I was sent a copy of the novel by the author in return for an honest review.With nods to film classics It s a Wonderful Life and Ghost, Colette McCormick s debut is a light fantasy romance which follows Ellen Reed coming to terms with her premature death Caught somewhere between the living and The Other Side Heaven, if you re a believer in Christian theory , Ellen is accompanied by George, her novice Guide an angel, ditto earlier who helps her to tie up loose ends with her remaining family I was sent a copy of the novel by the author in return for an honest review.With nods to film classics It s a Wonderful Life and Ghost, Colette McCormick s debut is a light fantasy romance which follows Ellen Reed coming to terms with her premature death Caught somewhere between the living and The Other Side Heaven, if you re a believer in Christian theory , Ellen is accompanied by George, her novice Guide an angel, ditto earlier who helps her to tie up loose ends with her remaining family her six year old daughter, her husband and her difficult mother and steers her towards acceptance of her state There are no spoilers here as we are told this almost from the outset.If this makes it sound a little depressing, it really, really isn t If anything it s the opposite life affirming There are moments of humour and joy as well as sadness and if you enjoy gentle family dramas then you should enjoy this McCormick is at her strongest in the depiction of domestic detail and parenthood Touching moments include Ellen s laughter as she observes husband Marc struggling to wrap Christmas presents and sadness when he finally clears away her possessions and discovers the usual flim flam hidden in women s underwear drawers the plastic wristbands strapped to infants in maternity units, pressed flowers and wedding invitations McCormick has a keen eye for such detail and such observations will have many readers nodding in acknowledgement The leads are likeable and McCormick clearly holds great affection for all her characters.This is a gentle, warm hearted read and it is as comforting as chicken broth on a cold afternoon A drunk driver kills Ellen, leaving her young daughter without a mother The story is told from Ellen s POV as she lingers in the afterlife watching over her family trying to rebuild themselves to an okay state. Totally different to what I usually read and very enjoyable A book that will remain on my library case for a while to come So pleased to have won it recently in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. What happens after you die This book gives you an idea There isthan just death I enjoyed the story and it is always nice to believe the suggestion of another existence after we die. I d only ever read one other paranormal romance when I started this and was intrigued as to whether I d like this one too I did The two I ve read since I haven t enjoyed very much at all so it stands this one up high in my estimation.The characters are well written and I was drawn into the story straight away I couldn t stop reading I loved Ellen s determination and George s caring comfort just because it s your job to be caring, sometimes it s just who you are anyway My heart ached f I d only ever read one other paranormal romance when I started this and was intrigued as to whether I d like this one too I did The two I ve read since I haven t enjoyed very much at all so it stands this one up high in my estimation.The characters are well written and I was drawn into the story straight away I couldn t stop reading I loved Ellen s determination and George s caring comfort just because it s your job to be caring, sometimes it s just who you are anyway My heart ached for Marc Naomi as they struggled on The only character initially that I struggled with was her mum, but I think that wasto do with personal issues than the story and I did get passed the resentment of her feelings eventually Review 3.5 4It is only after death that life can be fully understoodThere is a central theme running through this book about the afterlife and what happens when we get there.For many who have suffered a bereavementthings I should have said and doneis a book that will give light and hope in it s pages.After dealing with a death of a loved one many of us ask the following questions Where are they now Is there another dimension where we will all meet again Can we just see this Review 3.5 4It is only after death that life can be fully understoodThere is a central theme running through this book about the afterlife and what happens when we get there.For many who have suffered a bereavementthings I should have said and doneis a book that will give light and hope in it s pages.After dealing with a death of a loved one many of us ask the following questions Where are they now Is there another dimension where we will all meet again Can we just see this person for one last time Colette McCormick deals with this whole area extremely sensitively as we are introduced to Ellen.Ellen is a daughter, a wife and a mother whose life is tragically taken when she is unexpectedly involved in a fatal accident while driving With Naomi, her little girl, in the car with her, Ellen soon realises she is now on the outside looking down on her life and is no longer part of it The shock of seeing her own dead body sends her in a spin but with the help of a stranger, George, Ellen soon begins to see life, and death, a little differently.Ellen, finds herself confused, traumatised and in complete denial of her death Naomi survives and Ellen watches from afar as Naomi struggles to deal with her mother s death Ellen watches her husband Marc, as his world comes crashing down and she sees her mother, who becomes so wrapped up in her own private world, she is unable to see the life still existing around her.As Ellen must, she soon accepts her death but not by herself She is guided through this stage of the afterlife by George It is George s first time in this role and between them they forge their own path through the ups and downs of this strange new world things i should have said and done is a poignant read that will touch the hearts of many It deals with a subject many of us choose to shy away from and also a world many of us are skeptical of.This is a book that you read with a very open mind and heart and you accept the possibility of another place, a place of hope, love and forgiveness.Ellen finds peace within herself and I truly believe that with this book, many readers will feel a sense of warmth and comfort as they too will discover peace in their lives.In todays society it can be hard to acknowledge and accept the possibility of an afterlife so if Colette McCormick s book brings solace to even one person, then I think the world will be a better place Love, Life, death but most of all hope I simply can t recommend this book highly enough Tragic, comic and uplifting by turns, full of mesmerising characters so realistic everyone will be able to identify with them, from the sweet innocent child, to the controlling occasionally deliberately spiteful mother, the grieving broken husband And then the final masterly touch George the inept apprentice This is a book that I know will stay with me for years it s already on the pile of to be r Love, Life, death but most of all hope I simply can t recommend this book highly enough Tragic, comic and uplifting by turns, full of mesmerising characters so realistic everyone will be able to identify with them, from the sweet innocent child, to the controlling occasionally deliberately spiteful mother, the grieving broken husband And then the final masterly touch George the inept apprentice This is a book that I know will stay with me for years it s already on the pile of to be re read every year Please, just look inside the first few pages, if you needpersuasion Ellen never knew what hit herBut when a drunk driver runs a red light her life is over in an instant Her small daughter survives and Ellen, hovering in the borderland between life and the afterlife, can only watch as her loved ones try to pick up the pieces without her Her husband Marc, struggling with being a single parent Naomi, her little girl, blaming her mother for leaving her And Ellen s mother, full of guilt, slowly falling apartEllen isn t ready to let go She doesn t want to say goodbye She is confused, angry and hurting for her family and herself And that s where George comes in He is her guide through her confusion as she witnesses the devastation among the livingWith George at her side Ellen learns that even though she is dead she is not helpless There are things that she can do from beyond the grave to influence what happens in the world she left behind But George is new to his job , and has issues of his own A working arrangement starts to become something neither of them expectsIt is only after death that life can be fully understood