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Number of Pages: 400
Vendor: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2010
|Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)|
Billy Allman is a hillbilly genius. People in Dogwood, West Virginia, say he was born with a second helping of brains and a gift for playing the mandolin but was cut short on social skills. Though hed gladly give you the shirt off his back, they were right. Billy longs to use his life as an ode to God, a lyrical, beautiful bluegrass song played with a finely tuned heart. So with spare parts from a lifetime of collecting, he builds a radio station in his own home. People in town laugh. But Billy carries a brutal secret that keeps him from significance and purpose. Things always seem to go wrong for him.
However small his life seems, from a different perspective Billys song reaches far beyond the hills and hollers he calls home. Malachi is an angel sent to observe Billy. Though it is not his dream assignment, Malachi follows the man and begins to see the bigger picture of how each painful step Billy takes is a note added to a beautiful symphony that will forever change the lives of those who hear it.
Life taught Billy to expect the worst. Alone as a young man, Billy now must deal with the death of his brother, his fathers suicide, and his mothers decline into insanity. Abused, manipulated and weary, he copes by burying his pain deep inside. Barely clinging to his faith, his only constant, Billy desperately tries to make something significant of his life. He pursues his dream of building a radio station that speaks to the hearts of people like him. But Billy must first wrestle with the buried guilt of his past before things finally can harmonize. Billys story is partly told by Michael, his guardian angel. Humans are a mystery to Michael, especially this seemingly insignificant one. As he compares Billys limited view of eternity to his own, Michael asks what it means genuinely and full-out to trust God.
Almost Heaven fills 309 pages with a beautifully poignant tale. This book features characters from Chris Fabrys previous novels, Dogwood and June Bug. Fabry writes with a clean-cut style and offers brilliantly vivid descriptions. From his personal broadcast experience with Moody Radio, Fabry brings the story to life with well-placed details.
I highly recommend Almost Heaven. Great for music lovers or non-musicians, all readers easily will connect with the characters and issues portrayed. Intellectually deep, Almost Heaven ponders the hard questions of life. Estee B. Wells, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Danielle MarrittPuerto RicoAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Great book on so many levels!February 25, 2013Danielle MarrittPuerto RicoAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5We read this book for our book club. What a lot to talk about!! There are so many situations in Billy's life that if you don't relate to him on one level you surely will on another. We all agreed that this would make an incredibly good miniseries; there is just too much information to make it into a 2 hour movie. Very happy with this book!!
RobWestbrookMississippiAge: 45-54Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5Best Christian Fiction Read in Some TimeApril 19, 2012RobWestbrookMississippiAge: 45-54Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 4Meets Expectations: 5When it comes to fiction, my reading preferences usually fall into the thriller genre, something fast-paced. Almost Heaven would not fall into that category. However, it does fall into another small category of mine: one of the best I've read.
Fabry has written a gem. Almost Heaven places its reader into the "so real you can feel it" world of Billy Allman. Billy is a country boy from West Virginia. In the humdrum backwoods of nowhere, his entire life is tragic. We find tragedy in his family, in his friends, and in Billy himself. Unknown to Billy, there's an angel, Malachi, who has been charged to watch over him. But as the story moves on, Malachi seems to be helped more by Billy than the opposite. Malachi and the reader both learn more about the thing Billy has most: faith.
The story traces Billy's life from his first tragic event as a nine year old, to a potentially deadly one when Billy is in his forties. And throughout, there's always the simple faith of a simple man shining into the darkness surrounding them all.
Fabry has done an excellent job in building the character of Billy. Before one gets very far into the story, Billy lives through those pages. I don't think I've connected with any character of any book as quickly and completely as I have with Billy. And the story surrounding Billy draws you in. You'll find yourself going through each emotion and pain with Billy. You'll also find yourself celebrating the victories.
This is easily one of the best works of Christian fiction published in the last few years. Fabry is a master at building characters full of life. The message he weaves into Almost Heaven is realistic and redemptive. You can't go wrong reading this book. I highly recommend Almost Heaven to you.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Tyndale Blog Network program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
T. ForknerWyomingAge: 35-44Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Inspiring StoryAugust 28, 2011T. ForknerWyomingAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I love Chris Fabry's writing and I wasn't disappointed in his latest novel, Almost Heaven. A beautiful novel that interweaves June Bug and Dogwood enough to reward his loyal readers, while still remaining a standalone story. Like Fabry's earlier novels, Almost Heaven is peopled with common characters who are extraordinary in their actions. What I love about Fabry's characters is how they respond to things based on an inner strength that reminds us that the most unlikely people can be heroes; especially when they rely on their faith to get them through life. In fact, the characters in Almost Heaven don't have much, so in some ways they better understand how to rely on God. Almost Heaven is told from the points of view of an angel and the character, Billy, who has had an exceptionally difficult life from the time he was a kid. I loved the juxtaposition of the two views. Beautiful, beautiful story.
raineydayWAYCROSS, GAAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Wonderful ReadJune 22, 2011raineydayWAYCROSS, GAAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5FIRST BOOK I'VE READ BY THIS AUTHOR, BUT I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. AUTHOR WROTE ABOUT STRUGGLES THAT COULD FACE ANY ONE AND MADE ANGELS REAL TO THE HUMAN BEING. CAN'T WAIT TO TRY OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR.
Fran5 Stars Out Of 5The book shows courage in face of constant trials.June 20, 2011FranQuality: 5Value: 4I have read and enjoyed ALMOST HEAVEN. The other three that I received with that order I have only looked at briefly, but plan to read later. ALMOST HEAVEN is outstanding and I said I would recommend it to my friends--but only a select group. In my view, to certain people, the book could be depressive.