*May Contain Spoilers*
Carol Ann Albright-Eastman shares the afterlife with the living in her novel, Always There. As a mother worries about how her children turned out after she died from cancer, her daughter struggles with the fear and pain of being, and dying, alone.
Bethany died from colon cancer when her youngest daughter was twenty. She spends the afterlife with her husband, who died before she did, and sisters. Readers will connect with this character based on her title, Mother. She wonders and worries that she didn't have enough time to prepare her children for the adult world before the cancer killed her. Readers will use this to build a relationship with Bethany, connecting with the universal fear of what happens when we aren't there to help the most important people in our lives.
Shelby was the youngest of Bethany's three children. Saying goodbye to both of her parents before she turned twenty-one took it's toll on her quirky and fun personality. Now she lives in fear. She's so afraid that her life may be stolen by cancer - the death sentence that took her Aunts as well as her mom - that she refuses to let anyone in. Readers will form a bond with Shelby based on her fears. It's too easy to shut yourself off from the world when death looms on the horizon. Especially when alone seems like the safest place from worry and pain.
Readers will quickly form strong bonds with each of these main characters and they will only strengthen as the plot advances. The story line focuses on Shelby and how close she comes to losing everything that matters - including her destiny, Chance. As Shelby struggles to open up to love, the last Aunt of the family passes away and joins Bethany in the afterlife. When Bethany learns of her daughter's emotional conflict, she tries to find a way to help her. Highly recommended novel!
Rating: 4.5/5 Cups