For readers who loved The Five People You Meet in Heaven, For One More Day, or The Shack.
“People walked up the front steps of the funeral home, preparing themselves to see the grieving orphaned children of the woman who passed, but what did they find instead? The youngest orphaned child was snacking on a Quarter Pounder with cheese, drinking a medium Diet Coke, and laughing in a chair with her friends.”
In this fresh, poignant novel, Always There, Shelby Lynn LeeMaster grapples with her recent “orphaned” life and how to let down her guard to fully experience true love, allowing it in to her heart without fear. The mother, Betheny LeeMaster, struggles with dying before she could teach and guide her children into adulthood. The daughter cannot break from her own fears, while the mother cannot forgive herself for leaving her children too soon. The different narrators, the mother in Heaven and the daughter on Earth, tell their stories in alternating chapters. Can the two women reconcile their fears and remorse being worlds and lifetimes apart?
Eastman’s honesty explores the tragic ending to a mother-daughter relationship, revealing the pain a motherless daughter experiences. The two vantage points allow the reader to find a connection with the mother and/or the daughter, personalizing the loss that a dying mother and grieving daughter often face. The novel portrays the truth behind the death of a loved one, while glorifying the mystery of Heaven, proving that love does not die when a person does. The channels of love are still open, going in both directions. Love goes on when life does not. The novel bridges the tragic with the comedic, giving audiences a lighter, more enjoyable, sentimental read. You will laugh while you cry, and cry while you laugh, but in the end, you’ll hug your loved ones, holding on for dear life.
After finishing this book I had to just sit and absorb what I just read. One of the reasons I love reading so much is because it allows the readers imagination to run wild. What Mrs. Eastman did with this book was give everyone who ever lost someone a special piece of hope. We all have wondered what the afterlife holds for our loved ones, is it one big party, are they happy, do they watch over us etc. With this book Mrs. Eastman gives us a possibility of what may occur. I have always been told the imagination is a powerful thing and this book is proof of just that!
This is a story of an old school Italian family told from two points of view, the dead and the living. The main characters in this one just happen to be the babies of the family and mother/daughter. From the standpoint of earth we get to follow shelby lynn's life. Shelby lynn is a high school English teacher running away/ denying herself the ability to fall in LOVE. Shelby has lost all of her aunts and mother to cancer. Will she be next? One day she finds a lump and her ability to shut down/shut people out becomes worse. Although benign, she decides to go this course alone and dump the LOVE of her life, Chance. Lets talk about chance for a minute, hot single cowboy dad with a bad a** pick up truck ( hey I'm a country girl, I love my pick up trucks). Chance had the patience of a saint in this book. The more Shelby lynn pushed him away, the more he fought for her (sigh). There love story come down to some of my favorite lyrics.. Anyone remember this one...
They read you cinderella
You hoped it would come true
That one day your prince charming would come rescue you
You like romantic movies
And you never will forget
The way it felt when romeo kissed juliette
And all this time that youve been waiting
You dont have to wait no more
I can love you like that
I would make you my world
Move heaven and earth if you were my girl
I would give you my heart
Be all that you need
Show you youre everything thats precious to me
If you give me a chance, I can love you like that
I never make a promise
I dont intend to keep
So when I say forever
Forevers what I mean
Ok ok I'm going to stop here because I'm having flash backs. But for those of you who want to take it back I've posted a link for your listening pleasure, lol.
It's safe to say now that chance is swoon worthy if you haven't come to that conclusion already, sigh.
Now lets talk about the heaven/ afterlife part of the book. This part is told from Beth's POV. She is the baby of her family and Shelby Lynn's mom. Let's talk about Beth's piece of heaven for a minute. Imagine crossing over wearing an outfit that symbolizes the happiest moment in your life and being welcomed with open arms to family members that went on before you. Well Beth's worst fears are re surfacing when her last sister Lila dies and now her children are left alone. Beth struggles with guilt of leaving them before she was able to completely prepare them for LIFE. As Lila tells beth the good/bad that has occurred over the years with her children, my heart swelled and broke all at the same time. After Lila's story, it was safe to say the the living and the dead were worried about Shelby lynn just the same. Well to add fuel to the fire, as if Shelby lynn wasn't already having issues, Lila wrote a letter ten years ago blaming Shelby lynn for her mother's death. Yes I'm not kidding she really wrote it and yes Shelby found it.....yup my wth wow moment! Operation mom kick a** return to earth /save my baby girl from herself is a go!
I LOVED this book. The supporting characters were LOL funny and I loved them all. This book is powerful and beautifully written. As I said before this read is one that gives readers who have lost a loved one a piece of hope. The imagination is a powerful thing and the way Mrs. Eastman used her's to bring together two worlds was BRILLIANT! I can seriously talk about this book all day but for the sake of not giving away anything I'm going to stop here!
GREAT Job Mrs. Eastman! You have earned the title of FINE WINE for this one!
*** I was provided an ARC of this book for an honest review***
Book rating: A+/5 stars
This review is dedicated to my big brother, VICTOR TAYLOR, III. You are loved and missed everyday of my life. You are not here physically but in my heart you are ALWAYS THERE! I love you.
Always There by Carol Eastman BOOK REVIEW
Sunday, March 17, 2013