My reading choices vary by mood – some days I might want a suspenseful novel, and others a romance. Sometimes a mystery will hit the spot, and others a chick lit novel is more to my taste. If you are in the market for a novel that will lift your spirits without being saccharine sweet, pick up Earthly Pleasures, a new novel by Karen Neches. Earthly Pleasures will enchant you with its storyline about the inhabitants of heaven, but you’ll keep turning the pages to see how the romantic storyline unfolds.
In Earthly Pleasures, Karen Noches introduces us to Skye Seabring, working in the Hospitality Sector of Heaven. Skye greets the newly dead, acclimating these returning souls to the wonders of Heaven. Her newest charge is 13 year old Chelsea, who requires some finessing to get her accostomed to her new status as a deceased person, and giving her some extra care and guidance because she’s so young. The eponymous Earthly Pleasures is Heaven’s reality TV show that entertains with edited content from different Earth celebrities, and the current hearthrob is the lawyer son of a prominent Senator, Ryan Blaine.
Ryan’s life makes fascinating Earthly Pleasures entertainment for Heaven’s inhabitants because his fiancŽe Susan had received a head injury in a car accident the previous year. Their bedside wedding and his romantic nature enchant the women in Heaven, never mind his goood looks. On Earth, though, Ryan is concerned because his fiancŽe is acting very differently after the car accident, and he is feeling that something isn’t right.
Karen Neches juggles Skye’s story, Ryan’s story, as well as the story of a comatose young woman named Emily in Earthly Pleasures. Emily’s new nursing home roommate Caroline is insistant that they can bring Emily out of her coma, and starts Googling different methods of encouraging alertness from Emily. It takes great skill with character development and plot manipulation to bring several characters to life and keep the reader entertained and looking forward to turning the next page. As the storyline in Earthly Pleasures unfolds, secrets are unearthed, the characters’ personalities develop, and we uncover several surprises.
I am very impressed with the way Karen Neches deals with religions and spirituality, taking an approach that is a little different from what is believed in most religions. However, the heaven in Earthly Pleasures is a gentle heaven that shouldn’t offend anyone, and will entertain you. If you are looking for an uplifting, entertaining book, you will love Earthly Pleasures – it’s a great summer read!