Published by Reputation Books Goodreads
What if you could choose your heaven now? Go on a celestial shopping trip of sorts? Thirty-five-year-old Vivienne does just that, as she lies in the ICU; a fatal walk into the path of a truck. In her final week of life, Vivienne treks through the Heavens of a priest, a best friend, a homeless child, and a lover who never was. Vivienne's guardian angel, Noah, who may just be her soul mate, escorts her through selections of Heavens and through the confusion Vivienne experiences as she flounders between a doubt of life and the certainty of death. Although her visits to varied afterlives provide peace and beauty, choosing proves not so easy: Vivienne's love for her young son and his earthly father pull her from her colorful journey—and from the divine love of Noah.The nature of love, the variety and magic of life, unending hope, and the importance of saying goodbye are central to this uplifting tale.
As a novel-in-progress under the title Heavens, The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall was a finalist in the William Faulkner William Wisdom writing competition.
Okay, so this book had me in tears and made me laugh and made me feel hopeful, all at the same time. I love when a book I’m reading can make me feel real emotion. This was a beautiful book about love and the importance of cherishing every moment you have with your loved ones. I can totally understand why it was a finalist in the writing competition, even before it was complete.
The interweaving of time was done masterfully. The trips to one person’s heaven, followed by a chapter written by Vivienne’s son concerning his life, was the glue that connected everything. I just loved how everything was connected, and the slow unfolding of the connections all the way through the book. I’m not going to lie, I read this book in just a few hours. If I had had maybe 7 or 8 hours uninterrupted reading time (oh wouldn’t that be glorious), I would have devoured this book. But alas, real life has a way of interfering, so I had to read it in chunks.
The tours she takes, of the different heavens is such an imaginative way to approach death. I wonder if this is how our heaven really is. If it is, I’m not so afraid of death. I love the idea of choosing your own heaven and having all those you love near you, as if no time has passed. And how comforting a thought it is to know that those that have passed on before you, are watching over you.
This is a lovely novel filled with hope and joy and heartache, but most of all hope. It has stayed with me long after I read it. You know how some books just get stuck in your mind and you just have to chew on it? That’s what this book did to me. I am still pondering on the central message and what I am taking from it.
If you love a story that can make you feel emotional, this is definitely a book you’ll want to put on your TBR list.