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From Ashes to Honor: Book #1 in the First Responders series [Kindle Edition]

Loree Lough
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)

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Book Description

If he had only answered that last phone call from the World Trade Center . .

Minutes before two jumbo jets changed U.S. history,
New York police officer Austin Finley ignored the call from his brother, who’d been bugging him
for days. Trying to live with his one regret causes hatred and bitterness to consume Austin, and
when counselor Mercy Samara recommends desk duty, Austin resigns. Haunted by her own memories of
9/11, Mercy takes a job as a school counselor in Baltimore. When Austin, now an EMT, responds to
an emergency at Mercy’s school, both are stunned and wary.

their common—and painful—memories turn suspicion into friendship, then romance.

But hard questions linger: Can they truly move beyond their past harsh judgments
and harsh words? Will their past finally bring them closer or—as the tenth anniversary of 9/11
draws near—drive them farther apart?

"Loree Lough proves once again her
superb storytelling skills in From Ashes to Honor, peopled by characters so
lifelike they seem to jump from the pages."
>—Cathy Bryant, author of the award-winning Texas
and A Path Less Traveled

Lough’s characters allow us to re-explore what happened ten years ago and examine our feelings,
perhaps like never before."
Robert A. Crutchfield, Founder, Christ 4responders and Chaplain, Katy, Texas Fire &

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

With nearly 4,500,000 books in circulation, award-winning author Loree Lough has 99 books on the shelves (mostly faith-based fiction & non-fiction for children & adults that earned dozens of 4- & 5-star reviews & 5 movie options), including reader favorites such as the First Responders series & For Love of Eli (Abingdon Press). With the publication of Guarding Alyssa in February of 2014 (#3 in the “A Child to Love” series for Harlequin Heartwarming), the total will reach 100.
Loree's articles have appeared in dozens of international & national newspapers & magazines. In addition to nearly 2,500 feature stories (writing as L.A. Lough), she "ghosted" hundreds more that appeared in trade & technical publications.

A firm believer in the "what goes around, comes around" theory, Loree developed & taught numerous fiction & nonfiction writing courses for area colleges, writers' organizations, & the prestigious Writer's Digest Writing School. Through these efforts, she has mentored hundreds of students, & the list of those now published has passed 100. She also believes in dedicating a generous portion of her annual income to favorite charities & organizations. See the "Giving Back" page at her web site for a complete list.

Loree & her husband split their time between a humble home in the Baltimore suburbs & a cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, where she takes great pride in her "identify the critter tracks" skills.

Product Details

  • File Size: 586 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 142670769X
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press (September 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #328,676 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read with both realism and heroism... August 7, 2011
By jljn
From Ashes to Honor by Loree Lough has excellent characterization, an interesting plot, and a strong, faith-based message. It was an interesting, enjoyable, easy read. It left me with hope for Austin, Bud, and Flora and an understanding of the struggles faced by Mercy, Griff, and Cora. However, though the characterization was excellent, the plot at times seemed very slightly under-developed by comparison, especially considering the main hero was an EMT, the heroine was attacked, and two other minor characters (Flora and Griff) faced similar crises.

In the introduction, Loree explains that she seeks to illuminate and praise the heroism, faith, and strength of the first responders of September 11, and all first responders since. This, she does, and she does it well through her depiction of Austin, one of the two main characters. Hero Austin, though challenged by all he has faced, is invincible, strong, and stalwart--honorable and admirable because of the issues he has overcome. Austin's struggle and strength after September 11th were poignant, heart-warming, touching, and inspiring. They teach the reader much about what it means to be a Christian and face incredibly painful circumstances beyond our control yet to hold fast to our convictions and faith. They teach us about real life issues, such as regrets that cannot be righted, grief, doubt, alcoholism, and burdensome obligations. And Austin's struggle ultimately, with the ending, reminds us that peace and resolution comes only from once source--God.

However, after the tragedy of September 11th, certain elements of this book compound tragedy upon tragedy lacking resolution, especially for Dr. Mercy Samara. Was it a well-written, good book? Yes. But was I satisfied with the ending? No.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What??? January 14, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Unfortunately the lack of a 'nice' resolution did not sit well for me. I am familiar with a non 'happy ever after' ending from reading most of Nicholas Sparks' books, but at least his leave you with a feeling of everything being ok. Unfortunately I believe that this book failed in that regard and left me with a lot of sadness. The whole reason I read books is to escape the disappointments in life, not be confronted by them. Normally I really enjoy Ms Lough's book. This one however just did not cut it.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Roller Coaster Of Emotions August 19, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wow! This book was not what I was expecting! What I had expected was a fictional, faith based account of 9/11. What I got was a love story, a couple in fact, and struggle of faith.

