Authors: Chris Coppernoll
What people are saying about …
“Fans are going to love Chris Coppernoll’s latest novel.
is an inspiring tale of friendship and faith set amidst the complexities of Hollywood and cleverly combined with an uplifting love story reminiscent of
Sleepless in Seattle.
Tina Ann Forkner,
Ruby Among Us
brings you front-row seats to Broadway, delivers backstage passes to friendship and ambition, and shouts ‘bravo!’ to the longest-running show on earth—the unexpected love story
Coppernoll establishes himself as a man in touch with his time. It’s a poignant love story, beautifully told within the context of an honest relationship with God. The characters will stay with you—and so will the relevant spiritual insights.”
speaker, author of
Love Finds You in Romeo, Colorado, A Beautiful Life,
A Beautiful Day
“As I sat back and read this gripping inspirational and emotional story, I saw my own life woven throughout the pages. This isn’t just one woman’s journey of struggles and triumphs. If you’ve ever hit rock bottom, felt worthless, questioned God’s will for your life, and prayed for Him to rescue you, then you will see yourself throughout these pages too.
made me want to start writing the next chapter of my life
and realize that if we’ll take the limits off of God and release our faith in uncommon ways, then we will begin to see God do uncommon things. What you thought was the end is going to turn out to be a new beginning.”
recording artist, speaker, and author of
Learning to Breathe Again
“This is more than a romance. Chris Coppernoll subtly develops his own deepening themes of community, isolation, and trust. He deftly shows us how God both uses His people right where they are and moves them to places they could have never reached without Him.
will leave readers satisfied with Harper’s love story—but transformed by God’s love story playing out within the pages of this novel.”
Home Another Way
Watch Over Me
“You will be captured by the characters and story in this book. Chris Coppernoll skillfully composes a symphony full of the elements of life: romance, disappointment, surprise, and ultimately hope.”
speaker and author of
Mad Church Disease
Permission to Speak Freely
“From the curtain’s first rise to the final ovation,
is a great read! Romance, humor, adventure, drama—this is storytelling to savor!”
“Chris Coppernoll is rapidly becoming the go-to guy for the inspirational fiction genre. In
, he has created believable, three-dimensional characters and set them in situations that reek of real life. Who says the theater is no place for Christians? Coppernoll convincingly proves them wrong.”
actor, director, and playwright of the stage play
Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray
Published by David C. Cook
4050 Lee Vance View
Colorado Springs, CO 80918 U.S.A.
David C. Cook Distribution Canada
55 Woodslee Avenue, Paris, Ontario, Canada N3L 3E5
David C. Cook U.K., Kingsway Communications
Eastbourne, East Sussex BN23 6NT, England
David C. Cook and the graphic circle C logo
are registered trademarks of Cook Communications Ministries.
All rights reserved. Except for brief excerpts for review purposes,
no part of this book may be reproduced or used in any form
without written permission from the publisher.
This story is a work of fiction. All characters and events are the product of
the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to any person, living or dead,
is coincidental. LoveSetMatch.com is a fictitious Web site imagined by
the author. As of this book’s publication date, no such site existed.
© 2010 Chris Coppernoll
The author is represented by MacGregor Literary.
The Team: Andrea Christian, Steve Parolini, Sarah Schultz, Caitlyn York, Karen Athen
Cover design: Amy Kiechlin
Cover images: iStockPhoto.com, royalty-free
First Edition 2010
An author friend says writing the novel’s acknowledgment page is its most formidable task. How can everyone responsible for bringing a novel to fruition be recognized? A special thanks goes to my agent, mentor, and friend, Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, for representing my writing and for his sage counsel regarding all matters literary. I’d like to acknowledge Don Pape, Terry Behimer, and everyone at David C. Cook for the opportunity to write stories. Significant recognition is due my editor, Stephen Parolini, for his creative contribution to
Providence, A Beautiful Fall,
Thanks to Caitlyn York, for her eye for detail and energy. I’d like to thank my daughter, Gray, for her love and inspiration, and Christa, without qualifiers, for allowing Him to inspire her to slip a silly little card into a package with her book that started our brand-new adventure. And finally, our Lord, Jesus Christ, who closes old doors and makes all things new.
“How’d ya like to spend Christmas
on Christmas Island?”
“There are motives I cannot discover,
dreams I cannot realize. My God, search me.”
My Utmost for His Highest
to be in New York by 1:30 p.m. Did my life depend upon it? Yes, as a matter of fact, it did. Just the thought of calling Ben or Avril with bad news from O’Hare churned my stomach and made my face prickle with a dizzying fear. I joined a sea of travelers bundled in parkas, hoods, hats, and gloves; they stretched out in front of me, pressing in and wresting me through a queue of red velvet theater ropes.
All of Chicago wanted to flee the blizzard they’d awakened to. Sometime after midnight the sky exploded with snowflakes. Icy white parachutists fell from their celestial perch as innocently as doves. The year’s last snowstorm tucked the city in with a white blanket knitted through the long winter’s night.
