“IN A LIFE FULL OF LIES, HE FINALLY SETTLED FOR THE TRUTH.” No one in Mattingly ever believed Bobby Barnes would live to see old age. Drink would either rot Bobby from the inside out or dull his senses just enough to send his truck off the mountain on one of his nightly rides. Although Bobby believes such an end possible—and even likely—it doesn’t stop him from taking his twin sons Matthew and Mark into the mountains one Saturday night. A sharp curve, blinding headlights, metal on metal, his sons’ screams. Bobby’s final thought as he sinks into blackness is a curious one—There will be stars. Yet it is not death that greets him beyond the veil. Instead, he returns to the day he has just lived and finds he is not alone in this strange new world. Six others are trapped with him. Bobby soon discovers that this supposed place of peace is actually a place of secrets and hidden dangers. Along with three others, he seeks to escape, even as the world around him begins to crumble. The escape will lead some to greater life, others to endless death . . . and Bobby Barnes to understand the deepest nature of love.
I love being a part of the Fiction Guild, because I’m able to learn about authors that are new to me (but not new authors), and books that I otherwise might have missed out on. I also know that I don’t have to worry about the content being inappropriate either – Fiction Guild takes care of that!
So, today’s book is There Will Be Stars by Billy Coffey. Mr. Coffey is a seasoned author, having had 7 or 8 other books published. I actually remember reading one entitled Paper Angels so it must have been pretty good since I still remember it.
The setting for this book is in Mattingly, Virginia and apparently Mr. Coffey’s previous books also take place in this town. Each of his previous books can be read on its own, but many of the same characters pop up throughout the novels.
In There Will Be Stars, Bobby Barnes is a heavy drinker and is known to be the “town drunk” and people think that sooner or later Bobby will drink himself to death. He’s a two-case-a-day beer drinker who really shouldn’t be driving. He runs an automotive repair shop in the town of Mattingly, Virginia, which is one of those “everyone knows your name” kind of towns. In fact, in Mattingly, everyone knows your business and everyone is connected one way or another.
That dreadful day happens when Bobby crashes his car. He wakes up on the morning of the day that he dies in that crash (not realizing he is dead, of course) and learns that he has to relive that particular day over and over again.
Bobby comes to understand that other people are dead and that they are reliving the last day of their lives in an endless loop. It’s a loop called “The Turn.” Suddenly, Bobby realizes he’s in his own Turn – and then he realizes that means he is dead too.
There Will Be Stars is a story about sin and redemption and it lifts the reader to a higher place. It’s not your typical read, more of a fantasy book but staying in the spiritual realm at the same time. I found this book to be very well written and very thought-provoking. It really had me thinking much after I finished the book. And that’s a very good thing.
Billy and his wife, Joanne, live with their two children in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. A product of his small-town locale, Billy counts as assets his rural authenticity, unwavering sense of purpose, and insatiable curiosity–all of which tend to make his front porch a comfortably crowded place.
I received a paperback copy of this book without cost from the publisher through The Fiction Guild, a Thomas Nelson/Zondervan book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.