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Review: Echoes of Paradise by Deanna Kahler

Do you believe in the afterlife? Have you ever felt the presence of a loved one who has died, but couldn’t explain it? Deanna Kahler’s novel, Echoes of Paradise, is fiction. Yet if you are curious about the afterlife you can learn much from this story.

Celeste and Connor dated when they were younger, but they drifted apart. Connor moved to Italy. Celeste drowned herself in work and married another man and had a son. However, she never forgot Connor and their love. On his way back to the States, Connor tragically dies. Celeste is crushed when she hears the news. Then odd things start to happen. She keeps hearing songs that were Connor’s favorite. She starts to sense him and still feels connected to him. Celeste digs deeper and what she discovers will warm your heart.

The core concept of this novel is love. Readers will cheer on Celeste as she explores her grief, the afterlife, and experiences a spiritual awakening. Along the way, readers will learn tidbits about spiritual signs, numerology, and communicating with the dead. Even non-believers may learn a thing or two and may question their own beliefs. This isn’t to say the author forces her beliefs on the reader. She doesn’t. Instead, she draws the reader into her way of thinking slowly and never claims, “It’s my way or the highway.” Readers are able to decide how much they will believe and if they don’t, Celeste is still a likeable character that’s easy to cheer for.

Many readers will like the sweetness of this novel and will cherish the love between Celeste and Connor. Even death cannot keep them apart. It’s wonderful to think that love transcends death and that we don’t truly lose a loved one.

This is the author’s first novel and it’s a good start to writing fiction. Celeste is a character that many readers will like. Her son Chip is lovable and adds lightheartedness when the reader may feel overwhelmed by Celeste’s grief. One thing that would enhance the novel is the inclusion of more conflict. Celeste’s husband is a non-believer in the afterlife. The author dances around the husband some but never commits to making him a more powerful character. If his character was developed more it could have added a whole new dimension to the story and made the book harder to put down. Readers love it when authors put them through the wringer. Yes, it’s uncomfortable for the reader, but that adds to the experience. It makes them cheer even more for the main character. They want to become emotionally involved and when an author resolves conflict too soon and too easily it’s a tad bit deflating.

The ending of the novel is a little hard to believe. Again, it would behoove the author to flesh out Andy. He appears in the novel occasionally and readers may sense that he’ll play an important role in the story. But more background information is needed earlier in the story. There are hints throughout, but a little more foreshadowing would go a long way and make the ending more believable.

Overall, this novel will make readers stop and think the next time they feel connected to a loved one who has died. Is it possible? Read this novel to find out more. Keep an eye on Deanna Kahler. She’s not far from being an incredible and inspirational author.

Echoes of Paradise
 - COMING JANUARY 11, 2014 – A story of loss, love and the mysteries of life after death. Retail $12.95, Genre: Fiction, Spiritual/Paranormal