Reap by Marilyn Bennett
|Reap by Marilyn Bennett|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Fantasy for people who don't notrmally read fantasy. An intriguing story which holds your interest.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages:||Date: January 2019|
Melissa wasn't exactly intending to be unfaithful to Steven when she set out to meet an old friend. It was just that he was more interesting than her husband, more exciting. There was nothing wrong with Steven, it was just that he was beginning to seem a bit boring and this meeting was with Totga - The One That Got Away. Only the meeting was cancelled whilst Melissa was on her way and she was hit by a car and killed on a dangerous road. Melissa had always though that when she died that would be it: she's rather surprised to discover that there's an afterlife. She finds that she's in limbo, where she'll remain until all her unfinished business on earth is sorted out.
She's not alone either. Melissa meets people who are waiting to pass on and soon becomes involved in collecting souls who are about to die. Author Marilyn Bennett is particularly clever here: the novel could have become a collection of short stories but the linking is well done and we see how Melissa learns to adapt, to accept what is happening to her family and friends as she watches their lives. She can be there with them, listening to all that's going on, but she can't interfere, or be seen or heard.
I liked Melissa. In life she was a PE teacher and a force of nature. In death nothing changes, except that she's no longer alive, but, of course, that changes everything. She's feisty and determined, but life in limbo requires a more subtle approach and an acceptance of your limitations. It was Steven who surprised me most: I'd taken heed of Melissa's initial feelings about him and I expected someone rather staid, but he's not. He's devastated by Melissa's death and very loyal to her, but not blind to some of her less appealing characteristics. Bennett allows him to develop in the time after Melissa's death and there's a glimmer of happiness on the horizon for him too. Most touchingly, Melissa finds that she's fallen in love with Steven all over again.
Melissa's parents turn tragedy into something positive and they become campaigners. Bennett's very good at allowing her major characters to develop, but I occasionally lost track of some of the minor characters. That's a small quibble about an otherwise good story which kept me gripped from beginning to end and I'd like to thank the publisher for letting Bookbag have a copy of the book.
What I particularly liked about the story was the way that I found myself being gently nudged into evaluating how I live my life. There's nothing preachy or heavy about it but it highlighted for me that I should live my life the way that I want to be remembered, which isn't always as easy as it sounds!
You can read more book reviews or buy Reap by Marilyn Bennett at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Reap by Marilyn Bennett at Amazon.com.
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