There Will Be Stars
by Billy Coffey
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 there with him.
Bobby soon discovers that rather than the place of peace he had been led to believe he was in, it’s 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.
4 of 5 Stars
This is a book that makes me question all of my decisions to DNF because I admit, I nearly quit at about 15% through the story. I wasn’t connecting with Bobby and for quite a while he’s the only character we really get to know. He turned me off from reading because of his personality. First, as the synopsis states, he’s a drunk. That’s actually a nice way of saying he’s an alcoholic whose burned all his bridges. I felt for him but was really put off by his behavior, especially the way he treated Mark and Mathew toward the beginning.
If, like me, you are tempted to put this book aside I urge you to hold out for a little longer. As the story progresses things begin unraveling slowly but the pace picks up fairly quickly. I wouldn’t say I fell in love with any of the characters but only because of how incredibly real they felt. Each person that’s introduced to the story serves some kind of purpose and fills a role. I found myself trying to figure out who to trust and which side to be on.
I also appreciated how this story brought in religion and faith in a slightly different way. I’m a bit on the fence with referring to this as Christian fiction because it doesn’t portray these beliefs in a good light for quite a lot of the book. When I really sit down and think about it though, I love how true and raw both the characters and the story are. This isn’t Christian fiction that’s wrapped in a pretty bow, it’s filled with flawed and selfish people who frequently get it wrong.
Overall I’m really glad I stuck with this book and I highly recommend it those who like realistic or contemporary fantasy even if you aren’t usually interested any faith based genre’s. Unlike many books that fit this theme, it’s written more like a mainstream book than one catered to that specific audience. I’d also suggest this for book clubs because of the many different topics it brings up and the very handy discussion guide in the back.
I’d like to give a big thanks to the publisher, Thomas Nelson, for providing me with an egalley of this book in exchange for my honest review.