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5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling love story!
7th Heaven is another one of Catherine Anderson's emotionally charged love stories set in authentic, real world circumstances.
The main characters of this book, Joe Lakota and Marilee Nelson, reminded me of Ace Keegan and Caitlin O'Shannessy, the main characters in Anderson's historical novel, Keegan's Lady. Joe, like Ace, is the epitome of the alpha male: strong,...
Published on Oct. 17 2001 by J Morgan

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2.0 out of 5 stars not a great message for women
This book presents the sad tale of a woman who has been viciously raped and has severe post traumatic stress disorder as a result. She is more or less a total mess until her old boyfriend comes back into her life. He helps her heal, etc. After a lot of drama, all is well.
I mean, yuck. Rape can certainly cause PTSD, but this is unrealistic. To give just one...
Published on March 22 2002 by Mary Katherine


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4.0 out of 5 stars A lovely story but slow paced., Nov. 27 2003
By 
MaryGrace Meloche (Ontario, Canada.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Seventh Heaven (Mass Market Paperback)
Catherine Anderson always pens the absolute in leading men. Her romance heros are consistently tall, physically attractive, self-disciplined, and nine times out of ten unbelievably wealthy. In other words, the ideal romance hero. Anderson's leading ladies are usually cute, generally patterned after the girl next door, and nine times out of ten have a history of torment. In other words, the girl needs his help. In "Seventh Heaven", Catherine Anderson sticks to her recipe and prepares another romance delicacy.
Joe Lakota, an award winning high school and collegiate quarterback, was destined for the big times. This all-star athlete had the world by a string, including the sweetness girl in town. Marilee Nelson lived in a sheltered world. Her family protected her with love and Joe Lakota idolized her. Unfortunately, all too soon, her world came crashing down. Brutally, she was persuaded to sacrifice Joe Lakota. Instead Marilee Nelson chose to protect him by ending their lifelong friendship and love.
Ten years have slipped away and Joe Lakota has returned to the small Oregon town, of his boyhood; where he will raise his small, vulnerable son -- the small Oregon town Marilee Nelson still calls home. Joe Lakota may have returned home but not to the once naive Marilee Nelson.
In this story, Catherine Anderson has created a lovely page turner, but it is, at times, slow going. Marilee has some grave hangups and periodically the author delivers the healing with a painful pace. Nevertheless, this is a good book, but "Annie's Song" is better, if you have not read that Anderson classic, do run out and get a copy.
Grace Atkinson, Ontario - Canada.
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2.0 out of 5 stars not a great message for women, March 22 2002
This review is from: Seventh Heaven (Mass Market Paperback)
This book presents the sad tale of a woman who has been viciously raped and has severe post traumatic stress disorder as a result. She is more or less a total mess until her old boyfriend comes back into her life. He helps her heal, etc. After a lot of drama, all is well.
I mean, yuck. Rape can certainly cause PTSD, but this is unrealistic. To give just one example, Marilee achieves sexual healing remarkably quickly, once she can bring herself to be intimate with Joe. That's not exactly how it happens in real life.
But really, my main problem is that Marilee is a basket case until Joe comes back. In reality, a woman who did not pursue getting her PTSD treated in 10 years would probably not start working on it all of the sudden because her boyfriend was back in the picture. But let's say for the sake of argument that she would do this, realistically. The message of this book is still damaging IMO. Marilee does not see herself as a person of value until she has Joe's love once more.
Also, I am beyond sick of the "marriage of convenience" plot. That convention should be abandoned immediately IMO.
