Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Indie Book Review — Past Heaven by Laura Ward

Title: Past Heaven
Author: Laura Ward
Published: January 26, 2015


Not every love story has a happy ending. Some just change your life.

Liz Atwater’s happily ever after was torn from her the instant her husband, Jack, was murdered. She is forced to pick up the shattered pieces of her life and raise her three young sons alone.

Reynolds Carter’s picture perfect Hollywood life ended the moment the paparazzi got hold of his girlfriend’s cheating scandal. As he watches his life unfold in the tabloids, he comes to a crossroads in his career and his purpose.

When Reynolds takes on the challenge of a new project, his world collides with that of Liz. Neither of them expected their professional relationship to evolve into friendship, or love.

But life is never simple.

Faced with complications from family, friends, and colleagues, Liz and Reynolds are left to decide whether two people from such different worlds can find happiness together.

Can they get past the pain, fear, and guilt and risk their hearts to love again?

Not every love story is just a happy ending. Some completely change your life.


"Not every love story has a happy ending, but the great ones, no matter how they end, change your life. Love is the only thing in this world more powerful than death. Love transcends. And in the end, all that any of us can hope for, is a love that is past heaven."

I don't know if there is much I can add to my review that says it more perfectly than that quote. Isn't that what we all want? A love that is past even the best we could hope for? A love that transcends beginnings and ends? 

Past Heaven is a powerful story about love, loss, trust, and second chances. It's a story about how even when we're broken by tragedy and loss, we can still be pieced back together into something even stronger by new love. It's a story about how we can have many great loves in our lives, and each one helps mold us into the best version of ourselves.

As a happily married woman, I can't imagine what it would be like to suffer through what Liz did—the tragic murder of her husband. The thought is unbearable and Laura Ward drags us through the grief of that awful night with perfection so we feel the agony and helplessness that Liz and Cindy both felt. 

After Cindy's heart-wrenching intro, we get to live the story alternately through Liz's and Reynolds' point of views. We see Liz struggle to keep herself strong for her boys, and we live through Reynolds' efforts to overcome the public humiliation he suffers at the hands of a woman he thought he loved. Both Liz and Reynolds are still soul searching, trying to discover where their hearts will be safe. 

When Reynolds and Liz cross paths, they find that they have a common goal: keeping Jack's memory alive. They put aside their own heartbreaks to work together on a screenplay about Jack's life goal to close down poorly-run state institutions for the intellectually and physically disabled. Liz and Reynolds soon discover that even though they're from completely different worlds, they can find common ground immortalizing a story they both believe in. What starts out as mutual admiration for one another, however, soon turns into something more and they're forced to make hard choices. Should they pursue a second chance at love or part ways and avoid heartbreak? Because of Liz's three young boys and Reynolds' Hollywood career, starting a relationship together is not as simple as they'd like. But simple isn't always the best choice. They finally decide that sometimes it's the risk—the unconditional faith that things will work out, the reward of waiting—that makes the journey worthwhile.

I found this story to be heartbreaking, beautiful, and hopeful. Ends, no matter how tragic they may be, are also beginnings. I love how Ward once again incorporated her message about people with intellectual and physical disabilities and did it in a way that was thoughtful, tasteful, and believable. 

One last thing...I loved Cindy's character. It was only fitting that the "fun friend," the one with the best one-liners, was the one to unravel and then wrap up this story of heartbreak and love.


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