“People walked up the front steps of the funeral home, preparing themselves to see the grieving orphaned children of the woman who passed, but what did they find instead? The youngest orphaned child was snacking on a Quarter Pounder with cheese, drinking a medium Diet Coke, and laughing in a chair with her friends.”
In this fresh, poignant novel, Always There, Shelby Lynn LeeMaster grapples with her recent “orphaned” life and how to let down her guard to fully experience true love, allowing it in to her heart without fear. The mother, Betheny LeeMaster, struggles with dying before she could teach and guide her children into adulthood. The daughter cannot break from her own fears, while the mother cannot forgive herself for leaving her children too soon. The different narrators, the mother in Heaven and the daughter on Earth, tell their stories in alternating chapters. Can the two women reconcile their fears and remorse being worlds and lifetimes apart?
Eastman’s honesty explores the tragic ending to a mother-daughter relationship, revealing the pain a motherless daughter experiences. The two vantage points allow the reader to find a connection with the mother and/or the daughter, personalizing the loss that a dying mother and grieving daughter often face. The novel portrays the truth behind the death of a loved one, while glorifying the mystery of Heaven, proving that love does not die when a person does. The channels of love are still open, going in both directions. Love goes on when life does not. The novel bridges the tragic with the comedic, giving audiences a lighter, more enjoyable, sentimental read. You will laugh while you cry, and cry while you laugh, but in the end, you’ll hug your loved ones for dear life.
Always There is a heart touching, soul grabbing, emotional roller coaster of a story about three adults who have lost every single family member they have... LITERALLY!! They lose both of their parents and then all 5... yes 5 of their aunts that were left by their mother to raise them throughout their lifetime. Shelby Lynn, the youngest of the three was only a child (10) when her father passed, then a very young adult (20) when she lost her mother. She has developed an extremely thick shell to protect her heart and this story describes her hurt, pain,and even joy throughout the ordeal of dealing with death. Always There takes us on Shelby's journey of losing all of her loved ones.. besides her siblings.. and finding love. Her story had me crying, laughing, snort laughing... and crying some more! I fell in love with this book and highly suggest it as a MUST READ!!
Being the oldest child in my own family and the only girl, I connected with Shelby Lynn because she feels like she has to put on a front so no one really sees how broken she is inside. Her story really broke my heart and tore at my soul more than I thought it would when I agreed to review this book. While reading it almost felt as a form of therapy for me... I found myself in agreement at times and yelling at my iPad "So what if that is what she wants to do to grieve!!" But then I would be so sorrowful and broken hearted feeling like it was me there experiencing my Daddy's death all over again. Always There definitely is one of those books that you need to read and let yourself feel that emotion. Everyone will lose someone dear to them at some point in their life... it helps to know that there are ALWAYS people THERE that have felt the same thing as you. Kudos Carol Ann Albright-Eastman... you are my new hero!!