For the sake of those young rape survivors reading romance novels, I hope the treatment of rape gets a lot more empowering than this. Ideally, Marilee would have realized her personal worth and started getting better long before Joe came back.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Familiar ground for Catherine Anderson, Jan. 27 2002
This review is from: Seventh Heaven (Mass Market Paperback)
Catherine Anderson writes emotionally charged contemporary and historical romances where the heroines are frequently wounded young ladies and the heros are extremely masculine rescuers who are also exceptionally sensitive. "Seveth Heaven" certainly fits this mold. It is the story of Marilee Nelson, a nice Catholic girl from a small Oregon town who abruptly broke off her engagement to her football star fiancee, Joe Lakota. A decade later, Joe returns to town with his fragile young son and quickly realizes that there were tragic circumstances that caused Marilee to break up with him years ago. He proceeds to gently but persistently tear down her emotional barriers and try to recapture the romance of their youth. Anderson is an extremely sympathetic writer, and she handles the backlash of physical and emotional trama very well. Her characters are appealing, and the sensual tension is well-paced. Unfortunately, this is ground that Anderson has traveled before, and more adeptly, in "Forever After." If you've enjoyed Anderson's previous work, you will like "Seventh Heaven", but don't expect to see something new from this talented writer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling love story!, Oct. 17 2001
By 
J Morgan "Writer/Reader" (South Fork, CO United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Seventh Heaven (Mass Market Paperback)
7th Heaven is another one of Catherine Anderson's emotionally charged love stories set in authentic, real world circumstances.
The main characters of this book, Joe Lakota and Marilee Nelson, reminded me of Ace Keegan and Caitlin O'Shannessy, the main characters in Anderson's historical novel, Keegan's Lady. Joe, like Ace, is the epitome of the alpha male: strong, dominating, quick-tempered, and protective of his dependents. Marilee, like Caitlin, struggles with the trauma of her past. Two very human individuals with imperfections that make their story all the more believable.
High school sweethearts ten years before, Joe, a famous professional football player, and Marilee, an agoraphobic children's book writer/author, struggle to find their way back together. After a bitter divorce, he's returned to his small hometown of Laurel Creek, Oregon, with his son Zachary, who needs care for his PTSD. Circumstances develop that lead Joe and Marilee into a marriage of convenience to save Zachary from being returned to the custody of Joe's abusive ex-wife.
Joe immediately sees a similar behavior pattern in his son and new wife, Marilee -- both use psychological barriers to keep the world away. Patiently Joe nurtures them.
When Joe is arrested for murdering one of the men who raped Marilee ten years before, she must conquer her phobia to prove his innocent.
Catherine Anderson weaves together secrets, mystery, and real world issues with tender romance and justice in an unfair world through compelling characters that draw you into their world. As you read 7th Heaven, you'll experience a roller coaster ride of emotions and a deep sense of rightness at the healing power of love.
A touching love story that will stay with you long after the final page.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sexual Content: PG-13, Oct. 9 2000
This review is from: Seventh Heaven (Mass Market Paperback)
Marilee Nelson is haunted by a terrible secret (and yes, it is a very bad one). It's a secret she will share with no one, including her fiance Joe Lakota. Rather than confide in him, Marilee breaks their engagement and convinces Joe that she has left him for someone else. Heartbroken, Joe leaves for the big city and embarks on a high profile professional football career. Seventh Heaven begins ten years later...
Having recently been granted custody of his 4-year-old son Zachary, 31-year-old Joe Lakota moves back to his hometown in Oregon to raise him. After ten years, he is still and will always be in love with Marilee Nelson. All of their lives--clear up until she broke off their engagement ten years past--the couple had been best friends, inseparable from the time she was five and he was eight. It doesn't take Joe long to figure out that his boyhood sweetheart had lied about leaving him for another man, nor does it take him long to figure out her secret, or at least, a fundamental part of it. The problem for Joe now is figuring out how to get through to Marilee and pick up where they left off ten years ago.
Marilee never stopped loving Joe, but she doesn't feel any more able to confide in him at age 28 than she had at age 18. There were valid reasons why Marilee kept her secret and as far as she can tell, those reasons haven't changed. But Joe won't give up on her or the love they have shared all of these years. When Joe's ex-wife (who was abusive to their son) petitions to regain custody, Joe asks Marilee to help him in the courts by marrying him. Marilee realizes she has been handed a second chance at happiness with Joe, but will she find the courage to take it?
