Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Winds of Heaven by Kate Sweeney

Publisher:              Intaglio Publications

This is a wonderful book.  There’s no point in holding that until the  end of the review.  If you’ve ever gone through a first pregnancy not knowing what you were doing; if you’ve ever been in the position of someone who knows very little about children and suddenly having to cope with a three year old who only comes up to your knees; if you’ve ever found yourself in a relationship that you never thought possible, then this is the book for you.

Casey Bennet is a successful composer and well-known playgirl who is use to living by herself and not having to worry about any commitments except those required by her profession.  She broke up with a woman she loved because she knew she didn’t want a family, but life has a way of twisting around.  The ex-lover Julie has died from cancer and leaves a letter for Casey.  Julie has left behind a pregnant partner and a child who have no money and no one they can depend on.  Julie’s last request is that Casey take care of her family and help them get back on their feet, so Casey finds herself suddenly living with Liz Kennedy and her three year old daughter Skye.  Liz doesn’t want to be in the position of needing help from someone she’s always thought of as arrogant and self-centered, but realizes there isn’t an alternative, so she’s resolved to make the best of the situation.  For Casey and Skye it’s a case of love at first sight, although they sometimes seem more like playmates than adult and child.  Casey, Liz and Skye embark on an adventure of coping with loss, pregnancy and the needs of two children – one three and the other forty-four.  Families come in all configurations and this is an interesting one.

Kate Sweeney is emerging as one of those rarest of writers, someone who can handle different genres equally well.  Sweeney is better known for her Kate Ryan mysteries and her Dawn series about the vampire Sebastian, but she proves with Winds of Heaven that she is just as capable of writing an entertaining romance.  This book is full of warmth and humor as Casey struggles to deal with the constantly shifting moods of a pregnant woman and the needs of a small child.  There are numerous scenes that will leave the reader laughing helplessly as Casey stumbles from one accident to another or tries to remember not to use “certain” words around Skye who is more than willing to parrot them back.  The tenderness that develops between Casey and Liz puts the book squarely in the romance category and is very satisfying.  The supporting characters, including Casey’s friend Nils and her grandmother, enrich the story as they try to help Casey see the direction her life should be taking.  One of the important aspects of a book is that the reader relate to and care about the characters.  Both of those happen in this case.

Winds of Heaven is a gentle, funny book about the relationship between two women and a child.  It’s also the story of a child-woman who has to confront the shallowness of her own life and finally grow up.  Those who are not normally drawn to romances will enjoy this book because it’s primarily about the humor in life.  This is one of those books that the reader will wish lasted longer.

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