For readers who loved The Five People You Meet in Heaven, For One More Day, or The Shack.
“People walked up the front steps of the funeral home, preparing themselves to see the grieving orphaned children of the woman who passed, but what did they find instead? The youngest orphaned child was snacking on a Quarter Pounder with cheese, drinking a medium Diet Coke, and laughing in a chair with her friends.”
In this fresh, poignant novel, Always There, Shelby Lynn LeeMaster grapples with her recent “orphaned” life and how to let down her guard to fully experience true love, allowing it in to her heart without fear. The mother, Betheny LeeMaster, struggles with dying before she could teach and guide her children into adulthood. The daughter cannot break from her own fears, while the mother cannot forgive herself for leaving her children too soon. The different narrators, the mother in Heaven and the daughter on Earth, tell their stories in alternating chapters. Can the two women reconcile their fears and remorse being worlds and lifetimes apart?
Eastman’s honesty explores the tragic ending to a mother-daughter relationship, revealing the pain a motherless daughter experiences. The two vantage points allow the reader to find a connection with the mother and/or the daughter, personalizing the loss that a dying mother and grieving daughter often face. The novel portrays the truth behind the death of a loved one, while glorifying the mystery of Heaven, proving that love does not die when a person does. The channels of love are still open, going in both directions. Love goes on when life does not. The novel bridges the tragic with the comedic, giving audiences a lighter, more enjoyable, sentimental read. You will laugh while you cry, and cry while you laugh, but in the end, you’ll hug your loved ones for dear life
Firstly, I have never experienced this type of loss. Well both parents still alive. I only have 2 aunts and 3 cousins and I never knew my grandparents, so I was not impacted quite the same as others but non the less I still empathized the loss.
I didn't know what to honestly expect when given the opportunity to read this book. Well I can say that its pretty damn awesome. Although I have never truly felt the loss of a loved one the author has written the book in such a way that the emotions are pulled out of me.
Let me say that Shelby is one strong woman, I do not know how she keeps surviving the loss of family members. I would have been like this.
We find Shelby at a funeral of her last remaining Aunt, her Aunt Lila. Shelby is the type of person that for some reason pushes people that get to close away from her. As I read the book further I began to understand why and it really helped me to realize a few things in me. I loved the way the author had dual points of view. The other perspective that we get to see is Bethany, Shelby's deceased mother.
I know seems weird but trust me it works. We get to see Bethany's side of things and get to see how much she truly cares and loves her children even though she can not physically be with them. Like any mother she just needs reassurance that her kids are living to her full expectations of them. I cried at certain points only because I can put myself in Shelby's place and think how it would feel to never be able to pick up the phone to call my mom and just say "I love you" and hear her say it back. Or even Bethany's POV to be a mother and not knowing how your children are coming along without you there to help guide them.
My emotions where brought forth in ways I didn't even know they could be. There is a point in the book where I said "HOLY SHIT" it surprised me to see that.
All in all I have to say that even though I have never experienced true loss such as this, I still cried, still felt overwhelmed with sadness but what I took away from this book is even bigger, we are never promised tomorrow so we must live this life to its fullest. Love your children, hug, kiss embrace them. Call your mother/father/aunt/uncle/sister/brother whom ever and say I love you just because and just let those little things go. We learn and grow from one another. There were times I did laugh, or get frustrated, and obviously cried, but it showed me just how wonderfully written this book is.
I have to say Thank you to the author for creating a book that touched me deeply that I never want to waste a precious second of my life with those I love.
I rated this book 4.5/5 hearts
About The Author:
Carol Ann Albright-Eastman is a wife and mother of four, crazy, adorable, incorrigible, intelligent, kind, and athletic children. She’s taught high school English for fifteen years. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English from The Ohio State University, a teaching license and a communications minor from the University of Akron, and holds a Master’s in Education from the University of Akron.
Eastman spends the majority of her time grading papers, reading, but not as voraciously as other “indie” authors and their devout followers, watching her sons play baseball (or whatever seasonal sport they’re in at the time), negotiating futilely with a toddler, and falling deeper in love with her husband every day. Eastman is a motherless and fatherless daughter, but a day doesn’t go by that she doesn’t think of them.
2 people will win an ebook copy of Always There. Just leave a comment below for your chance to win this e-book. Random.org will choose the winner tomorrow morning good luck.