Earthly Pleasures, by Karen Neches

Skye Sebring, the heroine of Karen Neches’s amusing and unconventional novel Earthly Pleasures, is one of Heaven's "Hospitality greeters"—a supernatural social worker who spends her days helping the recently deceased adjust to their new afterlives. When Skye meets lawyer Ryan Blaine during a motorcycle-crash-induced brush with death, she’s instantly smitten... but she soon discovers there are even more obstacles to their relationship than the whole “she’s dead, he’s alive” thing.

Earthly Pleasures has a surprising amount in common with Nina Harper’s novel Succubus in the City*. Both books get a lot of mileage out of the cutesy details of the afterlife. Harper portrays Satan as a sleekly fashionable Martha Stewart type in five-hundred-dollar stilettos, while Neches imagines Heaven as a touristy, too-adorable-for-words wonderland where acne magically clears up, gourmet chocolate appears at a wish, and life lessons are taught via Beatles songs. (“Heaven is like a Corona beer commercial,” Skye assures a new client.)

Happily, Earthly Pleasures is a better book than Succubus in the City. The first half might be overly precious, but the second develops into an entertaining—if slight—mystery: Ryan has a wife back on Earth who looks exactly like Skye, and has been acting very strange ever since her own near-death experience a year earlier. Neches doesn’t bother with many romantic conventions (actually, her hero and heroine barely meet), but such an unorthodox approach makes this entertaining, creative novel all the more memorable.

*Despite some obvious differences in subject matter.
Posted by: Julia, Last edit by: Julianka


No comments yet. Be the first!

No new comments are allowed on this post.