Intriguing and compelling… a tale that grips until the very last page – Jodi Taylor, bestselling author of The Chronicles of St Mary’s.
On the way home from a dinner party she didn’t want to attend, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions.
It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN. Because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident. Or does God have a higher purpose after all?
At first Lorna can remember nothing. As her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decisions to make and that she needs to find a way home…
More information about the book
The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is a modern fairytale of love and loss and, for those readers who want to make the connection, a retelling of The Wizard of Oz: how a young woman comes to reassess her life and find a new beginning.
Lorna Love, born and brought up in small-town Scotland, is apparently killed in a car accident on the day of the London bus and tube bombings. But the afterlife isn’t quite what she expected. For a start, Heaven is a broken-down spaceship and God is the double of Sean Connery.
However, the book is neither fantasy nor sci-fi; Heaven simply a dreamscape through which Lorna comes to see her life through new eyes – from the people she loved, to the death of her brother.
In fulfilling familiar expectations, the book offers a counterpoint between the absurdities of Lorna’s imagined Heaven and banality of her rather ordinary life. The book, grounded in the 9/11 and 7/7 bombings, also offers the metaphor that we are all connected, even by distant events.
It is, essentially, a humorous book, using an oblique construct to provide a new perspective on a familiar theme. But, while making the familiar unfamiliar, it also reassures them that Lorna will have her second chance.
“Intriguing and compelling… a tale that grips until the very last page.” Jodi Taylor, best-selling author
“Clever and compelling… this book is hugely original and well worth a read…hugely enjoyable.” Book Bag
“A gem of a book…a really good book about life and growing up.” Book Lore
Charlie Laidlaw was born in the west of Scotland and is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh. He has been a national newspaper journalist and worked in defence intelligence. He is married with two grown-up children.
Available on Amazon
“The Most Original Book I’ve Read All Year!”
Five Star Review on Amazon By Reads & Reels
When Charlie graciously sent me his book all the way from the U.K. (Thanks Again!), he did mention that there was a “Wizard of Oz” feeling to the story. When I finally got the chance to read it, I had forgotten what it was about (occupational hazard) and just remembered that I wanted to read it.
It was actually kind of nice to go in “blind” because once I started reading, it was like one surprise gift after another.
The book starts with us knowing next to nothing about the protagonist, Lorna. The more you read the more you learn about her and what makes her tick. Again, I love books like this. The fun is in the surprise.
Everything about this book is fantastic. It’s superbly written, insightful, and so imaginative. Lorna is a flawed but relatable protagonist and the rest of the characters are interesting. They are an integral part of Lorna’s journey, and much like Dorothy’s encounters on the yellow brick road, they enrich the whole story.
Truthfully, I adored every bit of this book. I was captivated by every word and could NOT put it down. Hands down this is the most original story I’ve read in ages and it’s easily one of the best books I’ve read all year. I don’t even think my review is doing it justice, but believe me, where my words fail, the author’s will blow you away.
You must read this book!
About the Author
Charlie Laidlaw was born in Paisley and is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh. He has been a national newspaper journalist and worked in defence intelligence. He now runs his own marketing consultancy in East Lothian. He is married with two grown-up children.
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