Flirty and Dirty Book blog is so proud to be part of the Always There Blog Tour. Carol Ann Albright Eastman is an incredibly talented writer who has so much heart and soul. She is full of life and love. Everything that is her goes into her stories. Check out the story synopsis and my review of the book. Also be sure to post a comment at the end to enter for your chance at one of two ecopies of Always There.
Title: Always There
Synopsis: For readers who loved The Five People You Meet in Heaven, For One More Day, or The Shack.
“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.
Have you ever read a book and when you finally read the last word of the book, you can feel your heart smile? Always There by Carol Ann Albright-Eastman is that book. Every word in this book is filled with feelings from the heart.
Letting someone you love go whether through death or circumstance is never easy. Eastman brings both to the forefront of the story. So yes, tears will fall. However, there was never a time where I felt so overcome with sadness or despair. I always felt a ray of light. I always felt some aspect of love. And this is what I believe Eastman was really tying to define and convey throughout the entire book— all the facets of love. You could certainly feel this as you read each page and each word.
Always There brings you on a journey of every emotion—anger, sadness, love, hope, desperation, joy, relief—the list could go on. What you didn’t feel was giving up on the story or the journey the story was taking you on. There was at least one character, but I would wager that there was likely more, that you absolutely made a connection to. And if there isn’t that character then you know someone who fits the vibe of one of those characters.
I enjoyed how Carol Ann Albright Eastman to difficult occurrences in our lives, such as death, and made them real. By this, I mean wrote about the parts of these difficult times that aren’t always so dark and consuming. In fact, every time one of my kids hands me their Kleenex, I get a smile on my face. Potluck dinners take on a whole new meaning. And the next time I disagree with my husband, I just might start singing to the tune of A Rhinestone Cowboy.
The concept of writing the book in the Here and There POV’s was so perfect. We know that we have always wondered about those we have lost and what they may now be doing wherever they have gone to. The characters from the HERE POV had me laughing more often than not. They also had me thinking about my grandmother and while I miss her with all my heart, I couldn’t help but giggle thinking about what she would be saying as she watched or found out about what has been going on in my life now.
There were times in the HERE POV that I got a little mixed up with some of the characters. But it did not take away form the story and it almost didn’t matter because the story went beyond individual characters.
Always There is one of those books where after you get done; there are so many things that run through your mind. There is so much in the book that transcends beyond the book and into our everyday lives. It’s in how we make choices (big or small), it’s in how we communicate and make sure the ones we love know exactly what we want them to know. It’s in how we choose to let things affect us or guide us. Most of all it is in how we love. Not just the person standing in front of us but how we continue to love those we have lost. How we use the love for them to love those that still surround us.
This amazing and beautiful story might break your heart a little but it will mend your heart. It will make your heart sing and it will grab hold of your heart hard. Always There makes you feel. I’m sure for each reader those feelings will be different in magnitude and in nature but you will not be exempt from feeling.
I am so incredibly proud of Carol Ann Albright Eastman for writing this story and taking that jump to hit publish. It is a story of the heart that needed to be written. It is a story that every reader will feel some connection to and therefore it is a must read. It is a story of living and loving for you through the love of others. It is a story of knowing when to let go and when to fight with everything you have for the love that you need and deserve. D 5/5
Carol Ann Albright-Eastman is a wife and mother of four, crazy, adorable, incorrigible, intelligent, kind, and athletic children. She’s taught high school English for fifteen years. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English from The Ohio State University, a teaching license and a communications minor from the University of Akron, and holds a Master’s in Education from the University of Akron.
Eastman spends the majority of her time grading papers, reading, but not as voraciously as other “indie” authors and their devout followers, watching her sons play baseball (or whatever seasonal sport they’re in at the time), negotiating futilely with a toddler, and falling deeper in love with her husband every day. Eastman is a motherless and fatherless daughter, but a day doesn’t go by that she doesn’t think of them
Connect with the author:
Goodreads: Get more info on her Goodreads page
Twitter: Send carol Ann a Tweet!
Giveaway: leave a comment and be entered to win one of two ecopies of Always There.