Title: When Heaven Strikes
Author: F.E. Feeley Jr
Narrator: Vance Bastian
Run Time: 6 hours and 4 minutes
Category: Literary Fiction
At a Glance: Bastian does well with this emotionally complex and enjoyable work of fiction that succeeds in illuminating and exploring the multifaceted emotional landscape of the human condition and the influence this has on who we become, how we treat others and how we navigate and overcome the negative that lives alongside the positive in each of us.
Reviewed By: Jovan
Blurb: Can love survive heaven’s wrath?
Artist Ted Armstrong lives a solitary and eccentric life. The survivor of child abuse disguised as religion, Ted has cut himself off from the world.
Then Ted meets Anderson Taylor, and it’s like being struck by lightning.
Anderson is a cardiac surgeon whose passion for his work has consumed him. He fears he’ll never find a partner – until he sets eyes on Ted. It’s happening fast, but both men know what they feel is right.
Confronted with an angry preacher, a scandal, and an act of God that threatens to destroy everything, their relationship will face its first true test.
Review: When Heaven Strikes is a novel about love, family and healing in all their various complexities and forms. Although Anderson and Ted’s relationship is at the forefront, it is only the center patch in the larger narrative quilt about humanity and all the beauty and ugliness that entails. How loving someone does not prevent you from harming them either physically or emotionally, how love of a belief/ideal can foster hatred and cruelty, how no person is all good or bad, and that the only thing you can do is learn from your mistakes and strive to be better. While there is a romance in the story, this is not a romance, and the latter part of the book will definitely test your ability for forgiveness and compassion in the face of violence and cruelty.
For the most part, I enjoyed the writing style of the book. The poetry that headed the sections was lovely, and that poetic elegance was present within much of the narrative. My only quibble was the somewhat abrupt transition that came with the second part of the book, which focused primarily on characters introduced in the first part that become integral to the story in the second half. I wish some of the character development had been woven into the story more naturally instead of front-loaded into the last portion of the book. While none of the material is superfluous and it all comes together at the end, not only was it a shift in character perspectives but also a somewhat jarring shift in tone that was a bit distracting and interrupted the narrative flow at first.
Overall, Vince Bastian’s narration is solid and competently conveys the complexities of the story. His character voices and portrayal of emotion in dialogue are good. His narrative voice sometimes lacks the inflections of tone and cadence that enliven written prose when spoken, and with the softness of his voice, it keeps his delivery from being a performance instead of a reading. My personal preferences notwithstanding, Bastian does well with this emotionally complex and enjoyable work of fiction that succeeds in illuminating and exploring the multifaceted emotional landscape of the human condition and the influence this has on who we become, how we treat others and how we navigate and overcome the negative that lives alongside the positive in each of us.
You can buy When Heaven Strikes here:
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