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First let me say that Barbara Samuel places most of her books in the same part of the country as this - New Mexico or Colorado and it is evident that she knows the area and the different ethnic groups native to the area very well. She is able to bring a distinct voice to each group of very distinct people that inhabit this area in a way that brings the people and the region alive.
The plot of this novel, an alcoholic mother who lost her marriage, her child and her career and is slowly rebuilding her life could have become maudlin and melodramatic. But the author doesn't focus on the tragedies of Luna's life, she focuses on her rebuilding of her life and that makes a big difference.
If I understand Ms. Samuel and all of her pseudonyms, this book is more of a romance than a women's fiction book, but I actually thought that the romance, while it does take up considerable space in the plot, isn't the main focus of the book. Emphasis is placed on all of her primary relationships, both the good ones and the bad ones, so we get to know Luna as a well rounded character, not just a woman falling in love. There is also considerable attention paid to the relationships of secondary characters in the book, some that Luna has no direct connection to. And yet, even if they are only on the periphery of Luna's life, they also help explain a part of her complex past.
I found this book very compelling. I loved watching all of the characters, if not grow, at least gain in their understanding of themselves. I thought parts of it were terribly poignant and parts had universal applicability. It was essentially a novel of growth and acceptance. It had no highly dramatic climax. It seemed much more like the course of real life.
Bernadette Dunne is one of my favorite narrators. She voices Samuel's characters beautifully.
I highly recommend this book.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
A Piece of Heaven is one of the best books I've ever read. I suppose it would be categorized as a Chick Lit book but it is much too soulful for that frivolous moniker. The story of Luna McGraw, a recovering alcoholic and lapsed therapist, and Thomas Coyote, the kind and gentle man she meets when she rescues his grandmother from her burning house, will draw you in from the first few pages. Samuel's description of Thomas will have you swooning. Both have struggles, Luna is adjusting to her new life as her daughter comes to live with her after many years apart and quitting smoking. Thomas is caring for his elderly grandmother and a troubled young man who works for him. Both are dealing with past hurts and betrayals. Their road to love is a rocky one but oh so worth the listen. A bonus is Samuel's lush description of Taos, NM, the locale of the book. You'll be ready to jump on a plane to go there. Do yourself a favor and listen to this achingly beautiful book. I Loved it so much, I'm getting ready to listen to it again. Love Bernadette Dunne 's performance.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful