Fiction - Drama
199 Pages
Reviewed on 04/27/2021
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Author Biography

Thomas Duffy is a New York based writer who has authored nine fiction novels, including 2016's 9/11 themed To Never Know. He finds stories of day-to-day challenges fascinating and intriguing. Duffy has written about different topics such as working in retail, mental illness, romance, and existentialism. Duffy also has an interest in film criticism and has interviewed several celebrities from the silver screen, including Minnie Driver and Richard Dreyfuss.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

In Heavenly by Thomas Duffy, forty-three-year-old John Robinson leads a lonely existence in New York with seemingly no purpose in his life. He struggles to find love, and his relationship with his family is distant. When John is killed on the platform of Times Square train station, he is given the opportunity to make different life choices through a recently born male called Peter. As Peter travels through his life, he seems to be facing similar life struggles to find happiness, love, and stability. He is also constantly haunted by vivid and disturbing dreams and visions that make no sense to him. After many failed relationships, Peter meets Teresa and his life is turned upside down. He wants to make a future with her but Teresa's lifestyle causes further inner turmoil for Peter. As Peter's life continues to spiral downward, he suffers from a continual inner battle between his ego and his moral compass. Will Peter ever find true enlightenment to make life choices that serve him and others or will he make the same mistakes as John?

Heavenly by Thomas Duffy is such a fascinating story that grabbed my attention immediately. Each character was so cleverly created with such unique personality traits, especially John and Peter. I also thought the development of the relationships between the characters was excellent. I found Peter and Teresa's relationship very interesting; they were two tortured souls trying to make sense of their emotions and feelings for one another. I thought the scene involving John in the afterlife as he learned of the existence of his Life Review was amazing. To think that the essence of leading a fulfilling life includes achieving goals and making sacrifices to help others was really comforting. The conversations between Teresa and Peter regarding reincarnation were insightful and compelling. Teresa's backstory also teaches us not to be judgemental of others. I enjoyed the plot twist involving Meredith. I thought this was a superb and clever layer to the story. There are many thought-provoking questions posed throughout that will make you stop and ponder your own life choices. Are we living our life to the full or just making excuses to remain in our comfort zone? This is a well-written novel and one that I would recommend.

Vernita Naylor

Do you believe in second chances? What are your thoughts about the afterlife? If you had a chance to return to this world, would you want your old life or to live another life? In Heavenly by Thomas Duffy, John Robinson is 43 years old, never been married, no children. A movie theater attendant, he loves films. He enjoys his job because he gets to interact with the customers and discuss his passion; movies. Despite his routine life, he's tried to spice it up. He doesn't want to be alone forever so he's on every dating site like Plenty of Fish, but can't catch a bite. One day John's luck changed when he was at the wrong place, at the wrong time. While the police were apprehending a drug suspect with a gun, John got shot. Now John's life will never be the same.

I loved this book and couldn't put it down because it was so engaging. This book has depth, compassion, purpose, and strength. As I read Heavenly, I saw it as a great movie taking you through the ebb and flow of John's journey. I enjoyed every twist and turn as Thomas Duffy told the story. This book will make you sit and ponder the what if's of life - past, present, and future. You will get the chance to walk with and embrace the many facets of John's life and his transitions. Heavenly will make you begin to look at your own life more closely, like through a magnifying glass, to reflect on the decisions that you make. After reading this book, your life will never be the same. Get your copy today.

Vincent Dublado

Heavenly by Thomas Duffy is not the first novel to dabble in the idea of getting a second chance at life by reincarnating in a different vessel. But what makes this novel entertaining and uplifting is that it has quite a moving take on faith, love, and hope. Here is the story of John Robinson, a middle-aged guy who works at a movie theater. John loves films and likes happy endings. Religion does not play a part in his life and his estrangement from his sister Meredith gives him a lonely existence. In a random act of fate, John meets an untimely demise after being shot by a drug-addicted thief. Meanwhile, John bargains with his officer in heaven named Andrea to give him a second chance. After Andrea presents John’s case to the Big Guy, John returns to Earth and is reborn as Peter. This is John’s only chance to overcome his unsatisfactory past.

Thomas Duffy writes a remarkably confident novel that requires a reader to take a leap of faith to fully embrace the story’s idea of second chances. Faith as a theme in fiction plays with reader emotions, so you can expect Heavenly to be heavy when it comes to exploring human relationships and it does not skimp on spiritual abstractions. Maybe this is the story’s way to compel you to live your life with minimal regrets. Life is short and you can never tell when it is time for you to go, so why not make the most of it? In the remote contingency that you meet the Big Guy, you can confidently look Him in the eye and tell Him that you lived a good life and made use of the gifts and opportunities He bestowed upon you. Yes, perhaps this is the message, and one does not have to be an ardent believer to be inspired by this story.