A woman experiences supernatural love in Kahler’s debut novel.
Celeste plies a tedious but stable trade as an accountant while raising her 5-year-old son, Chip. She’s separated from her husband, Dave, and lately, she’s been reflecting on a former love, Connor, who moved to Italy and subsequently died in a plane crash. Connor had a “playful sense of humor,” a contrast to Dave’s nose-to-the-grindstone approach to life; she remembers their lighthearted relationship as one of spontaneity and fun instead of duty and obligation. Although Connor has been dead for some time, she still thinks of him and wants reassurance that he’s OK, wherever he is. Soon, she’s having unusual dreams, receiving strange messages and noticing recurring number sequences that seem to have hidden meanings; then little Chip has multiple encounters with what appears to be a male angel. Dave, a successful finance director, is determined to win Celeste back, and her controlling, violent ex-boyfriend Andy wants her as well—but it’s clear that her heart is with Connor: “It didn’t matter that he was physically dead. The strength and vitality of his spirit were more powerful than any being living on earth.” Kahler presents a touching story of a woman pining for an earlier love and questioning the nature of her own reality, and it ends with an unforeseen twist. Throughout the novel, synchronicities, signs, sensed presences and psychic influences abound. The spiritual communications are plausible and varied (a license plate, a disembodied voice, a flower on a path). Some are familiar New-Age staples, such as numbers in a series (4:44, 11:11), while others are more imaginative, such as an intense sensual union between a physical and spiritual entity. The story asks engaging questions about the purpose of one’s life versus that of one’s soul; intuitive truths versus “concrete proof”; and earthly versus unearthly delights. In this story, it turns out that heaven isn’t a nirvana of stasis but a cycle of continuing growth through all levels of existence. One plot point involving Connor’s demise seems far-fetched. Overall, however, this unpretentious story may bring comfort to those who believe that love survives long after the physical vessel is gone.
A pleasing spiritual romance about love lost and regained.