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From Ashes to Honor - Loree Lough 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. It is Christian fiction and clearly follows the development of a relationship, but it is not a romance novel. I've also read an advance copy of the sequel - Honor Redeemed - and that had the same non-ending, as well as a host of 'how exactly did that happen?' moments when comparing the two books. If you want spoilers, post a comment.Thanks to Abingdon Press and NetGalley for providing free ebooks for review.