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Halfway To Heaven Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 2001

59 customer reviews
Book 3 of 5 in the Calhoun Chronicles Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

Bestselling author Susan Wiggs once again delights readers with her portrayal of unconventional women and the men who learn to love them. Abigail Cabot, the awkward, dowdy daughter of a powerful senator and sister to reigning beauty Helena, loves nothing more than stargazing. In fact, that's what she's doing when she discovers a couple in a passionate embrace in the garden. Embarrassed, Abby escapes, dropping her handkerchief in her hurry. Imagine her shock when the gentleman seducing the president's sister in plain view turns out to be freshman congressman James Calhoun. The rake's knowing winks and forward manner rile Abby like no one else ever has, not even the object of her long-standing unrequited love, Lt. Boyd Butler, the vice president's son. But nothing is as it seems in Wiggs's wonderful world. The ugly duckling turns into a swan, thanks to a fairy godmother in the form of a talented seamstress, but the prince is a surprise to everyone, including the newly transformed Abby. Meanwhile, the beautiful Helena is in love with a thoroughly unsuitable man, their next-door neighbor, absent-minded professor Michael Rowan, the only man who doesn't think Abby's affinity for astronomy is unnatural. But it appears that no one is going to get what they wish for--or worse, maybe they will. Susan Wiggs's deft story telling keeps audiences guessing all the way to the last page and leaves us wanting more! Hopefully Helena and Michael Rowan's story isn't too far behind. --Alison Trinkle

From Publishers Weekly

Although Wiggs's newest (after The Firebrand) is set in Washington, D.C., during the late 19th century, there's a flavor of Regency England to this delightful romp. Wiggs takes the usual Regency personas a rake, a feisty heroine, snobbish society members and a dressmaker as gifted as any fairy godmother and instills them with depth and complexity. Abigail Cabot, the daughter of a senator and sister of a reigning beauty, is made clumsy by a deformed foot that she desperately tries to hide, especially from the object of her hidden affections, Lt. Boyd Butler, the vice-president's son. When Jamie Calhoun, a newly elected congressman with a dark secret in his past, discovers Abigail's feelings, he sets out to further the romance and win the political support of her father and the vice-president by transforming her into a desirable high society swan. The mousy Abigail turns out to have unsuspected dimensions, including a sharp mind, a quick tongue and a steadfast devotion to astronomy. Readers won't be surprised to find that the real romance develops between Abby and Jamie; the fun is seeing them fight both each other and their feelings every step of the way. With its lively prose, well-developed conflict and passionate characters, this enjoyable, poignant tale is certain to enchant. (Oct.)Forecast: Wiggs has several bestsellers and two Romantic Times Career Achievement Awards under her belt, and this sterling effort will likely earn her another RITA Award. National radio and print advertising, strong word of mouth and an attractive, starry cover will help the novel appeal to a broader readership.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Mira (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1551668378
  • ISBN-13: 978-1551668376
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #552,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Susan Wiggs's life is all about family, friends...and fiction. She's been featured in the national media, including NPR's Talk of the Nation, and is a popular speaker locally and nationally.

From the very start, her writings have illuminated the everyday dramas of ordinary people. At the age of eight, she self-published her first novel, entitled "A Book About Some Bad Kids."

Today, she is an international best-selling, award-winning author, with millions of copies of her books in print in numerous countries. Her recent novel, Marrying Daisy Bellamy, took the #1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller List, and The Lakeshore Chronicles have won readers' hearts around the globe. Her books celebrate the power of love, the timeless bonds of family and the fascinating nuances of human nature.

