Earl Steen would be the first to admit that members of his family would be justified in hating him. He knows how much pain he caused in their lives and does not believe he is deserving of their forgiveness. But Earl is a changed man thanks to the grace of God and wants to serve Him the rest of his days. Earl’s daughters have begun to forge a sometimes uneasy relationship with their father but his wife Lorena still carries around a huge burden of hurt and unforgiveness. Author Candace West has begun a story at this point in the characters’ lives and writes it so beautifully that her readers will feel every emotion along with them.

Valley of Shadows is a wonderful story of forgiveness and redemption with a major emphasis on second chances. Sometimes poignant and sometimes action-filled, this tale takes the reader on a touching journey that will not soon be forgotten.

I have a copy of Lane Steen, the first book in this series but have not had a chance to read it. Although the two books share characters, I was easily able to read Valley of Shadows as a stand alone. Nevertheless, according to the wonderful reviews I have read, readers would be advised to read the books in order if at all possible simply for chronological purpose.

I voluntarily reviewed a digital copy of this book provided by the author. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.


Lorena Steen gave up on love years ago. After arriving at Valley Creek to visit her daughters, she stumbles first thing into Earl, the husband who abandoned her.

As for Earl, facing Lorena while fighting his own demons tempts him to flee town. How can he rebuild a relationship with his daughters and cynical neighbors when guilt shadows every step?

While the storm brews between them, another storm descends on Valley Creek. Will a ghost town stand in its wake?

But then the townsfolk devise a plan. All they need is a former concert pianist and violinist. A wife and husband estranged.

Can Lorena and Earl set aside their feelings to rescue a community? Even though it sweeps them back through valleys best forgotten? Especially when a forbidden love claims his right to win Lorena’s heart?


Candace West was born in the Mississippi delta but grew up in small-town Arkansas. She is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Ever since the age of twelve, she dreamed of writing inspirational fiction. Over the years, she has published short stories as well as poems in various magazines. By weaving entertaining, page-turning stories, she hopes to share the Gospel and encourage her readers. Lane Steen is her first novel.