SUMMARY: "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.
REVIEW: It's not often I don't finish a book or like one. Usually, even if I don't like the story, I will finish it just to see if it gets any better. No matter how many times I picked this novel up, I just couldn't finish it. There were so many things I did not agree with in the author's writings that it just made it impossible to get very far.
In There Will Be Stars, Bobby Barnes gets drunk, takes his sons with him on a midnight drive on a curvy mountain road looking for more alcohol when he crashes and dies. But, instead of passing into either heaven or hell, he is in a purgatory of sorts where he relives his last day on earth, over and over again. In this time in purgatory (or before the Turn), he gets the chance to make changes in his life, and possibly accepting Jesus as his Savior before his time there is over. Hebrews 9:27 says "And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment" (ESV). As this verse states, we don't get a do-over. Once we die, we face our judgment, whether in heaven or in hell. Also, in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells a parable about Lazarus the beggar and the rich man. The beggar had nothing and begged for crumbs off the rich man's table, getting none, while the rich man had everything he ever wanted. When he talks about their deaths, Jesus says the beggar is carried by angels to Abraham's bosom and the rich man goes to hell, each getting what they deserve. There is no time to change your mind after you die. The choices you make here on earth will determine your lot in the hereafter. Jesus, Paul, Peter and other New Testament authors pleads with their readers to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior before it is too late. None of them ever talk about getting a second chance after death.
As much as I wanted to finish this book, this idea of a do-over after death just bothered me so much it was all I could see.
This book was provided by Fiction Guild and Thomas Nelson Publishers
for review without compensation.
Billy Coffey's critically acclaimed books combine rural Southern charm wiht a vision far beyond the ordinary. He is a regular contributor to several publications, where he writes about faith and life. Billy lives with his wife and two children in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Visit him at www.billycoffey.com, on Facebook at billycoffeywriter, or on Twitter at @billycoffey.