Title: Between Heaven and Earth
Author: Michele Paige Holmes
Publisher: Mirror Press
Release Date: August 2016
Length: 421 pages
Series?: Power of the Matchmaker #8
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Cassandra Webb’s every waking minute is devoted to being a great mother and wife. She takes five-year-old Noah to the library each week, volunteers in his kindergarten class, and even coaches his soccer team. She makes sure her husband’s uniforms are always laundered—even though he hasn’t worn them the last six years—always has his game day snacks on hand, and meets him for date night every Friday—which consists of one sided conversations at his bedside and watching his favorite take out remain untouched.
Pearl, a mysterious visitor at the care center, suggests that it is only Cassie’s love still tying Devon to Earth when he has been ready to move onto Heaven for quite some time. If Cassie will but open her eyes and heart, she will discover the path she should travel, one that will bring relief to Devon and much joy to her own life. But Cassie vowed never to give up on him. She never has and she can’t now, even after meeting hapless, single soccer-dad Matt.
Cassie Webb is dedicated to being a good mother and wife. She coaches her son’s soccer team and meets her husband for dates every Friday night – even though he doesn’t respond to the thoughts and stories she shares with him.
It’s a normal day coaching Noah’s soccer game when all of a sudden he is injured by an opponent – on purpose. This angry and hurtful act brings Austin and Asher into Cassie and Noah’s lives – and the boys’ dad. They are a family struggling after the death of their mother/wife, and Cassie is able to help.
When matchmaker Pearl visits the hospital, she suggests that Devon, critically injured in the line of duty, is ready to move on to Heaven and Cassie’s love is tying him to Earth. Outraged at Pearl’s suggestion, Cassie rededicates herself full-force. While she doesn’t push Austin and Asher away, she does push Matt away. They are two parents helping each other with their kids, and they are good friends. Can they still be with Devon hanging in the midst?
Cassie – the wife of an injurned police officer, raising her son on a short budget in a shoddy rental property
Noah – a sweetheart of a boy, he supports his mother as best he can and is an all-around good kid
Matt – recently widowed father of two, he is struggling with parenting
Austin – Matt’s oldest son, he is very angry about the loss of his mother and acts out in many ways (including hurting other kids)
Asher – Matt’s younger son, he will do anything to keep things on an even keel in their house
Devon – Cassie’s husband and Noah’s father, he is diagnosed with PVS and in a coma for all of Noah’s life
“Do you have thome more kethcup?” he asked.
That lisp is pretty cute. “Right here.” She handed him her last packet.
“Thankth.” He brought the packet to his mouth and went to rip it open with teeth that were no longer there. He stoppd, frowning at her.
“Can’t do that anymore, can you?” Cassie stood and began gathering their wrappers. “Guess you’re finally going to have to stop using your teeth to open stuff.” Another positive.
“How am I going to play Legoth?” Noah whined.
Cassie shrugged. “You’ll have to find that orange tool that pries them apart. And I suppose to find it, you’ll have to clean your room.”
The Highs and Lows
- Cassie. She is amazing. She is a stronger, harder worker than I am. I don’t know if I would be in the same place as she is nine years later.
- The Boys. Noah, Austin, and Asher are the best of friends. It is like they instictively know they need to stick together and they just go together so well. like PB&J. I just love them!
- Grief. It plays a major role in this novel. It is a motivator for Austin and for Cassie. It was incredible the amount of grief Cassie has over something she had no control over. While there is no way I can understand her position – and as the SO of an officer I hope I never have to – she was limiting her life and constricting herself and her son by refusing to change anyting in her life due to her grief and holding on.
- Bad Wife. I hated that after Pearl’s visit and other incidents that Cassie’s thoughts revolved around being a bad wife becuase she was allowing Matt, Austin, and Asher into her and Noah’s lives. She returns to life as Mrs. Webb with vigor and frenzy, and I felt bad. I felt horrible because she was forcing herself into this role by making her new friendship – and her son’s new friendships – seem wrong. I didn’t like that at all.
- Matt. He is such a good guy. He is doing his best to be a good dad, realizing he was not a good husband. He still has a shot at not being a horrible dad, and he’s sought out Carrie’s help with that. They are great friends and I loved them together. He doesn’t make the live Cassie had before seem entirely over; he honors it.
This installment in the Matchmaker series carries some heavy baggage. More than I think any have so far. It was hard to wrap my head around at first without having the whole picture of what happened to Devon and why he wasn’t in Cassie and Noah’s lives. Once I got all the pieces, it made it harder to want Cassie and Matt to build more than a friendship. I could never understand the depth of how hard that would be for a wife, and for that reason I kept rooting for her.
Recommendation – Buy, Borrow or Skip?
Michele Paige Holmes spent her childhood and youth in Arizona and northern California, often curled up with a good book instead of out enjoying the sunshine. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Elementary Education and found it an excellent major in which to indulge her love of children’s literature.
She is the author of nine published romance novels, which include books in the STARS Series (contemporary romance), HEARTHFIRE HISTORICALS, and the FOREVER AFTER series (young adult fairy tales).
Michele attributes much of what she knows about good writing to time spent with her critique group and feels that joining a critique group is the single best thing an author can to do help improve his or her writing. She has been a member of RWA and URWA, LDStorymakers, and The League of Utah Writers. Michele enjoys both attending and teaching at conferences.
When not reading or writing romance, Michele is busy with her full time job as a wife and mother. She and her husband live in Utah with their five high maintenance children and a Shitzu that resembles a teddy bear.