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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In Heavenly by Thomas Duffy, forty-three-year-old John Robinson leads a lonely existence in New York with seemingly no purpose in his life. He struggles to find love, and his relationship with his family is distant. When John is killed on the platform of Times Square train station, he is given the opportunity to make different life choices through a recently born male called Peter. As Peter travels through his life, he seems to be facing similar life struggles to find happiness, love, and stability. He is also constantly haunted by vivid and disturbing dreams and visions that make no sense to him. After many failed relationships, Peter meets Teresa and his life is turned upside down. He wants to make a future with her but Teresa's lifestyle causes further inner turmoil for Peter. As Peter's life continues to spiral downward, he suffers from a continual inner battle between his ego and his moral compass. Will Peter ever find true enlightenment to make life choices that serve him and others or will he make the same mistakes as John?
Heavenly by Thomas Duffy is such a fascinating story that grabbed my attention immediately. Each character was so cleverly created with such unique personality traits, especially John and Peter. I also thought the development of the relationships between the characters was excellent. I found Peter and Teresa's relationship very interesting; they were two tortured souls trying to make sense of their emotions and feelings for one another. I thought the scene involving John in the afterlife as he learned of the existence of his Life Review was amazing. To think that the essence of leading a fulfilling life includes achieving goals and making sacrifices to help others was really comforting. The conversations between Teresa and Peter regarding reincarnation were insightful and compelling. Teresa's backstory also teaches us not to be judgemental of others. I enjoyed the plot twist involving Meredith. I thought this was a superb and clever layer to the story. There are many thought-provoking questions posed throughout that will make you stop and ponder your own life choices. Are we living our life to the full or just making excuses to remain in our comfort zone? This is a well-written novel and one that I would recommend.