Title – Past Heaven
Author – Laura Ward
Publication Date – January 26, 2015
Not every love story has a happy ending. Some just change your life.
Liz Atwater’s happily ever after was torn from her the instant her husband, Jack, was murdered. She is forced to pick up the shattered pieces of her life and raise her three young sons alone.
Reynold Carter’s picture perfect Hollywood life ended the moment the paparazzi got hold of his girlfriend’s cheating scandal. As he watches his life unfold in the tabloids, he comes to a crossroads in his career and his purpose.
When Reynolds takes on the challenge of a new project, his world collides with that of Liz. Neither of them expected their professional relationship to evolve into friendship, or love.
But life is never simple.
Faced with complications from family, friends, and colleagues, Liz and Reynolds are left to decide whether two people from such different worlds can find happiness together.
Can they get past the pain, fear, and guilt and risk their hearts to love again?
Not every love story is just a happy ending. Some completely change your life.
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I’m quickly learning that Laura Ward has a message she wants the world to hear, and it just makes me adore her, both as a person and as a writer, even more. Past Heaven is nothing like other books of the genre that I have come across; it is a unique tale of love and survivorship, while also raising awareness about intellectual disabilities. It’s a story that will make you giggle and laugh, while also touching the deepest parts of your heart and soul.
“Pain is pain. We can’t compare or judge who feels worse. We all have harrowing moments in life, and we need to support each other through them.”
Past Heaven introduces us to two characters who have suffered from loss, resulting in them feeling utterly broken, but in drastically different ways. Liz and Reynolds strike up a friendship and end up learning how to heal through what each other and their prospective environments can offer. I absolutely loved the complementary characteristics and settings of these two. Reynolds is a famous actor in Hollywood who is used to back-stabbing, fight your way to the top, materialistic situations. Liz, on the other hand, is a widowed mother of three in Baltimore town who spends much of it just being a down to earth mom. While getting to know Liz and what her deceased husband stood for, Reynolds was thrown into a world with people who have so much emotion that they have to hug you or be brutally honest with you, but never of malicious intent. Furthermore, I appreciated how Ward wrote these characters so beautifully that you could really see what one provided for the other, even if they couldn’t see it themselves. For example, Reynolds was helping to build up Liz’s tolerance to physical affection again, and in doing so, became incredibly intuitive toward her. On the other side of the coin, Liz showed Reynolds the good things in leading a simple life through her hospitality or a home cooked meal. There was something special about those contrasting worlds coming together to make each of these characters grow and provide an eye-opening experience for the other. It touched my heart in ways that I can’t even begin to describe.
“We were both trying to find a new path, a new way to live. This was not a time to cross any lines.”
Another thing that I have learned about this fabulous author is that she can create some serious sexual tension! Reynolds and Liz had some of the most out of this world chemistry. There are plenty of little nuances dropped throughout the story, but one scene in particular had my heart pounding and my nerves fraying. There is a moment leading up to a kiss and it’s so passionate and intimate, and when their lips finally met, I felt every single explosion for these two characters. I may or may not have even hallucinated and saw fireworks. I thought that it really spoke to the type of writer Laura Ward is. It never felt blatantly erotic or over the top, but it felt sensually erotic, and apparently difficult to describe; it’s a moment in the book that just needs to be experienced.
“You know all about life surprising you with the stuff nightmares are made of, but sometimes, life surprises you in the best possible way.”
There was something about this story that captivated my heart and completely enveloped me. I fell for these characters and was entranced by the story they were telling. Ward has a way with her writing that takes you on a journey and you end up a changed person by the time you turn that last page. I felt for the cause, the love that these characters shared, the friendships….it all just came together perfectly to tell an unforgettable story that is sure to leave you permanently marked and maybe even renewing a sliver of your faith in humanity.
LAURA WARD is the author of PAST HEAVEN and the New Adult novel, NOT YET. She lives in Maryland with her loud and very loving three children and husband. Laura married her college sweetheart and is endlessly grateful for the support he has given her through all their years together, and especially toward her goal of writing books. When not picking up toy trucks, driving to lacrosse practice, or checking spelling homework, Laura is writing or reading romance novels.