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.