52 Good Books

Book review – The Heavens by Sandra Newman

Are you looking for a dreamy (literally) read with a few wacky twists and turns to keep you on your toes? Well looky here, The Heavens by Sandra Newman might just be your bag!

I was fortunate enough to have my request for a copy accepted on NetGalley, so I got a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

The Heavens makes for compulsive reading. Kate and Ben are an item. From the beginning Ben knows that Kate has her ways. She talks about her dreams a lot. Over time this talk starts to amplify. Kate is living two lives, one with Ben and her friends and one in her dreams back in the 16th century where she is dating William Shakespeare of all people. Whilst this in itself might just sound like a harmless quirk, Kate claims that every time she wakes up from one of these forays into the past the present has changed. The changes start out as minor but they ramp up over time until Kate is convinced that she needs to prevent the end of the world through her dreams. Her friends and family become increasingly worried about her mental health and the reader gets embroiled in a game of guessing where this is going.

Newman has a wonderful way with words. She takes a thought and contours it jaw droppingly smoothly. Early on in the book she describes trying to hold onto a euphoric moment:

Nothing could be this good again, and already the scrambling vertigo of that. Of clinging to this thin moment that wouldn’t cling back.

Newman is clearly a competent wordsmith. Coming across words like ‘sybaratic’ (apparently to do with enjoying sensual pleasures) can feel a little intimidating, but hey, just press and hold in the kindle app and you have a definition!

I loved following Kate’s dream world. Newman keeps you treading a path where you are never quite sure what is real and what is a delusion. Come and join the guessing game!

Next week I will be reviewing Take Nothing with You by the fabulous Patrick Gale. Come back next week to hear more about this story of self discovery.


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