A Thousand Rooms by Helen Jones begins with the end – the end of Katie’s life. When Katie accidentally steps off a curb while checking her text messages, she is hit by a car and killed. When she awakes, she finds her old body lying on the ground and her separated body and soul still dressed to kill …. or be killed, in her new, expensive and adorable red shoes. However, she seems to be stuck somewhere in oblivion, between this life and the next. Katie finds she can still wander around the city of Sydney, see her friends and family, and go home, but she can’t be seen, heard, or feel anything. She begins a quest to find her way to her afterlife while mourning the beauty of the life she left behind. Katie’s biggest challenge comes with finding a fellow “in-betweener” to guide her to her own version of Heaven, one of the thousand rooms.
First of all, I’d like to thank Helen Jones and Netgalley for allowing me the chance to read and review this exceptionally unique and interesting novel. We love our Indie authors at 5171 Miles Book Blog, and I was glad to find someone new to promote through my reviews!
With human life comes death, something we inevitably will have to face and think about someday. We all wonder where we will go after our demise, and sometimes it is even fun to imagine what Heaven could be like. In A Thousand Rooms, Jones takes us to a fictional and fantastical version of Heaven. This is a mostly secular and fun look at the afterlife, without the heavy feel of religious bias. Though I am a Christian and believe Heaven will look different from the life after death represented, I enjoyed the fictionalized version in this book and applaud Helen’s ability to walk a fine line with her writing. This is a book readers of all religious and non-religious backgrounds alike can connect with and enjoy.
I was pleasantly surprised by the added aspect of romance in this story. As an avid romance reader, especially Indie Romance, I wasn’t expecting Katie to find a love interest, especially after her death. This was a unique and exciting twist in the story and made me enjoy the book all the more. I love to change up the genres I read frequently, but always fall back on hoping for the main characters to find a bit of love somewhere, no matter what genre I read. I especially love books like this one, as it doesn’t neatly fit in any one genre. It features a bit of everything and can only be counted as “different”. My only critique of this novel was the lack of structure at times. I felt it needed a little more organization, which would have resulted in a more exciting and purposeful plot. At times I was left wondering where the story could continue to go, which may be due to the tough topic the author chose to tackle. Where are we left to go after an untimely death anyway? It’s even hard for me to imagine an eternity of purpose!
Impressively, this novel did not feel emotionally overbearing or depressing, despite the constant topic of death. At certain moments, there was a sadness as Katie reflected upon her life, or the life her family would continue to lead without her presence. However, these touching and sad moments were followed up with a cheerfulness or a changing of gears to lighter topics. Occasionally I felt close to shedding a few tears but managed to keep my cool, much to my delight since my husband is home for summer break. He always seems entertained by my crying over books and movies. 😉
Overall, I found this to be an original story with some helpful reminders to readers to enjoy the life we have been given. We should enjoy the people around us and love them in the time we are together here on Earth instead of taking ourselves so seriously. I am eager to check out more of Helen Jones’s work in the future and hope you will consider supporting another Indie author’s work! All of her books are free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. A Thousand Rooms is a great place to start… or end, in this case.