In her first novel, On the Way to Heaven, author Tina Wainscott told the story of Chris Copestakes, who awoke to find herself in the body of spoiled socialite Hallie DiBarto. But what happened to the real Hallie? SHADES OF HEAVEN provides the answer to that question.

Hallie remembers dying quite clearly, so she finds it most surprising to wake up and discover that she isn't dead, and that she isn't herself anymore. Far from the wealth and privilege of her life in California, Hallie now finds herself in the body of Marti West, a pregnant waitress in the small town of Chattaloo, Florida.

Apparently Marti's young life hasn't been a bed of roses. Without many prospects, she trapped novice race car driver Jesse West into marriage and then was beaten and strangled to death by an unknown assailant. Hallie/Marti now faces a strange life with a new husband and a baby on the way. While Jesse is solicitous of his wife, Hallie/Marti can tell that things were not right in their marriage. Deciding for once that the truth is the best policy, Hallie/Marti confesses the bizarre reality of her new existence to a flabbergasted Jesse.

For Jesse, the discovery that his wife is another person is mind blowing. In time Jesse does come to accept the truth of Hallie/Marti's claims. The new Marti is desperate to return to California and start life over, but she does agree to stay with Jesse until the baby is born.

Having a second chance at life is bound to cause some serious soul searching, and Marti certainly knows that she has blown it in the past. She now has the chance to love a wonderful man and start a family, but does she have the courage to reach out and try? Unfortunately she may not have the opportunity as the man who stalked and attacked the original Marti will not rest until he has finished her off.

Tina Wainscott is a promising author with her star on the rise. SHADES OF HEAVEN is a touching and memorable tale of second chances and the love and courage it takes to accept them. (Oct., 352 pp., $5.50)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith