Evie Snow is eighty-two when she quietly passes away in her sleep, but when Evie reaches the door of her own private heaven, she finds that she’s become her twenty seven-year-old self and the door won’t open. Evie’s soul must be light enough to pass through. For her, this means unburdening herself of the three secrets that have weighed her down for over fifty years. As Evie begins, she learns more about life and love than she ever thought possible, and somehow, some way, she may also find her way back to her long lost love…
‘On The Other Side’ is the long-awaited (for some anyway!) debut fiction novel by Carrie Hope Fletcher. So when this arrived in a parcel on my doorstep I couldn’t wait to start.
Beforehand I thought that the plot was interesting, and now after reading it I maintain it is a really good idea! The afterlife and what happens after death gives any writer complete freedom of ideas – given that no-one actually knows what happens! The writing style reflects this freedom with magic and mystery incorporated into the everyday feeling – what Fletcher calls “magic-realism”.
I liked these magical ideas, the romantic ideas, the romantic notions of them especially, however they jarred a bit with me when put with the memories of Evie’s life. These magical elements started in this novel relatively small and unsurprising, but they became more extravagant as the story progressed (perhaps as Carrie became more confident in her style? Or maybe just expecting the reader to be more comfortable?), which is what put me off slightly. Nevertheless, it remains to be a poignant and heartbreaking plot.
What makes this novel pull at the heartstrings so much is the characters: Carrie has created some great characters,that are so likeable. The protagonist Evie is positive and strong – a great role-model. Vincent and Jimmy are both courageous and inspiring with their love for her. And the sweet Dr Lieffe was a personal favourite. The diversity of the characters is great to see too.
I didn’t find this novel as life-changing as some reviews have led me to believe, but considering it is Carrie’s debut in fiction it has great potential for future, with some inspiring and warming (some might say ‘hopeful’) messages – despite the heartbreak!
I also reviewed Carrie Hope Fletcher’s first non-fiction book, here.
Featured image taken from Carrie’s youtube channel: ItsWayPastMyBedTime (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOIIg2SiX4c)