Austin lost his twin brother in the towers and Mercy was the Dr. who was assigned to help all the first responders deal with the tragedy. In the beginning of the book Austin is very hostile to Mercy but when they meet again years later in a different place sparks fly. What develops is a quick moving love story. While the author does not dwell too much on Mercy's faith struggle, she does on Austin's. He refuses to not be "equally yoked" to the woman he has fallen in love with and she, Mercy, refuses to even discuss the topic. We watch Austin struggle with this throughout the book while it doesn't seem to bother Mercy. Her feeling is that God takes away everything she has ever loved.

Bring in Bud and Flora, Austin's neighbors. They are a ray of sunshine and have struggles of their own. You expect through the book that the outcome of Flora's health issues will go in one direction but the reader is pleasantly surprised. It is fun to read how their lives and wisdom intertwine with Austin and Mercy.

I really did love this book. It was not at all what I had expected but much better. I highly recommed this book.

Oh, word to the wise. Have tissues handy for Chapter 34. It will grab your heart. And the end of the book will be a complete surprise!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a Romance January 24, 2012
By Iola
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
From Ashes to Honor is the story of Austin, a New York cop who lost his twin brother on 9/11, and Mercy, the police psychologist who declared him unfit for police work. They accidentally meet in Baltimore a few years later, having both changed careers, and find that despite their history, there is a mutual attraction. But Austin is a committed Christian, and Mercy is an unbeliever.

This is where the book lost me - I saw why Mercy was interested in Austin, but I never really understood why Austin was attracted to Mercy, nor why he was developing a romantic relationship with her knowing that she did not share his faith and knowing how important that should be. It irritates me when a novel gives us a 'conversion of convenience' a few short pages before the end, with no real progression from non-belief to faith. In real life, very few people become Christians as adults without a period of thought and reflection, so it annoys me when fictional characters have the literary equivalent of a death-bed conversion. However, this novel gave me something I like even less - no conversion at all.

Loree Lough is an excellent writer with engaging plots and (mostly) likeable characters, and From Ashes to Honor was looking to be a solid four star plus read, until the end. It just finished. No happy ever after, no resolution of the main conflict, nothing. The essence of a romance novel is that a couple meet, a relationship develops, and there is a happy ending as the couple fall in love while they work together to overcome obstacles. A romance novel, according to the Romance Writers of America, must have an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending" (more commonly referred to as the `happy ever after' or HEA). From Ashes To Honor is therefore not a romance novel.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars but LaCrosse made good on it in very short order
We had an issue with the clock first delivered, but LaCrosse made good on it in very short order. Great clock!
Published 23 days ago by Rich Hubbard
4.0 out of 5 stars From ashes to honor
The story was written very well from secular views to religious viewpoints. A few things lagged, but that is to be expected. I did not like the ending!
Published 3 months ago by Brenda Aaron
2.0 out of 5 stars I Expected More from this Author than a Cliffhanger
Austin Finley’s twin brother was killed in the 9-11 attack, and Austin had developed PTSD. As a New York cop he’d become a ticking time bomb, and psychologist, Mercy Samara, had to... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Voracious Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly Realistic
I thoroughly loved this book. It was real and honest, including realistic characters and situations. Read more
Published 4 months ago by BookMama
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great story kept you on the edge the complete story can't wait to start volume two
Published 5 months ago by Cookie
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good with a bad ending
Published 7 months ago by Desertlady
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fun, quick read. Thanks!
Published 7 months ago by Trudy Barnes
5.0 out of 5 stars Richly woven story to deeply touch the soul
I read books #1, 2 & 3, back to back as I fell in love with all the characters with all their brokenness and imperfections; responding with a zest for living and embracing the life... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Pam Ellis
2.0 out of 5 stars Real Disappointment
I knew there was a problem when it took me weeks to finish this book. I almost quit several times, bit hate to leave a book in case it gets better.. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Tracey Bailey
1.0 out of 5 stars Exchange?
I ordered this book by mistake. I wanted the first book in radclyffe's first responder series. I can't find any way to return it for the one I want. Can anybody help me with this?
Published 9 months ago by shepmorgan
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More About the Author

At last count, best-selling author Loree Lough had 104 award-winning books (nearly 5,000,000 copies in circulation and 5 titles that earned book-to-movie options), 68 short stories, and 2,500+ articles in print.

An oft-invited guest of writers' organizations, colleges and universities, corporate and government agencies in the U.S. and abroad, Loree loves sharing learned-the-hard-way lessons about the craft and the industry.

Once upon a time, Loree (literally) sang for her supper, performing alone and "opening" for the likes of Tom Jones, Dottie West, The Gatlin Brothers, and more. Though she refuses to share the actual year when she traded her Yamaha 6-string for a wedding ring, she IS willing to admit that, every now and then, she blows the dust off her six-string to croon a tune or two. But mostly, she just writes (and writes).

Loree and her husband split their time between a home in the Baltimore suburbs and a cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, where she continues to hone her "identify the critter tracks" skills. Her favorite passtime? Spending long, leisurely hours with her grandchildren...all seven of them!

She loves hearing from her readers, and answers every letter, personally. You can write her @

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