The irony of Seventh Heaven is that for the first half of the novel Marilee comes across as a cliche "wilting flower" heroine...not a personal favorite of mine. Marilee's reaction to her secret feels out of proportion to the secret itself, not in terms of the intensity of her reaction, but in terms of the duration (ten years) of it. But then in the second half, the reader learns alongside the hero that even if we might have thought we knew the extent of Marilee's secret, we didn't really have a clue as to how gruesome and appalling it truly is. At this point in the book, Marilee seems more like a warrior than a wilting flower. She only gets better and better as she allows herself to get in touch with her anger and emotions for the first time in ten years.
There are a couple of spots in the novel's first half where the pace of the book slows down a bit, though not so much as to bore you. The last half of Seventh Heaven is extremely fast-paced and more than compensates for any lagging moments experienced in the first half. As the reader learns more and more of Marilee's secret, and then again when a murder and an indictment come into play, it becomes next to impossible to put this book down.
-full review originally published in The Romance Reader
-see profile for breakdown of sexual content ratings
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5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful poignant romance, Sept. 9 2000
By 
This review is from: Seventh Heaven (Mass Market Paperback)
In San Milagros, a small town in the Bay area of California, former football star Joe Lakota knows first hand the down side of fame. He struggles past a bad marriage, ugly divorce, and near bankruptcy to try to make a new life for himself and his four-year-old son Zachary. However, he also knows the media will constantly haunt him without caring for the damage to his child. Joe decides it is time to return home to Laurel Creek, Oregon for the good of Zachary even if his teenage love Marilee Norman still resides there.

Joe becomes the high school football coach while Marilee hides from him. Years ago, she rejected his offer of marriage. Joe confronts Marilee and immediately realizes he never stopped loving her. He also realizes her behavior reminds him of his son as both use psychological barriers to keep the world away. As he continues to peruse Marilee, she knows she too still loves him, but can she make the step that could provide the two of them a lifetime of happiness?

Award winning, best-selling author Catherine Anderson provides her many fans with a poignant contemporary romance that focuses on disabling phobias. Fans will root for the lead couple to overcome their problems especially those that hamper Marilee from a commitment. Zachary and a chicken but heroic dog named Boo at times steal the show form the headliners. SEVENTH HEAVEN is a deep, emotional piece of paradise that only the incomparable Ms. Anderson could have created.

Harriet Klausner
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4.0 out of 5 stars "Seventh Heaven" lives up to it's name, Sept. 9 2000
By 
Teresa A. Kopp (Cincinnati, Ohio USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Seventh Heaven (Mass Market Paperback)
What a wonderful story! Joe and Marilee, separated for ten years, have never stopped loving each other and are obviously meant to be together. While they were in college, a tragic event that happens to Marilee caused her to end her engagement to Joe. He goes on to become a famous professional football player, while she becomes an agoraphobic children's book writer/author. Following his divorce and a messy custody battle, Joe comes back to his small hometown with his son (who suffers from agoraphobia as well) to live the quiet life and coach high school football. Joe still loves Marilee and still wants to be with her, but she is so traumatized at seeing him again that she has a panic attack. The story slowly builds to the inevitable conclusion from there. This book reminded me of Anderson's previous book Annie's Song. Fans of that book will definately love this one. My only complaint is that the incident that forces Joe and Marilee to get married quickly fades and is not truly explored, that's why I give this book a 4 star rating instead of a 5 star rating.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Heartwarming Story of the Magic Power of Love and Trust, Sept. 9 2000
By 
Lilly Rabalais (Alexandria, LA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Seventh Heaven (Mass Market Paperback)
If I could give this book 10 stars I would. One of the most memorable stories I have ever read. It is the story of two wounded souls, Marilee Hunter and Zachary Lakota and how trust and love helped to heal them.
