The Color of Heaven (The Color of Heaven Series Book 1) by Julianne Maclean


My Thoughts:

Firstly, this is book one out of a total of nine at the moment. The books in this series are all about different people, but have similar themes running through them.

The Color of Heaven hit a raw nerve for me, it was somewhat similar to my own experiences, so naturally, I’m hardened to a lot of emotional books, but this one, this one had me blinking back tears a few times. This book was pretty sad, but it was filled with so much hope and desire to live too. The beginning of the story is pretty depressing, but it is all a premise for the real message of this story; how to live life even after severe trauma in your life.

The Color of Heaven has been described as ’emotional’ and ‘thought-provoking’, and quite frankly, those are the two best words that could describe this book. As much as some of the story line was predictable, some aspects still shocked me, like Sophie’s husband’s actions. I did not expect it, not after all the difficulties with their daughter, Megan.

The book is beautifully written, Maclean’s writing style felt like a good friend was telling the story, which is definitely what this book needed, due to it’s difficult topics. The story line flowed smoothly, even when Sophie’s mother took over and told her part of the story. There were no errors that I can recall, and the characters were immediately likeable, even the supporting characters were likeable.

Sophie was by no doubt, my favorite character in the story, although she has had some serious bad luck in her life. I did question at one point whether or not she had been given too much bad luck, and if it made her story a little unbelievable, but then I remembered that bad luck often comes in twos or threes, and to quote one of my favorite books ‘He had noticed that events were cowards: they didn’t occur singly, but instead they would run in packs and leap out at him all at once’. So, I quickly dove back into the story and was sucked right back into the mystery and emotion. I could feel all the events in this story pulling at my heart strings, bringing forth the dry lump at the back of my throat, and welling my eyes with tears. If I had had any doubt earlier about this story’s realness, it is completely obliterated by the fact it triggered such an emotional response.

The other character who I really really liked, was Matt (One of Sophie’s mother’s friends). I don’t know what it was but, oh god I liked him straight away. Peter was nice too, but Matt, Matt just had more emotional understanding. Peter felt a bit too rigid sometimes, too perfect, too safe. Matt, although closed off to begin with, felt more in touch with the world, with life. Matt was a bit of a bad boy too, and although he had a hard upbringing, the way he dealt with his issues is not good, yet understandable. However, when he apologizes later on for his actions, it’s a case of, I can forgive but I won’t ever forget. He was a complex character, the sort of character you really want to know more about.

Sophie’s husband was horrible in my opinion, it’s almost like he didn’t have a soul sometimes. I don’t know if this was Maclean’s intention, but I was not sorry to see the back of him.

Megan (Sophie’s daughter), was just how you would expect a child to be. Innocent and very compassionate despite her tender age. Children tend to be naturally compassionate, so no strange surprises there, but definitely a tear jerking character.

Sophie’s mother, now she was written perfectly. I was surprised to find out what had happened to Sophie’s mother, (trying so hard not to give out too many spoilers). She was a surprising character, that’s all I can say.

The Color of Heaven talks about death, cancer and abusive parents. It is riddled with tragedies, but it is also nicely rounded off with self-discoveries and restores hope in living again. This is probably not a book that you would want to take on a beach holiday, but it is the sort of book that you would read in bed, or snuggled on the sofa with a hot chocolate. You may also need a box of tissues nearby. I really did enjoy this book despite the kaleidoscope of emotions going on. I even posted a tweet whilst reading this story and the author tweeted back, she said that it would be worth it in the end, and Maclean was totally right, it was definitely worth reading to the very end.

This is another free one guys, so if you feel up for an emotional read, give this one a go!

From The Current Reviews:

The Good: I had a hard time putting this book down, and I love reading stories that keep me so engaged. The chapters were short, the storyline was interesting, and I loved Sophie’s character. I felt what she was feeling, and cried when she cried‘, ‘this was a good soul searching, emotional book!‘, ‘an amazing contemporary fiction novel’, ‘Amazing character development and a great storyline‘, ‘Beautifully written, full of ups and downs. Grab your tissues and a few hours to yourself since you will probably read this in one sitting‘, ‘a fast paced, surprise-around-every-corner kind of book‘, ‘a beautiful story of living life to the fullest. This book helped me when I was struggling and needing some enlightenment.‘, ‘crackles with emotional insight, whip-sharp story-telling and suspense-filled drama‘, ‘a deftly plotted life-mystery with all the sparkle gorgeous prose and clever descriptions can add‘, ‘The characters and story were so believable I had a hard time thinking it was fiction‘, ‘Really makes you look back and appreciate everything’, ‘The construction of this book was exquisite. How we move from Sophie’s story to that of her parents is truly the sign of a highly gifted author.‘, ‘Omg I cried like a sobbing baby through this book‘, ‘Each character is brought to life…and after life…with great care. You feel the emotion flow from success to failure and finally reward.‘, ‘So touching and beautiful. It is a mix between “Pay it Forward” “What Dreams May Come” and the “Sixth Sense”‘, ‘exceptional’, ‘astounding’, ‘loved this book’, ‘wonderful’, ‘amazingly unexpected’, ‘I really enjoyed MacLean’s writing style‘, ‘mesmerizing’, ‘beautiful’, ‘full of depth and thought-provoking insight about this life and how we live it and what is yet to come and the gray area between‘, ‘Uniquely told in a writing style that felt like a friend slowly opening up and sharing her life story layer by layer‘.

