“I guess sometimes, you have to take a step back to see a whole new beautiful world you never knew existed.”
At the end of a successful season, New York City Football Club goalkeeper Ryan Tarkington suddenly dies. Trouble is… it wasn’t his time. After he is mistakenly brought to Heaven, it is imperative that a new body for him is available, as he cannot return into his (he was cremated). A suitable candidate is identified in London, Tottenham football club owner Chadwick Sutton, who does not enjoy a great reputation in town, as he is a ruthless, simply despicable businessman. However, this is as good as it gets, so Ryan accepts to take over his body while a new goalkeeper is found. Being the competent, focused, altruistic human being he is – even after death – Ryan will work hard to change the fortunes of Tottenham for the better and the lives of the local community and those surrounding him. The best part is, he will fall in love for the first time in his life in the process, winning the heart of goalkeeper (and redhead) Samantha Desmore. Unfortunately, God has other plans for Ryan, and in an unexpected turn of events all seems lost, forever.
Will Ryan and Samantha be able to find each other again, even if he can no longer be Chadwick Sutton? At the end of the day, Heaven does owe him a favour…
Ivan Scott offers us a well-executed, uncomplicated yet thought-provoking story that is effortlessly written. There is a lightness, a gentleness about his writing style that is very difficult to define or pinpoint: reading this book felt like witnessing someone tiptoeing around a room that is only full of silence, to leave a huge, permanent mark on a blackboard.
There is definitely a sentimental/romance element to the plot, but unlike your classic romantic novels completely centred on the paradigm ‘boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back’, there is a lot more too. It is a story about how our past does not define us – especially our failures – and even if we surely cannot change it (Ryan’s life as Ryan is over, he’s dead after all) we can reset and restart time and time again if we really want to.
Perhaps a little too sentimental and mellow at times – at least for my liking – for example when Ryan/Sutton starts supporting local community projects like some sort of saviour for whom money is no object, or his conversations on love with his butler. However, this also made me think about myself, to the point that I even started questioning if I have a heart at all and why I have become so bitter, unable to embrace the warm, fuzzy feeling this story evokes.
The answer I found, and I am sure some of our readers can relate to this too, is that sometimes we are so stuck in our lives that we forget the simplicity of the pleasure of reading a light-hearted, very funny yet meaningful story. Thank you Ivan for reminding me there’s nothing wrong with being human.