She lives with her husband and family at the water's edge on an island in the Pacific Northwest, where she divides her time between sleeping and waking.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Sheri Melnick on October 12, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Author Susan Wiggs departs from the Great Chicago Fire setting of her recent novels and takes the reader on a journey to late nineteenth century Washington. There, the reader is treated to a heart-warming romance and a bird's -eye view of the politics of the times.
Miss Abigail Cabot, daughter of Senator Franklin Cabot, seems to be an utter social failure, always causing some disastrous event at important gatherings. At a recent wedding, her deformed foot nearly gave way just as the scoundrel, Virginia Congressman, Jamie Calhoun, rescued her.
Charmer Jamie notices Abby's adoring gaze falling on Lieutenant Boyd Butler, son of the vice-president. But Boyd has eyes only for the beauteous Helena, Abby's sister. As Abby agrees to pen Helena's letters to Boyd, she discloses her heart's innermost feelings, and Boyd falls in love with the letter-writer. Jamie decides to aid Abby in transforming herself into someone desirable by Boyd, even as Jamie shows interest in her studies of astronomy. Jamie's friendship with Abby blossoms, even as he needs to convince himself that he is only acting in his self-interest -to attain the support of Senator Cabot for anti-railroad legislation.
Rounding out this intelligent romance are supporting characters such as Professor Rowan, neighborly nutty professor and object of Helena's desire as well as Princess Layla, the woman who had chipped away at Jamie's heart.
Ms. Wiggs has set her romance apart from the rest as she alludes to the secrets in Jamie and Abby's hearts that they must unravel as the surface tension between the two leads to a deeper emotion. In a genre where beauty is often paramount, Abby and Jamie's view into each other's souls is augmented only by their support of each other's most passionate causes. For a lovely lyrical read, Ms. Wiggs' latest creation is not to be missed.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J Morgan on October 17, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Halfway to Heaven is the first book by Susan Wiggs I've read. What a treat! Her distinct style hooked me quickly, transported me back to the world of 19th century Washington, D.C. politics, and kept me turning the pages.
The main characters, Abigail Cabot and Jamie Calhoun, immediately captured my heart because they were portrayed as two very human individuals whose imperfections make their story all the more believable. Lively dialogue snaps back and forth as Jamie attempts to teach the very intelligent, unconventional Abigail the social graces. All the while, they fight the growing awareness of their love for each other.
With a distinct style, Ms Wiggs paints wonderful and evocative word pictures of her well-researched historical period. The detailed personalities of her engaging secondary characters add yet another level of depth. Senator Franklin Cabot, the aloft father; Helena, the shallow, but not so shallow sister; Professor Rowan, the neighborly nutty professor and object of Helena's desire; Lt. Boyd Butler, the vice president's son and Abigail's unrequited love interest; and Princess Layla, the woman who destroyed Jamie's heart.
The captivating plot moves smoothly with humor. Her believable characters and their interaction draw you into the scenes with their hints of the plot twists and turns that lay ahead. The conclusion draws Jamie and Abigail's story together with a satisfying resolution and the author even promises a follow-up of Helena's story.
Halfway to Heaven is an enchanting love story that will stay with you long after the final page.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bridget on May 19, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read a few novels now by Susan Wiggs - Miranda, The Firebrand, Horsemaster's Daughter & A Summer Affair. All extremely good - especially the last two (which are a series). I have taken to this author as she is a master with the written word. I so enjoy authors that are able to draw out human emotions from simple descriptions and a few well placed words and thoughts. Her writing draws you into another world - just as a good book should. Her books are really simple love tales but, the journey is the best part of her stories and characters. Just like's the fun of getting there that is the sweetest treat.

In Halfway to Heaven she does it again. The magic of an unexpected love. This story was extra fun because we can all empathize and feel for a leading lady who is less than beautiful, less than graceful, less than perfect - just like most of us - we can relate to Abby in this story. She was more brains than beauty, more deep thought than wisdom and more science than mystery. But...she was charming all around. It just took a very discerning eye to see the real woman beneath the surface. Her father missed it. Her sister even missed it. The world around her certainly missed it.

But...our leading hero, James - or Jamie as he began to be called - didn't miss it. He saw it clearly.

Jamie saw her as a boring, brown wren at first - much as the rest of the world did. But...upon deeper viewing he saw a lovely bird ready to spread its wings and soar with the right guidance. His guidance. Mind you...Jamie had his own needs to be met - getting in with the right politicians to get his agenda fulfilled in Congress but, he didn't mind playing fixer upper with Abby along the way since her father was an important connection locally.
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