She’s in a Better Place, by Angela Hunt (Tyndale House Publishers, 2009)
“One of the surest ways to know you’re ready to be a full-time funeral director is when you start talking to clients.” (p. 2)
So says Gerald Huffman, Jennifer Graham’s gentle mentor, when he catches her reassuring the corpse she’s working on.
Jen is a single mom with two school-aged sons and an unusual occupation: she owns a funeral home. She also shares her mother’s tendency to interfere—er, “help”—if relationships need mending, and so when Gerald becomes ill, Jen contacts his estranged daughter, Kirsten. Contact is one thing, but reconciliation proves to be another.
I like Jen, and one reason is her humanity. She’s a good mother and friend, who doesn’t always get it right. This lesson about trusting God to work things out is one she’s faced before. she may face it again, but she’s learning. Sound like anyone you know?
She’s in a Better Place is written in the present tense, which I find jarring. It’s by turns funny, sad and thoughtful, and it’s a good read. Don’t start here, though, if you haven’t read the previous books in the series.
You’d have no trouble picking up the ongoing story of Jennifer and her family, but where each novel builds on the previous, starting with book 3 would ruin the surprises in the first two. If you can, take time to begin with Doesn’t She Look Natural and then She Always Wore Red.
She’s in a Better Place brings the series to a satisfying conclusion, but there’s definitely room for another story. I hope we get one!
Best-selling, Christy-award winning author Angela Hunt has written over 100 books and is a favourite of many readers. You can learn more about Angela on her website, and she has a readers’ page on Facebook.
I enjoyed your book review. Sounds like an interesting occupation. Thanks again for all your help. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by, Dolores. One of the things I’ve enjoyed about this series is the look into the life of a caring funeral director. Since we’ll all have to deal with one sooner or later, it’s good to learn that they’re not just scary professionals but compassionate individuals — the good ones. As with any profession, there are the good, the bad and the ugly, I suppose.
Great review. You said a lot in relatively few words (like mentioning that the POV was first-person). Also, appreciated the spoiler alert re reading the series in the wrong order.
Thanks, O More Experienced Reviewer! Actually, this book mixes first person (for the heroine) and third (for the other characters’ point of view scenes) and that usually disturbs me but for some reason it didn’t this time. I guess I’m used to it by the third book in the series. Present tense really distracts me, though.
Yes, some series have minor progressions from book to book, but in this one the changes are significant enough to warrant a spoiler alert!