The Bad: The writing style turned me off and made the story unbelievable‘, ‘lost me about a quarter of the way through when the mother started telling her story‘, ‘ There is no emotion, and the storyteller sounds flat’, ‘good premise but lacked the depth and sincerity I was seeking‘, ‘Too graphic!’, ‘Juvenile writing and too much summarizing‘, ‘This totally surprised me and turned out to be a Romance. I hate when books disguise their genre.’, ‘So predictable. So cheesy.’, ‘The premise was good, and I really wanted to like it. however, it read like a laundry list of events rather than the truly touching story it could have been.‘, ‘Loved the blurb, loved the cover, intrigued by the subject, and who could beat the price (free)? But this just didn’t catch fire for me.

The Darn Right Ugly: I read this book based on 4 – 5 star rating it had received. What a disappointment! I can’t believe I wasted my time finishing it.

The Unicorns:This book was phenomenal‘, ‘This is a story about love, grief, disappointment, hope, faith and happiness. Some may call it depressing. I call it living. Julianne’s story-telling is great.‘, ‘a thought provoking story that stays with you after the end‘, ‘Wow! Let me explain just how amazing this book was. I picked it up at the beginning of a flight that was just under 3 hours, planning on reading a few pages before the plane reached a certain altitude that would allow me to pull out my laptop and get some work done. Only, I got pulled so deeply into the story that I never resurfaced until the plane was taxiing on the runway after landing and the book was complete.

This Book Has Been Compared/Likened To:

Pay it Forward (film), What Dreams May Come (film), Sixth Sense (film).

Amazon Kindle Rating:4.6 stars(4.6 Stars)

Goodreads Rating: 3. 93stars (3.93 Stars)

Release date: January 23rd 2011

Pages: 297-324

Age Range: 15+

Contains: Illness, death, an affair, and a car accident. Some readers may find certain topics in this book distressing.

Genre(s): Romance/ Fiction/ Drama

About The Book:
A deeply emotional tale about Sophie Duncan, a successful columnist whose world falls apart after her daughter’s unexpected illness and her husband’s shocking affair. When it seems nothing else could possibly go wrong, her car skids off an icy road and plunges into a frozen lake. There, in the cold dark depths of the water, a profound and extraordinary experience unlocks the surprising secrets from Sophie’s past, and teaches her what it means to truly live…and love.

Full of surprising twists and turns and a near-death experience that will leave you breathless, this story is not to be missed.

THE COLOR OF HEAVEN is a work of fiction.

“A gripping, emotional tale you’ll want to read in one sitting.” – New York Times bestselling author, Julia London

“Brilliantly poignant mainstream tale.” – 4 ½ starred review, Romantic Times

“A box of tissues should be included in the purchase price of this book…. I finished THE COLOR OF HEAVEN in a matter of hours, but I’ve no doubt the read and the lessons imparted through Sophie’s story will stay with me… probably forever. THE COLOR OF HEAVEN is an incredibly poignant and unbelievably gripping novel, deserving Romance Junkies’ highest rating.”
FIVE BLUE RIBBONS – Chris at Romance Junkies

Where to Buy?

Amazon: Kindle Ed, free. Paperback, £7.99.

About the Author:

Julianne MacLean is a USA Today bestselling author of over twenty historical romance novels, including The Highlander Trilogy with St. Martin’s Press and her popular Pembroke Palace Series with Avon/Harper Collins. She also writes contemporary mainstream fiction, and her 2011 release THE COLOR OF HEAVEN was a digital bestseller. She is a three-time RITA finalist, and has won numerous awards, including the Booksellers’ Best Award, the Book Buyers Best Award, and a Reviewers’ Choice Award from Romantic Times for Best Regency Historical of 2005. She has a degree in English Literature from the University of King’s College in Halifax, and a degree in Business Administration from Acadia University. She lives in Nova Scotia with her husband and daughter, and she is a dedicated member of Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada.

Author’s Websites:




Disclaimer: The reviews and opinions above are either from online sources or my own, and have been collaborated together for the ease and benefit of potential new readers. All ratings have been collected from the date of this blog’s publishing and will potentially change in the future.

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