freedom to name just a few. Walking On Air has just as many messages courtesy of a grand lady and author Catherine Anderson. When I peruse an Anderson booklist it immediately comes to my attention that I’ve read, loved and remember practically every one listed. How is that possible you may ask? Simple – once you are lucky enough to get your hands on a book by Catherine Anderson it’s an entry into a world filled with lovely characters, images and tales. Anderson is truly a romantic.
Walking On Air is at first glance a rather simple story but has a great many dimensions and layers involving memorable characters ranging from a gunslinger to an angel.
Gabe Valance recently deceased admittedly a gunslinger who when challenged by the latest young newcomer managed to kill his opponent but unfortunately succumbed to his own injuries. Gabe never really chose this line of work – a gunslinger’s life is created by rumor and reputation – two things that seem to be inescapable. So the only thing a gunslinger can do is try to stay one or two steps ahead of the next guy looking to make himself a reputation.
Gabe finds himself in a rather unusual position after being gun downed in Random. He knows he is dead but his surroundings have him rather confused. And then he meets his hosts – two Angels. These two Angels have Gabe peering through clouds to see the world he just left behind and what he sees intrigues him. But mostly Gabe questions why he is even having this dialog with the Angels. He has never really considered himself a God fearing man and his lack of faith has been honed by years of indifference and candidly disconnect with people in general.
But these Angels have a deal to strike with Gabe. Thirty days of reprieve to sort of redeem himself before the jury is out on his final destination. Kind of funny asking this non-believer to commit several acts of kindness to avoid the heat.
Gabe’s choice is to help Ann and her sister Laney get past the horrors they escaped before settling in Random. Ann is constantly looking over her shoulder fully expecting their new location to be discovered by the law and even worse their father. Her life in Random is sheltered, routine, humorless and boring. Well that’s all about to change with this larger than life hunk of a man doing all he can to ingratiate himself into Ann’s life. What he proposes definitely sends up a red flag to this extraordinarily caution young woman. Yet Ann can’t seem to extradite herself from Gabe’s spirit and kindness.
He asks for Ann to have faith in him, this stranger to Random and to her life, and what’s even odder is that she is tempted to believe in him. Gabe illustrates enormous patience and kindness, not exactly the character traits one would associate with a gunslinger.
The more Ann gets to know about Gabe the more she faces a life changing truth. Rumor and reputation are indeed the devil’s tongue and no one seems to be above it. She has basically spent her life trying to avoid the guilt brought on by an act that was accidental and necessary to prevent the unspeakable. Ann’s desire to live a normal life with a family to care for seems to be beyond her reach – until Gabe arrival in Random.
Both Ann and Gabe stoically decide to cherish what fate has brought them and hopefully at the end they will both be left with memories that will sustain them.
Okay – so maybe you don’t believe in Angels. Catherine Anderson will have even the most skeptical reader not only believing but racking their brains trying to find a solution to this wonderful tale and for a memorable romance. Anderson does not preach, she encourages her readers to have an open mind and heart. After you have finished Walk On Air and become a fan make sure to check out some of her other works. They will certainly delight.
Random, Colorado, is just another stop on the road for solitary gunslinger Gabriel Valance. Known for his drinking, gambling, and womanizing, he prefers to remain a stranger to anyone who crosses his path. But when an upstart gunslinger catches Gabe off guard and shoots him down, he regrets his empty, lonely life with his dying breath....
Golden-haired beauty Nancy Hoffman settled in Random after fleeing an abusive past. Caring for her younger sister and working in a hat shop help her to forge ahead, though she remains fearful and mistrustful of men?and marriage....
Their paths will cross when Gabe gets a second chance at life and a divine mission: to sweep Nancy off her feet, gain her trust, and convince her to believe in his love. And in doing so, the once-hardened cowboy may save himself....