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Heaven's Waiting Room (The Afterlife Novels Book 1) Kindle Edition
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The whole concept of how the afterlife works in this story is original and interesting. Thank goodness this did not feel like Casper. Nor did it feel like a typical ghost/haunting story. The beginning and middle of the book made me think we weren’t going to learn any more than “oh, they’re stuck here and have to make the best of it,” but the ending added a new layer to the situation and wrapped things up really well, I thought. I liked the use of traveling through memories. I liked how time moved for them as if they were disconnected from reality/time.
The only thing that fell a little short for me was how the “living” world was used. Portia is oddly detached from caring about her sister or father, or even mother, for the majority of the book. Most of the other ghosts are too old to have living relations anymore (and Mary even points out to Portia that she is lucky in this regard), but everyone just kind of stays put out of fear and doesn’t engage with reality much. I can understand why you’d use the other characters in this way, but Portia immediately becomes more focused on her “dead family” than her “living family” in a way that didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I mean, if I died and left behind family, I’d care that a ghoul was haunting them and driving them crazy – I wouldn’t hide away for great chunks of time, moping. Since the idea of FAMILY is used so strongly in the book when it comes to those who are dead missing their loved ones or trying to bond to each other, why does Portia’s actual family get kind of shoved to the side? At the end, there’s no suggestion that Portia cares about them at all anymore, and the reader never finds out what happens to them either.
The very topics of Heaven/Hell/Purgatory/etc might bother some people who try to read this, but if you just go with the reality the author creates, it works. It does seem a little “unrealistic” that the Heavenly system would be such an organized mess, but that’s all just the background. The main focus of this story is on Portia, the relationships she finds in the afterlife, and coming to grips with her predicament. It’s an easy, light, sweet read.
Portia has died and is stuck in the afterlife - not in heaven and not in hell but somewhere in between and able to move around on earth. Her youth and naivety really came through and really gets her into trouble. She definitely has her eyes opened wide by those she meets, some who want to help her and some who really do want to make her life hell. The characters were real and kept it interesting and never felt like you were dealing with just ghosts but real people with real problems.
I loved the writing, some very descriptive, vivid scenes but just enough that it wasn't overdone. The settings were great, easy to envision - the old manner, her house in London, traveling through space and time.
It was really about the good, the bad and the ugly of what there might be in the afterlife. A very interesting take on it. I definitely recommend this story: Heaven's Waiting Room.
The story begins with our poor heroine, Portia, finding out several unnerving facts: 1) she's dead, 2) she's been so for quite some time without realizing it, and 3) there's no more room in Heaven, so she's stuck roaming the Earth for all eternity. As if that's not bad enough, it seems that there really aren't any directions for her to follow in order for her to figure out what to do next. Fortunately, a friendly woman named Mary, who's been in the same condition (i.e. dead) for quite some time comes along to try and help Portia find her way - pointing out some does and don'ts, with a very particularly warning to watch for evil spirits, with whom they share the Earth.
As mentioned earlier, it's a bit slow in the beginning, but picks up when Mary brings Portia back to the house where she and several other kind spirits live. I can't say too much else without revealing more of the story than is appropriate, but let's just say the group has more than one adventure that they wouldn't have had if Portia hadn't joined them. Once things start moving, and the other characters join in, the story picks up tremendously and it turns out to be quite a charming, joyful read.
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