Author: Dann Stadler
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Angels in the Fire: The Dramatic True Story of an Impossible Rescue by Dann Stadler is the story of the author and his wife, Tracey, specifically of the horrific accident that struck them on the night of September 7, 1989, as a result of a head-on collision with a drunk driver who was driving at 75 miles per hour in the wrong lane. It was their fourth wedding anniversary and they were returning home from dinner to Tracey's parents' house where they were then vacationing.
The novel begins in the present tense, in the third person, describing the events that led to the collision. The crash causes the cars to char, killing the drunk driver on the spot, but Dann and Tracey miraculously survive. The high-speed impact leaves behind twisted metal, and results in both the Stadlers becoming a wreck of their former selves.
When fire extinguishers could not douse the fire, and it grew in intensity every second, some people made an almost superhuman but unsuccessful attempt to break the door down and rescue the couple while a man dropped down to his knees in prayer and supplication.
And then suddenly in front of everyone's stupefied gaze, a lone figure emerged from the woods and reached the car. Tracey's spirit recognised the figure as Jesus, her Saviour, even as her lifeless body was taken out of the car that no one could open just moments earlier.
While Dann's body caught fire, everything from the bumper in crashed on Tracey's lower body, leaving her with sixteen fractures between her pelvis and knee alone. They ended up staying in hospital for more than four-and-a-half months, undergoing numerous surgeries and skin grafts in an attempt to repair the damage.
Medical experts warned them that life would always be a struggle, in which they would be largely dependent on others even for small routine tasks, and that they would never be able to have another baby. At the time of the crash, the Stadlers were parents to nine-month-old Meghan.
Contrary to these dire predictions, both Dann and Tracey went on to live a normal life as far as possible, including taking up their jobs without any respite in their responsibilities. They also went on to become parents for the second time to Rebekah and later adopted a third child, a baby girl, who they named Emma.
Interestingly, the last thing that Dann remembered telling Tracey before the crash occurred was to keep her seat belt on. In many ways, Tracey's faith works as a safety belt for the couple, helping them to survive and thrive in spite of all indications to the contrary.
The book is a remarkable testimony to the fact that when God tests us with difficulties, He always tempers those difficulties with His steady love and grace. The account is also a reminder that God's angels are always with us, and that they guard and guide us, and watch over us as we go through life.
Besides these angels, Stadler also thanks the many real angels that helped them with their support and presence. These angels included his own parents and Tracey's too. Tracey's father takes up the task of looking after little Meghan while her parents are in the hospital.
While it seems incredible that anyone could still be alive after having been through such a terrible accident, the fact that the Stadlers are alive is proof that miracles happen and that when the going gets tough, faith is all that is required to live life well.
I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. I read it on Netgalley.