Review: The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall by Shannon Kirk

Publication Date: Sept 6, 2016
Vivienne Marshall was in a car accident, one that has left her on the verge of death, laying in a hospital bed. As she lays there, she experiences the opportunity to visit other Heavens and choose her own, led by the trustworthy guide who was once her lover. The only catch is that she has to choose between returning to her body and moving on.
As Vivienne navigates the different Heavens and recounts her life, she begins to realize how important it is that her choice is carefully made, but how can she possible choose between leaving her beloved son and going to spend an eternity with the love of her life?

Rating: 4 stars

This is the first book I've finished reading for leisure since starting college. Actually, this is the first leisure book I've read since August 10, and I don't know how I've managed to go that long without properly reading something that I chose to read. But let's get on with the review.

I really liked the concept for this and it reminded me of The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, which I read a really long time ago when a friend lent it to me. The idea of dying and being able to see your Heaven or what Heaven will be like is something that I think a lot of people think about, but few authors explore. It's not something that's very easy to write about, especially in a manner that is respectful to different kinds of readers, but I think that Shannon Kirk did a really good job with that in this book.

I enjoyed the plot, for the most part, though I did find that there were several points during the story when I found that I was bored or really confused. There was one particular storyline within the story that confused me so much that I had a really hard time figuring out what was really going on and what the purpose of that subplot was. Even now, I don't think I can properly summarize what that subplot was supposed to do for the overall story.

Though I can't say that the idea of being able to choose your own Heaven particularly spoke to me or appealed to me, mostly since I am a Christian and have different beliefs regarding Heaven, I do commend Shannon for being able to explore the idea well and explain it in a very thorough manner.

The pacing of the book worked really well for the story that it was telling. While I did think that it got slow at some points, I ultimately was able to understand why the book was paced the way it was. I appreciated the way it jumped back and forth to different times in Vivienne's life and how it came together in the end in a way that I wasn't expecting, and I also really liked that I got to see the story from more than just Vivienne's perspective. Somehow, that just made the story more enjoyable and I found myself looking forward to seeing which Heaven she'd choose to visit next.

I liked Vivienne, but I found it hard to relate to her, just because of the age gap and the fact that she's a mother. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading from her voice and getting to re-live her life with her and to see how she would eventually make her decision.

There are other characters that I would like to talk about on a deeper level, but I think I'm going to exclude them here because I want you to be somewhat surprised when you read about them in the book for yourself.

4 stars. I do recommend this if it sounds like something you would like, but I don't know if there's a particular type of reader that I'd specifically recommend this too.
Thank you to Shannon Kirk for reaching out to me when the book was published and sending me a free, signed ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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