Cally Taylor is another author I have not read before. The cover shouted out to me but if I am honest when I read the back it didn't really sound like my kind of book, but none the less I decided to give it a try.
The book is about Lucy Brown who is about to get married to the man she loves Dan. Tragedy happens the night before her big day when she has an accident and dies.
Lucy awakes to find herself in Limbo and is given the choice to either take the lift up to heaven and be with the love ones she has lost and await for Dan to die to be reunited or to go back to earth and complete a task which will then enable her to become a ghost and stay by Dans side.
Lucy cannot bare to be away from the love of her life and decides to take the task and find true love for a complete stranger named Archie who is a computer geek. Lucy soon finds out that this is not as easy as it sounds and finds her task difficult to complete and she finds she cannot talk to Dan whilst she is on earth as to Dan her appearance has changed and she is mute.
Lucy is heart broken when she sees her best friend making a pass at Dan. Will Lucy complete her task in time to be able to spend her life as a ghost with Dan?
I was proved wrong by my first thoughts as I read the first chapter..... I was hooked!
I have not read a book like this before. It had a good balance of humour, romance, and warmth and managed to keep you interested the whole way through. After many books I have read recently I found finally a book which can give you a beginning, middle and an end. The end of the story was wrapped up nicely and was not rushed as I have found with the last few books I have read. The only time I was unsure in this book was early on when Lucy died I wasn't sure how Cally was going to pick the story up from here but she done a perfect job.
Lucy's character came across very warm and made you want her to succeed in her task. I liked the way the other characters in the book wound nicely around Lucy's story without overtaking the main plot.
I read this book in a day. Each time I put the book down I found myself going back for more!
I feel you do need a sense of imagination for this book and you need to take the book lightly. Although the book was about dying and Heaven there were no depressing or morbid parts to this book.
I will be looking out fro more Cally Taylor Books as she won me over with this book.
~ Other Information ~
Heaven Can Wait by Cally Taylor
Published by Orion in 2009
Lucy Brown has never been happier. About to marry the love of her life, Dan, she's living the life she always wanted. But on the eve of the wedding, Lucy has an accident and dies.
But that's only the beginning, because Lucy has just woken up in limbo and has a choice to make. She can go up to heaven, where her beloved parents and eternal happiness await her, or she can return to earth to Dan ... as a ghost. Lucy barely has to think about it and rushes back down to earth. There's a catch though as before she can become a ghost she must complete a task. She must find love for scruffy computer geek Archie and she only has 21 days to do it. To make matters worse Lucy finds out that her best friend Anna is already hitting on a grieving Dan. Time is running out, but can Lucy ever complete the task and finally be with Dan forever?
You know when there are some books you pick up and know from the first few lines you're going to love them? Well for me this definitely was one of them! I immediately warmed to Lucy, who is a little ditsy but completely loveable. By page 9 I'd already laughed out loud a few times, with a scene where Lucy is reminiscing her first date with Dan having me in stitches, while scarily being able to relate to and cringe along with.
Lucy's death happens very early in the book, but if your thinking this may sound a bit morbid you'd be wrong. The details of her death are kept to a very bare minimum, as that's not what the story is about. If you're completely unable to suspend reality and just go with a story then to be honest, this probably isn't going to be the book for you. From this point on Lucy returns to Earth as a Living Dead and moves in with fellow wannabe ghosts Brian and Claire.
I absolutely loved the interactions between the three housemates, who are so completely different in every other way but one. While the story is told in the first person from Lucy, I also found myself really warming to both of them and becoming wrapped up in their personal stories too. Despite being dead, the three all have something to learn about themselves before they finally pass on and I thoroughly enjoyed each ones journey. I thought Claire in particular was a fantastic character and her story is incredibly touching. Lucy's human task, Archie is also extremely well written with characteristics that are so realistic I could imagine him perfectly. I think it's a huge credit to Cally Taylor that in a story that defies reality, she manages to create such perfectly believable characters.
I flew through this book once I got time to settle down properly with it and finished the 370 pages in a couple of days. The writing is fast paced and I found it very easy to get completely engrossed in. I was also never quite sure where things were going. Lucy may well be a typical chick lit character, but her situation isn't typical of the genre at all and so I really didn't know quite what to expect. There are a few twists and turns along the way that kept me intrigued and a real shocker at the end which I didn't see coming at all.
