A Piece of Heaven begins in New Mexico, in the city of Taos. Luna McGraw, who’s divorced with a sixteen-year-old daughter, is an ex-alcoholic, an ex-smoker and an ex-therapist. Without a driver's license but with the help of her ever-supportive mother and good friends, she’s at last getting back to normal. After several years her daughter Joy, who’s literally the joy of her life, is at last coming to live with her. Due to some repressed reason, this causes Luna to again start dreaming about her father, who walked out on his family, never to be heard of again. She soon meets Thomas Coyote under unusual circumstances. Thomas is a half-breed Indian, twice divorced, who’s still in love with his recent ex-wife who abandoned him for his brother.
For some reason the two are irresistibly drawn to each other, and from the first they’re candid with each other -- both about their past and the emotional baggage they both carry. Though wary, they’re not without the courage to let love and hope back into their lives. It’s very interesting to read how they finally get together, how they traverse this journey of discovery and love. There are many equally remarkable secondary characters as well. Troubled teen Joy, with her rebellion and odd maturity, is an enigma who intrigues the readers. Tiny’s stormy story is another plus. Especially touching is the plight of the young girl Maggie, who’s trying to mourn her recently deceased father, all the while trying desperately to be a parent to her mother who’s daily sinking deeper into the well of depression. All in all, A Piece of Heaven reveals many different facets of love, whether it’s a mother’s love for her child, love between a man and woman, or the love between God and devotee, and how it affects the people involved. The two sides of love are shown -- as both an ideal and as a curse. Interpersonal relationships are complex and complicated and this book explores it all with depth, sensitivity and love.
Barbara Samuels is quite simply the best author I’ve read, with a style that is unique and utterly beautiful. Everything comes to life with her words -- colors, touch, smell, all seem to leap off the pages, so stimulating and vibrant are the author’s words. Her prose is lyrical and heartfelt and oh, so true. Her characters are real and heroic, but not in the general popular sense of the word. There is nothing more heroic than ordinary people rising above their circumstances, which is what A Piece of Heaven is all about. That and love. I have tired of reading countless romances in the hope of finding any with a touch of realism about it yet which still won’t put me to sleep. And now, at long last, I’ve found it. This book goes on the keeper shelf. I badly wish someone had told me about this author years ago. If they’re all of the same high standard set by this book, then I genuinely regret all the years and the books by Barbara Samuels that I’ve missed reading.