When I reached the American Airlines check-in, I hoisted one of my two black canvas bags onto the scale for the ticket agent.
“Harper Gray?” she asked, confirming my reservation.
She returned my driver’s license, dropping her gaze to the workstation and tapping my information into the system. At the kiosk next to me, a large Texan with a silver rodeo buckle typed on his iPhone with his thumbs, mumbling something about checking the weather in Dallas.
What don’t we use them for?
It was obvious how many of my fellow travelers were heading somewhere for the New Year’s Eve festivities. I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on a cluster of merry college students reveling in their Christmas break. They joked and chattered, mentioning Times Square, unbothered by long lines or the imminent threat of weather delays. At thirty, almost thirty-one, I could no longer relate to their carefree lifestyle. Too much water under the bridge, most of it dark and all of it numbing.
“Here you are,” the ticket agent said, handing me a boarding pass still warm from the printer. I fumbled with my things, stuffing my photo ID into my wallet as a mother and her young son squeezed in next to me. The crowd current swept me away from the ticket counter, denying me a chance to ask the agent the one question I most wanted answered.
Is anyone flying out of here this morning?
I rolled my carry-on through the main concourse. I’d used the small black Samsonite for so many trips, I thought the airlines should paste labels on it like an old vaudevillian’s steamer trunk. A row of display monitors hung from a galvanized pipe, cobalt blue icicles glowing all the brighter in the dark and windowless hallway. I joined a beleaguered crowd of gawkers studying the departure screens. Their collective moans of frustration confirmed what I already knew. My flight—indeed, all flights out of O’Hare—was:
I pinched my eyes shut. This was
what I needed. Not today, not today of all days. I absolutely
to be in New York by 1:30 p.m. Did my life depend upon it? Yes, as a matter of fact, it did.
When my travel alarm jolted me from dead slumber that morning, I’d climbed out of my warm bed and stepped into a cold shower, after which I pulled on jeans in a dimly lit two-bedroom apartment. The walls were bare, stripped of framed artwork, curio shelves, and knickknacks. The kitchen was cleared of dishes, pots, pans, and silver. The last piece of cozy furniture, my double bed and headboard, remained only because my landlady said she’d take possession of it after I was gone.
I’d booked the 6:05 a.m. direct flight to LaGuardia the day Ben called with his blessed invitation. He’d offered to purchase my ticket, saving me the embarrassment of asking him for money since there was no way on earth I could afford airfare on my own. I attributed the good fortune to God’s provision, solely based on the timing of Ben’s call, coming as it did after I’d sent skyward my own blizzard of fervent prayers. These were desperate prayers, all punctuated with the exclamation point “Help me!”
I slipped out of the apartment, locking the door behind me for the last time, wheeled my suitcases quietly down an empty hallway, and dropped my keys through the brass letter slot belonging to the building supervisor. Apartment 319.
It had been only a year but felt like a thousand since Avril and I had shared this place together. Those were
. We were both working, making good money, and I’d fallen in love.
But life can change on a dime, leaving you with little more than a nickel. Work ended in those first weeks of January. Avril abruptly left for Newbury, Massachusetts,
to be working on a new project in the Bay State, while I wouldn’t earn a paycheck for the next twelve months. Capping the ugliest January on record, Sam had reserved a quiet table for two at La Maison Rouge to celebrate my thirtieth birthday. Avril was certain I’d receive a gift I could wear on my left ring finger, but Sam presented me with news; he was moving to Los Angeles. A week later Sam departed, never asking if I’d like to go with him or even if I’d be okay without him.
The next day I woke up to the unmistakable sensation of drowning.
My charmed life had been interrupted by sudden impact with an iceberg. I cracked, filling up with the relentless rush of water until all buoyancy was gone. I spent the next year alone, unemployed and unloved, watching my life fall apart piece by piece until all of it fit into two black canvas bags.
That early morning as I wrestled two unwieldy suitcases out the front entrance and down icy concrete steps, I felt fragile, agoraphobic. The cold seeped through my thin leather flats; mine were the only prints in the freshly fallen snow. Easy, weightless flakes swirled through the air, and I said another prayer, an apology for entertaining thoughts of the cab driver finding me hypothermic when he arrived, and how it might all be easier that way.
It had crossed my mind. Yes,
thought. The idea of taking my own life, however repugnant, carried with it the promise of solving everything. It was a false promise that rattled me, clueing me in that I needed rescue. When the checkered taxicab picked me up, I felt like I was boarding one of those orange-and-white coast guard choppers they use to pull stranded victims from the icy waters.
To the other passengers at Gate 12 killing time on their laptops or thumbing through the latest Christa Parrish novel, I must have looked like any other stranded traveler balancing a paper coffee cup on her knee. But inside? I was the memory keeper, a woman bearing the scars of a naive walk onto an icy lake, hearing the frightening sounds of cracking ice, and then feeling the unthinkable plunge into frozen darkness.