Joe Lakota and Marilee Hunter had loved each other since childhood and Joe had always been Marilee's protector. While in college at age 18 Mari returned Joe's ring and told him she did not love him, packed her bags and returned home, never confiding in anyone as to why; instead letting her family believe that Joe had broken the engagement.
In the 10 years past, Joe had become a star quarterback for the San Milagros Bullets, entered a disastrous marriage, received a knee injury which ended his football career and had recently approached bankruptcy buying off his ex-wife for complete custody of his troubled 4 year old son.
Realizing he could not shield his son from the ever constant press hounding him, he decided on a career as a high school football coach in his home town of Laurel Creek, Oregon where his mother could care for the disturbed Zachary.
Two months after he returned he confronted Marilee, who was now a writer of children's stories. During their meeting she had a panic attack. After consoling Marilee and talking to her he discovered part of her long kept secret and vowed to help her recover. They both knew they still loved each other deeply but Mari felt she had no place in his life.
Joe's seventy six year old mother, while caring for Zachary, had a heart attack and Joe had to rely on Marilee to care for his son as Zach was too emotional to take to day care. Mari and Zachary developed immediate repore' and soon Zach began confiding in Mari. Mari discovered she loved Zach as though he was her son and became very protective of him.
Circumstances developed and Joe and Marilee entered into a marriage of convenience to save Zach. Joe was determined he would get psychiatric help for Mari and help her get her life back.
A murder occurs and Joe is arrested. Marilee is determined that he is innocent and that he must be saved. You will have to read the outcome.
Joe is the ideal hero, warm, loving, protective, understanding and an all around wonderful person. Marilee is weak and frightened but with Joe's help develops backbone. Zach is a love. Boo, Marilee's dog is great.
You'll laugh, cry, and call on every emotion but you will love this story. The epilogue is quite unique and wonderful.
Another Catherine Anderson great!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Seventh Heaven is "heaven sent", Sept. 5 2000
By 
Brenda K Bynum (Mt. Pleasant, TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Seventh Heaven (Mass Market Paperback)
I loved this book. I am a die hard Catherine Anderson fan. I think that this is one of my favorite books by the awe inspiring and sensitive author. Joe Lakota is the perfect hero. He is drop dead gorgeous not to mention a paragon of patience and strength. Ms. Anderson knows how to endear the hero to the reader with his quality of character and integrity. Joe is a loving father, kind friend, and sexy but sensitive lover. He is willing to do anything to win back the only woman that he has ever loved. Marilee is a sweet and strong character also. At the end of the book the reader sees how much she really loved Joe all along. She would do anything for him ( and she did). She is endearing as well to the reader and I was just waiting with bated breath for them to get together where they belong. Also Ms. Anderson can create hated antagonists...as in this book. That is all I will say. Just when you think you have it figured out, Ms. Anderson surprises you again!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Heaven Can't Wait, Oct. 3 2000
By 
"rmwsreader" (Bordentown, New Jersey USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Seventh Heaven (Mass Market Paperback)
Catherine Anderson creates another powerful story of true love and the things people sometimes go through to finally end up together. This is the story of young love that ends suddenly and without explanation ten years earlier. We meet Joe Lakota, a professional athlete, who has returned home with his six year old son Zachary after a bitter custody battle with his ex-wife. He returns to find his childhood sweetheart, Marilee Nelson, coping with severe emotional problems of her own. Joe and Marilee try to find their way back to each other through his son Zachary, who needs care. I got into this story immediately. It was a swift read because the action was non-stop. Sometimes in the earlier chapters I felt frustrated because Marilee didn't communicate, but once the mystery unfolds, I didn't mind so much because the behavior would have been expected, given the circumstances. I really enjoyed the book and look forward to Ms. Anderson's next release.
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Seventh Heaven
Seventh Heaven by C Anderson (Mass Market Paperback - Aug. 24 2000)
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