No one in Mattingly ever believed Bobby Barnes would live to see old age. Drink would either rot Bobby from the inside out or dull his senses just enough to send his truck off the mountain on one of his nightly rides. Although Bobby believes such an end possible—and even likely—it doesn’t stop him from taking his twin sons Matthew and Mark into the mountains one Saturday night. A sharp curve, blinding headlights, metal on metal, his sons’ screams. Bobby’s final thought as he sinks into blackness is a curious one—There will be stars.
Yet it is not death that greets him beyond the veil. Instead, he returns to the day he has just lived and finds he is not alone in this strange new world. Six others are trapped with him.
Bobby soon discovers that this supposed place of peace is actually a place of secrets and hidden dangers. Along with three others, he seeks to escape, even as the world around him begins to crumble. The escape will lead some to greater life, others to endless death . . . and Bobby Barnes to understand the deepest nature of love.
The book started slow – if I hadn’t agreed to read it for a review, I would have put it down and walked away. I kept reading though and eventually got pulled into the story, but it still dragged in places (you could easily cut 50 pages of this novel without losing anything important).
I originally thought this was the story of Bobby, but the other six characters each get chapters at some point, so I thought it was all of their story – especially Dorothea, who everyone calls ‘Mama’ and is the matriarch of the bunch. But when the book ends, you only know what happens to three of the character – Bobby, Laura Beth, and George (the two characters who were least mentioned through the earlier parts of the story).
When I finished reading I was disappointed – there are no real answers about what ‘The Turn’ is, the supposed main characters are left dangling with no sense of closure, and the interpretation of what heaven is and how to get there has no basis in the Bible (it’s a common understanding, but not a Biblical principle). The book had a lot of potential, but it’s pretty confusing and ultimately not satisfying.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.