Sunday, September 2, 2012

Book Review: Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson

by Stephanie Nielson, with Amy Ferguson Hackworth
Voice, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4013-4179-4
Inspirational Nonfiction

Stephanie Nielson began sharing her life in 2005 on, drawing readers in with her warmth and candor. She quickly attracted a loyal following that was captivated by the upbeat mother happily raising her young children, madly in love with her husband, Christian (Mr. Nielson to her readers), and filled with gratitude for her blessed life.

However, everything changed in an instant on a sunny day in August 2008, when Stephanie and Christian were in a horrific plane crash. Christian was burned over 40 percent of his body, and Stephanie was on the brink of death, with burns over 80 percent of her body. She would remain in a coma for four months.

In the aftermath of this harrowing tragedy, Stephanie maintained a stunning sense of humor, optimism, and resilience. She has since shared this strength of spirit with others through her blog, in magazine features, and on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Now, in this moving memoir, Stephanie tells the full, extraordinary story of her unlikely recovery and the incredible love behind it—from a riveting account of the crash to all that followed in its wake. With vivid detail, Stephanie recounts her emotional and physical journey, from her first painful days after awakening from the coma to the first time she saw her face in the mirror, the first kiss she shared with Christian after the accident, and the first time she talked to her children after their long separation. She also reflects back on life before the accident, to her happy childhood as one of nine siblings, her close-knit community and strong Mormon faith, and her fairy-tale love story, all of which became her foundation of strength as she rebuilt her life.

What emerges from the wreckage of a tragic accident is a unique perspective on joy, beauty, and overcoming adversity that is as gripping as it is inspirational. Heaven Is Here is a poignant reminder of how faith and family, love and community can bolster us, sustain us, and quite literally, in some cases, save us.

A heart-wrenching memoir of love, family, and sacrifice told by the creator of I really enjoyed this book. Not only is it beautifully written, but it is full of heart. I found it truly inspiring and a great reminder of how much I appreciate my own belief in God and my family.  I too would not have made it through some of my struggles without my Heavenly Father's help as well as my family.  As much as I love my job and enjoy blogging, they don't compare to the joy-filled times I've spent with my family.  Stephanie shares many of those times with her audience, letting the reader feel of her joy in being a wife and mother. After the accident when everything in her life changed, she found courage to go on through her belief in God and the many sacrifices and services of her family.

While I can't imagine the pain and depression she experienced, I admire the determination and courage that she and her family has shown in the face of such adversity. For those looking for a great read and an inspirational story of love and hope, I highly recommend this read.

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