An accident victim visits heaven in her dreams.
In winter darkness, Angie Gabriel drives an Alaskan road with 7-year-old daughter Lucy in the passenger seat. After hitting a guardrail, Angie loses consciousness and dreams of heaven. Upon waking in the hospital, she finds her mother and ex-husband Mark by her side, but no Lucy. Before the accident, Mark and well-to-do wife Alice wanted custody of Lucy, being better able to care for her than financially strapped Angie who refused to give up her daughter. After her release, wheelchair-bound Angie goes home to live with her distant workaholic father and her mother, who sided with Mark and Alice for Lucy’s custody. During her recovery, Angie continues to dream of heaven. She moves into an apartment, undergoes physical therapy, uncovers details of her accident and a possible catalyst for racing through the night at breakneck speed. Through it all, she grows ever closer to Mark, who may be heading for divorce. And then comes a surprising revelation that changes Angie’s perspective. Although at times pacing lags, this is a charming story of a spunky woman doing her best to deal with a spate of life-altering events and ever-changing family dynamics. Between ex-spouses, old feelings often die hard, and the author does a fine job of portraying the off-and-on-again relationship of Angie and Mark. One of the book’s strengths lies in its contrast of an independent, mobile existence with a world of disability and dependence on others and how this translates into daily living, including interaction with strangers. Heaven as described herein is sparkling but never saccharine. As a character, Angie’s transformation is far from one-note and extends into various aspects of life, including self-responsibility for the effect her semihelpless state has on others. The novel’s end, although subject to interpretation, is nonetheless satisfying.
Heartwarming tale of a woman’s physical transformation and spiritual journey.