published by Simon and Schuster in February 2008 (Tradesize paperback)
WELCOME TO HEAVEN
Welcome to Heaven. Use your Wishberry to hustle up whatever you want. Have an online chat with God. Visit the attractions such as Retail Rapture, Wrath of God miniature golf and Nocturnal Theater, where your nightly dreams are translated to film.
Your greeter might just be Skye Sebring who will advises her newly dead clients on what to expect now that they’re expired. “Heaven is like a Corona Beer commercial” she assures her clients. “It’s all about contentment.” So different than Earth where chaos reigns. Unfortunately for Skye, she’s been chosen to live her first life. She’s required to attend Earth 101 classes, which teach all of the world’s greatest philosophies through five Beatle songs.
Skye has no interest in Earthly pursuits, until lawyer Ryan Blaine briefly becomes her client after a motorcycle accident. Just as they are getting to know each other, he is revived and sent back to Earth. She follows his life via the TV channel “Earthly Pleasures” but discovers he has a wife as well as a big secret. Why then does he call a show for the lovelorn to talk about the lost love of his life?
Genre: Fiction, contemporary
The Story: Skye Sebring is a greeter in Heaven and has been chosen to go down and start a new life on Earth. Skye isn’t thrilled about this opportunity and tries to find out why she was chosen by SB (Supreme Being)… but she hits a wall, as it turns out her case is classified.
Meanwhile, Ryan Blaine, son of ex-president Blaine and lawyer, is having a trouble with his marriage. He married his fiancée in the hospital after she was in a car accident and between life and death; however, now that she has recovered, she is not the same woman anymore.
My Opinion: Basically, put the back blurb and my little summary together and I think you’ll be able to guess a bit about the storyline. I have to admit I was surprised about the Ryan’s wife storyline, but I didn’t read the back blurb… I picked up this book because of the author’s interview over at Laura Florand’s blog.
This novel is fiction with a love story in it, not a romance novel. I think that knowing this, I was able to enjoy the novel more as I wasn’t expecting a HEA ending (but there is one… sort of). So what did I think of the book? I enjoyed it, I like the author’s voice. The ideas were good and I loved Ryan. His love for Susan… it was incredible, in my opinion. It’s unfortunately we didn’t get to know Skye/Susan bit more… I think it would have been interesting.
As much as I enjoyed the book, there were flaws. First, the book too short and therefore, the author didn’t have time to develop the storyline and the characters fully. Also, the book was kept simple, but this kind of plot is not simple, it’s complex. You can’t make it simple… if you try, you end up missing something… which is what happened in this book. The book was well thought, but in the end, when the story is told and parts are connected together, it’s a bit of a stretch. If I would have been the author, I would have made a choice: either focus on Skye coming down to Earth from Heaven and falling in love with Ryan or the plot about Ryan’s marriage. Finally, the ending was a bit too open for my taste. Granted, it was “happy,” but still too open.
If there was a sequel to this book so the author could tie up the loose ends, I think it’d be perfect and I would for sure read it.
My Grade: B-