Have you ever considered how many people in this world simply “settle” for what they have in their life?  Getting up each morning and going to jobs which they hate.  Living in areas which make them unhappy.  Maintaining relationships with unpleasant and toxic individuals.  Sad to be sure… and usually done in an effort to keep the peace and please others.  However, the problem with living life as a “people pleaser” is that an individual is not really living their own life at all.  Everything is done for someone else.  Soul crushing to say the least.  In her novel Cloud Whispers, author Sedona Hutton presents just such a scenario.  For readers who enjoy literary fiction which is embedded with romance, spirituality and metaphysics, this novel will be right up your alley!

The novel begins with emotions running exceptionally high.  The main character, Katie, is being pressured by her father to find a “suitable” job and spend less time with Liam, who her father considers to be Katie’s worthless husband.  To add to the pressure, she has just discovered the whereabouts of the child she gave up at birth when she was just a teenager.  Unsure if Liam will accept another man’s child as his own, Katie becomes torn and distant from Liam.  How can she possibly work all this out in a way which will please everyone else?  A tragic motorcycle accident may very well be the catalyst to answer this question.

When Katie and Liam are involved in a motorcycle crash, Katie takes the brunt of the damage and becomes locked in a coma.  She then finds herself in a dreamlike state between Earth and the afterlife.  She is not alone however.  There are spiritual guides and even the soul of her dear departed dog to help her along the way.  However… which way will she actually choose?  As she watches her grief stricken family from her ethereal vantage point in the clouds, Katie begins to come to terms with how she has lived her life.  Will this realization come in time to propel her back to the side of her loved ones?  Or has the time truly come for her soul to enter the great beyond?

Make no mistake, this is not merely a book about a character who is at death’s door struggling to rejoin her family.  There is much more to it than that.  Essentially, it is a story about self-discovery, intentionality, spirituality and most importantly…love.  While the theme of being true to one’s self permeates through the novel, it is the devoted relationships which actually steal the show.  There is not only the powerful bond between Katie and Liam, but the book ultimately explores the love which exists among all the family members- even a departed dog!  Who could possibly not mist up when Katie encounters her deceased dog Bear in the clouds of  her transitional area?  It is all about the power of love.  When you throw in some steamy scenes with Shane and Liz, and the ongoing conflict with Katie’s controlling father, you have a top-notch and absolutely engrossing story.

While the plot of the story is multi-faceted and intriguing, it is nonetheless truly a character driven novel.  There are many different and unique characters who are developed in great depth.  We are able to aptly explore their different backgrounds, mannerisms and discover what it is which ultimately drives them.  They are all very real and beautifully support the plot.  Without such genuine and believable characters the main theme would have stalled and sputtered.  Indeed, while Katie and Liam are the actual “main players”, the story is really all about family.  As such they are all critical to the development of the story.  The author recognizes this fact and supports it with beautiful and flowing writing throughout the novel.  The scenes are detailed, engaging and emotional.

I would recommend this novel to all lovers of fiction.  It would neatly fit into the genre of literary or women’s fiction, but I believe there is something in it which will resonate with all readers.

5 out of 5 Divine stars for this one!