While I did have some tears with this book, most of them came from laughing or because it was just so lovely and touching, not because it was depressing. Heaven Can Wait was a real emotional roller coaster of a read to me, taking me from laughter, compassion, sadness and joy. Lucy's love for Dan is so simple and beautiful it's hard not to get wrapped up in it all. If you love chick lit, then you will love Heaven Can Wait. Perfect beach read or cosy weekend in, this is a real treat of a book and I highly recommend!
~ Other Information ~
Heaven Can Wait by Cally Taylor
Published by Orion in 2009
Lucy Brown has got it all - a great fiancé, her perfect wedding is all planned and her life is just how she wants it. She's all set to marry Dan, but then the unthinkable happens - Lucy dies. She wakes up in limbo and is offered a choice - she can go up to heaven for eternity, or return to earth as ghost, and therefore be around Dan once more. Lucy misses Dan terribly and decides she must stay with him, but she doesn't bank on having to complete a mission first. Lucy must find the soulmate of computer geek Archibald, a huge in itself... let alone in only a few days! Will Lucy do it and manage to become a ghost or is she destined to a life without Dan?
This is a book I have been wanting to read for a long time. It's not usually the sort of thing I read as I tend not to like anything "supernatural" or unrealistic, but I had heard such good things about Cally Taylor's debut that I just couldn't wait. Finally my copy arrived this week and I eagerly started to read as I wanted to make my mind up about whether I was going to devour it or wait a while. 100 pages later, I realised I was hooked, and didn't stop until it was finished. Cally Taylor has previously written short stories for magazines etc but this is her first novel, and thats what makes this even more outstanding for me.
The book begins by introducing us to Lucy, who is preparing for her wedding to Dan. I immediately liked Lucy, she's a great character and very realistic - some of the things she says I can hear myself saying! She's funny and very normal, which I think is great because the story is a little "un-normal" of course! Lucy's death happens very, very early in the book but it has to in order for the main bulk of the story to happen. It didn't surprise me as I knew from the blurb she'd die but how it did shocked me a bit, a little more shocking than I thought but it isn't dwelled on and I think Taylor has approached the issue very well. We also see a little of Dan who is a great character too, and I really liked the relationship between him and Lucy, it seemed lovely and was joyful to read about.
The thing I loved about this book is how well Taylor manages to transfer Lucy's feelings of helplessness and grief at losing Dan onto paper so well. She writes with real emotion and I think this helps the reader to engage in the story a lot more because you are almost feeling every emotion along with Lucy. Some clever little things are thrown into the mix such as the rules Lucy must obey as one of the "living dead" and I found some of these quite funny, and some very sad too. The other two "undead" we meet, Claire and Brian, are brilliantly written, troubled souls who you begin to feel such empathy for and I think this is again because of Taylor's writing and how well she puts across their feelings and situation.
I was unsure about how the idea of ghosts and "living dead" would be to read about and how Taylor would be able to put this story onto paper but for me it worked really well. She's created a believable plot, which is no mean feat considering its something we know could never happen! You are willing Lucy's mission to succeed so she can be united with her beloved Dan but at the same time, you know it won't ever bring them together again so there is an element of sadness. It is everyone's worst nightmare, leaving behind someone you love and having to deal with not being with them again, and Lucy has to experience this. The ending was a complete surprise, I didn't expect the things that occured and for me it rounded off a brilliant perfectly - now I think about it, it couldn't have ended any other way!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and found myself ploughing through it incredibly quickly because I just couldn't put it down. By the end, I really cared about Lucy (and Brian and Claire too!) and this is testament to how well Cally Taylor has created her as a character and put her story into words. There are some funny moments, some cringy moments but also some touching moments where I admit there was a slight tear in my eye! The emotions of love and loss are well used here and the story is really well crafted. The book is divided into the days of Lucy's tasks via chapters, and the writing style is so easy to read. I love first person stories, and being in Lucy's mind just lets the reader love her even more. It's a great book to read, and one for the cold winter evenings to warm your heart. Brilliant.
ISBN: 978-1409103233. Published by Orion in October 2009. The paperback has 384 pages and an RRP of £6.99. Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review.
This review was written for my website: http://chicklitreviews.com
Thanks for reading.