PAST HEAVEN by Laura Ward – Jenn’s Review

past heaven


I love second chance love stories, especially ones that involve children. This one had an extra element of having a movie star/regular girl twist


5 stars


Not every love story has a happy ending. Some just change your life.

Liz Atwater’s happily ever after is torn from her and she’s living her worst nightmare. Everything changed the instant her husband, Jack, was murdered. She is now forced to pick up the shattered pieces of her life as she faces the daunting task of raising three young children alone.

A world away in Hollywood, actor Reynolds Carter is recovering from the humiliation of his girlfriend’s cheating scandal. The public affair forces him to admit that he wants his life to be meaningful, not just front page gossip and headlines in the tabloids.

Reynolds finds his purpose in memorializing the story of Jack Atwater, whose life ambition was to bring attention to people with disabilities who were living in institutions. As Reynolds takes on the challenge of this new project, his world collides with that of Liz. They never expected their professional relationship to evolve into friendship, or love, but that’s exactly what happens.

Unfortunately, life is never simple. Faced with complications from family, friends, and work 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 to risk their hearts to love again? If so, would it be worth it?

Not every love story is just a happy ending. Some completely change your life.

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Wow! This book is exactly what I needed and hoped it would be. It is a beautiful story of getting a second chance at love and learning it is okay to live again, even in the face of the most unimaginable tragedy.

”I can’t do this. Not without him. I can’t live my life without Jack.”

Maybe Liz Atwood didn’t feel like a desirable woman, but she was a damn good mother and a supportive wife. Her husband, Jack, is the superstar. Jack is on a mission to save the disabled and is changing lives doing so. On a night that should have been a huge celebration for his company, his family and the people he advocates for, Jack is brutally murdered right in front of his wife. Liz’s life and the life of her three boys has been forever altered.

Reynolds Carter is Hollywood’s biggest star. He flits through life without a care, enjoying the spoils of being an A list star. When he finds out his live-in girlfriend has been unfaithful, it sets him off on a journey of self-discovery that leads him straight to Liz.

Nine months after Jack is taken from Liz, Reynolds shows up at her door, wanting to write a movie about Jack and his work. Liz isn’t sure that she wants to live through it again with a stranger, even a ridiculously good looking one like Reynolds.

“I was used to seeing suburban thirty-four year old dads. They looked nothing like that.

Nothing. At all. Like This.”

Once Liz and Reynolds begin telling Jack’s story they grow close. Reynolds, who didn’t like kids and never planned on having any of his own, is taken with Liz’s three boys and grows to care deeply about them. He doesn’t think he is good enough for Liz, but damned if he will let her get away.  Liz, who doesn’t think she deserved to ever care about another man again, finds herself having this unexplained feelings about Reynolds. Watching Liz and Reynolds both deal with their worthiness for each other was heartwrenching. You knew they needed to get their on their own, but you just wanted to push them along. Despite their connection, is so much interference in their relationship like crazy ex-girlfriends, nosy soccer moms and the paparazzi, that stand in the way of their happily ever after. They both have to decide if the struggle is worth the reward.

“I feel drunk around him. Wrecked. Intoxicated by his presence. I can’t think straight and everything is happening so fast. I need to clear my head.”

This story is a slow-build, feel-every-single-emotion that Liz and Reynolds do, love story at it’s absolute best. You are emotionally connected to these characters from the very start. Reynolds is a dream. He cares so deeply for Liz and his love and devotion screams off the page. The chemistry between them was real and positively scorching. There was definitely some hot scenes between Liz and Reynolds, but that is not what this story was about. It was about the connection between these two people that, while maybe it came at the wrong time, could not be denied.

“The time had come for me to live with a heart that did not just hurt but also fully loved.”

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