Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry
Publication Date: October 2010
Publisher: Tydale House Publishers
Format: Paperback, 400 pp
Genre: Christian Fiction
(Received for review from Tyndale)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Borders, Christianbook.com, Indiebound
Author's Website: www.chrisfabry.com
Excerpt: Click HERE!
Other Books by the Author: June Bug, Dogwood, Red Rock Mystery Series, RPM Series, The Wormling Series, Left Behind: The Kids Series, The Young Trib Force Series,
Synopsis (Book Blurb):
" I suppose you can sum up a man's life with a few words, but I need to put this story down to fill in the missing pieces. Or perhaps I can convince the people who know me as a hermit that there was some reason for it all. But this is not really for those outside looking in. This is for me."
Some people say Billy Allman has a heart of gold. Others say he's a bit odd. The truth is, they're all right. He's a hillbilly genius - a collector, a radio whiz - and he can make the mandolin sing. Though he dreams of making an impact on the world beyond the hills and hollers of Dogwood, West Virginia, things just always seem to go wrong.
But however insignificant Billy's life seems, it has not gone unnoticed. Malachi is an angel sent to observe and protect Billy. Though it's not his dream assignment, Malachi always follows orders. And as Billy's story unfolds, Malachi slowly begins to see the bigger picture - that each step Billy takes is a note added to a beautiful song that will forever change the lives of those who hear it.
Author and radio personality, Chris Fabry brings us a story of true faith and what it means to believe in something bigger than yourself. Fabry has crafted a novel that will tug at the heartstrings and also make the reader do a lot of thinking about their own circumstances. It is a very thought provoking book dealing with reasons why bad things happen to good people and how the life of one person, can change the lives of thousands around them.
Billy Allman learned at a young age, that things don't always turn out the way you want them too. Billy and his family lost everything except his father's mandolin in a devastating flood. Then Billy's father commits suicide and his mother is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Billy has seen a lot of heartache in his life, yet his simple childlike faith has seen him through. He has a dream of sharing the love of God with others through the airwaves. With cast off parts and an ability to fix just about anything Billy builds his own radio station at his home, keeping his dream in sight all the time. He's known as a hillbilly genius in the small West Virginia town of Dogwood and he can make the mandolin sing in a way few others can.
The guardian angel sent to watch over Billy, Malachi is puzzled as to why he must protect him until he begins to see how Billy affects other people and how the life of this one man, will touch thousands and thousands of others. Malachi struggles to see the significance of one person in the vast numbers of people. But Billy's faith resonates with him and he the larger picture comes into focus. One person can change the world and that's just what Billy did.
I enjoyed this book very much. Billy Allman was such a great character. He still managed to keep his faith intact in spite of some really horrific circumstances in his life. He kept the faith and God used him to speak to thousands and thousands of people and to see God's love shared through Christian radio. Chris Fabry was able to bring Billy's story to life. He shows a man who is determined to bring his dream to fruition. It was a very inspiring book and made me look at my own circumstances and compare them to Billy's. If someone who had faced so much could keep the faith and persevere than so can I.
Fabry's attention to detail and research served him well. Making the radio statistics and references very believable as well as the details of Allman's mother's Alzheimer's disease. He must have done extensive research to make this come across as authentic as it did.
I believe that readers from a myriad of backgrounds will enjoy this book. I'm a hillbilly myself from the mountains of Appalachia and I think the characters in the book really resonated with me. The character development was excellent, even down to the perplexed angel who wasn't quite sure what his role was in the beginning. It's a good Christian read and there is definitely an audience out there for this kind of heartwarming story.
Almost Heaven is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag.
Chris Fabry is a Christy Award-winning author and radio personality who hosts the daily program Chris Fabry Live! on Moody Radio. He is the author of 70 books for children and adults, including Dogwood and June Bug. Chris and his wife, Andrea, are the parents of nine children and live in Arizona.