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The Color of Heaven
Mar 2, 2011 - 5:02:30 PM
Life, Fate, the Powers that Be – whatever or whoever floats your boat – they all claim the same abstract power over what is offered (or not offered, depending on what you believe) in our lives. Some people have everything their hearts could ever imagine and then some. Others may appreciate what little they have and look with subtle longing at what they don't have. And there are still others who live in constant want and envy. There's no rhyme or reason to the discrimination between the haves and have-nots. It just is. Pain, however, is something everyone can sympathize, and in those blessed cases, empathize. For surely only someone who's been blessed with miraculous happiness and lost it, could understand the mind-numbing despair of loss. Sophie Duncan is such a one.
A career woman, very well-educated, with a doting, handsome lawyer for a husband, and a loving, beautiful daughter – Sophie had it all. And then, in what feels like one fail swoop loses her baby girl to cancer and her beautiful husband to another woman. Her tragedy continues when an icy road thrusts both her and her car into a frozen lake. And yet, it is there, in those murky, bone-chilling depths that her journey really begins – one of self-discovery, of uncovering hidden truths and acknowledging old ones. But will it be enough for Sophie to take strength in, and reclaim her life?
A soul affecting work from the heart, THE COLOR OF HEAVEN is powerful and compelling. Ms. Mitchell has successfully penned a tale of love and woe that will make lovers of any genre take pause... and care.
I really loved Sophie's character, probably because I could imagine myself reacting to every single situation exactly the way she did. From tirelessly caring for her daughter, to trying to hold her family together in crisis, to trying to reconnect with a husband distancing himself when she needs him most – the actions and reactions all felt very credible, and a little too realistic. It's really difficult to fathom the writing talent necessary to pull off such a coup, but Ms. Mitchell obviously has it in droves.
Tales about love, loss, and finding love again are my all-time favorite kinds of stories. Not just because they inspire hope, but because when done well, they immerse the reader in a plethora of overwhelming emotions for hours on end. That may not work for some, either because they can't handle the wealth of extreme feeling or are afraid of it. But for me, that's the whole reason I love to read. How much pain and tragedy can the human heart endure? How many catastrophes can the war-torn soul suffer before becoming unrecognizable? Are there a certain number of chances for love to take root before the seed flees for greener pastures? THE COLOR OF HEAVEN provokes readers to ask all these questions, and then pushes the reader even further with Sophie's out-of-body, near-death experience. But not in the typical “religion is the answer” way. This is not a book on mysticism, nor do I even consider it to be on any religious level. It's a story about Sophie's life, her tragic experiences, and what it takes for her to find her true path and potential.
That THE COLOR OF HEAVEN is a story within a story makes me feel doubly fortunate, somewhat like that elated feeling you get at a "2 for 1" sale. Cora and Matt's love story is painstakingly breathtaking, but even more beautiful is the love between Sophie and her daughter. You don't have to have a child for the tears to be stinging your eyes in the first 30 pages, but it certainly doesn't help. A box of tissues should be included in the purchase price of this book (or at least a share in Kleenex). And the unexpected plot twists... once I got my head around them and forced myself to embrace that heavy ache in my chest cavity, that's when I could exhale. I finished THE COLOR OF HEAVEN in a matter of hours, but I've no doubt the read and the lessons imparted through Sophie's story will stay with me... probably forever.
THE COLOR OF HEAVEN is an incredibly poignant and unbelievably gripping novel, deserving Romance Junkies' highest rating.
Special Note: This book will be available in print March 2011.
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