by Aida Brassington
Published October 2011
Courtesy of Author
Patrick Boyle dies in the fall of 1970, just days before he's due to report for the Vietnam War draft, which seems like a good thing until he realizes he's stuck in the house with no indication of when he'll be escorted to heaven. And after his parents leave the house, he's trapped without company -- until a mysterious woman who can channel his memories buys the house forty years later. The spring brings with it new life, but falling in love with the new owner may only bring heartbreak to them bothGoodReads
This story starts off in 1970 in Media Pennsylvania. Patrick Boyle is a young man of 19 years, chosen in the draft lottery he's scheduled to report to the draft board the next day. As we see in some of Patrick's flashbacks, he's scared and unsure about the Vietnam war and has voiced ideas to his friends about running off to Canada. Patrick's life takes an unexpected turn that morning as he wakes up the smell of pancakes and heads downstairs for breakfast. Patrick never makes it to breakfast, he trips on the stairs and falls to his death. Patrick's life ends, but his spirit stays.
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There is so much going on with Patrick over the next month as he ponders his beliefs in God and Heaven and struggles to accept that he is stuck in the house and cannot leave. I felt like I was going through the emotions as Patrick was feeling them. Shock, confusion, denial and loss. It was interesting to watch him come to grips with how his life ended and what has become of him, ever wondering if this was some sort of punishment from God or if he was just forgotten. Watching Patrick struggle with trying to figure things out and seeing what his limitations were as a ghost both fascinated and saddened me. I really wanted so much more for him and at 19, felt like life was just beginning for him. The day his parents moved out because his mom could no longer live in the house where her son had died and watching Patrick struggle though the act of just watching them leave and not being able to do anything, was hard to read about. Being a mom myself and seeing his parents pain and anger made me a little misty eyed. The author did a great job of bringing out the emotion and raw feelings in this story. I also loved how she incorporated the smell of pancakes several times in this story since it was an important aspect on the day he died
We skip forward to May of 2010 and this is when the story really started coming together. Time seemed to blend for Patrick, stuck in the house and alone, Patrick just...existed and there was nothing else. He got by on his imagined conversations with his mom, until a woman named Sara moved in and bought the house
I loved Sara's character, she was spunky, quirky and different. Sara was a breath of fresh air, not at all what I'm used to heroines being in romance novels. She embraced what made her different and didn't care. She talked to herself and made no qualms about it. She has had some obstacles to overcome and fresh off a divorce and a breakdown, Sara's ready to start anew, but what shocks both Sara and Patrick is that she can sense she's not alone in the house. What follows is a sweet romance that I enjoyed seeing blossom as they both get more comfortable with each-other and Patrick's circumstances change.
Patrick died when he was 19, so there was some very real thoughts and language that I would expect any 19 year old boy to have. His feelings for Sara were growing stronger every day, but he also had a lot of respect for her. It was fun seeing him experience some of today's gadgets that he had never seen before. I would almost forget the year he died until his confusion over Sara's cell phone or i-pod. The author did a great job of incorporating that into the story and keeping Patrick unaware of all the changes in the world.
There is so much I can say about this book, but I don't want to give too much away. You need to experience this story and the changes that both Patrick and Sara go through for yourself. I didn't think a relationship between these two could happen or would even be possible, but the journey they go on and the twists this author brings to the story are unique and I really enjoyed it. One of my favorite lines of Patrick's when he was thinking of how much he missed Sara.
"He craved her like the air his lungs used to need"
I thought it was beautiful and summed up how much Sara came to mean to him.
Not only does this story make me wish that there is such a thing as fate and second chances, but it also gave me so much to ponder about the the afterlife and what awaits us. Of course, there are forces that try to keep these two apart. As much as I couldn't stand Sara's sister Jules, I'm hoping to see her again and see how she will play out in this story. Maybe karma isn't done with her :)
I will point out that there are a few editing errors, but just a few here and there. Not enough to have an impact on the story itself but just to make me pause and then move on. There was a little bit of crude language, but I think it was pertinent to the story and fit Patrick's character well. The only thing that did bother me a little was sometimes the story story would jump forward a night or a week and I didn't feel like I had any warning and got a little lost until I figured out it was a week later.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story and would give it 4 wine glasses. The ending was surprising even though there were clues through out the story in Patrick's dreams. It warmed my heart and made me anxious for their story to continue and can't wait for the release of North Of Frost and see what obstacles they need to overcome next.
Jolene's Rating: 4 Wine Glasses