By: Thomas Duffy
Published by: Independent
Publication Date: March 16, 2021
Reviewed By: Amy Lignor
Review Date: August 20, 2021
In author Thomas Duffy's ninth work of fiction, Heavenly, I was intrigued by its unique storyline, incredible characters, and the elements of love and faith that are focused upon throughout. John Robinson is our main character here. You immediately feel for him because John is a middle-aged man who seems to live in a world of depression. The only thing that brings him any kind of enjoyment is the world of movies. Fittingly, he works in a movie theater and is able to view the films and all the happy endings that Hollywood is so good at. Far too lonely at forty-three, John’s existence in New York City is difficult; he’s never able to find love, and he remains distant from his family because their relationship is fractured. So John simply watches the days go by with no hope or ultimate life goal in mind. A sad ending to a sad life, John meets his fate when he is killed on the platform of the Times Square train station, shot by a thief who is overcome by drugs
But...is this it? Not at all. In a strange twist, John gets face-to-face with his “officer” in Heaven who goes by the name of Andrea, and begs for another chance. After all, no one should die with this many regrets, and John wants the option to be able to make better decisions in order to have a better life and mend the rifts he’s left behind. When Andrea takes his case to the “Big Guy,” John is granted a second shot at things and is sent back to Earth – reborn as an infant named Peter.
As readers now follow Peter, we see his trek through life and the unfortunate familiarities his journey has with John’s original one. He cannot find love, happiness still alludes him, and there is no stability whatsoever. He also has one extra hideous thing that comes in the form of vivid and disturbing dreams that make absolutely no sense to Peter. As things move forward down a somber path, Peter meets up with a woman named Teresa and, in the blink of an eye, his black-and-white world turns into one of color. All Peter wants is to have a happy future with this woman he now desperately loves, but there are things in Teresa’s world that causes him concern, and instead of listening, he ends up suffering even more because of his judgements. So, is there a way where Peter will make the right choices in the end, or will he follow John’s first journey and stay on the path of loneliness and despair?
The author once again creates characters you both want to slap and root for at the same time. You see mistakes, you see bad decisions, and you want nothing more than to jump in front of Peter and give him a map that will lead him to a “good” place. The relationships that are explored, the emotions that are offered ten-fold, even the spiritual connections are written in a clear, concise, and beautiful way that makes you want to take that leap of faith and believe there is such a thing as a second chance.
Peter and John may be the same character, in a way, but they have completely unique personalities. When it comes to Teresa, she is the character who reminds the rest of us not to judge a book by its’ cover, which is something we all tend to do on a daily basis. And when it comes to Andrea and the “Big Guy,” they’re the ones who allow the heart to feel sparks of faith and hope that we all could possibly meet up with them one day and have absolutely no regrets, allowing us to read our ‘Life Review’ with a smile on our faces. This is another Duffy novel that I will read more than once.
Quill says: Life is short; too short, in most cases. This ‘5-star’ plot makes you rethink how hard you should work in order to live that life to the absolute fullest.
To learn more about Heavenly, please visit the author's website at: https://authorthomasduffy.com.