Losing a friend is always difficult. I am lucky enough to say that to date, I have not lost a single friend who is close to me. Recently, a friend of a friend of mine passed away. It shocked me! To think that someone who wasn’t even 30 yet lost their life. I can only imagine what it would be like to find out that your best friend passed away. I think I would be completely and totally crushed. Knowing that my friend is communicating with me might help heal me a little, but I think the loss would still be devastating.
Title: Beyond Believing
Author: D.D. Marx
Publisher: Next Century Publishing
Format: Hardcover, 240 pages
Source: Received from iRead Book Tours in exchange for an honest review
When Olivia gets news of her best friend Dan’s fatal car accident, her life is shattered. Consumed with grief and struggling to find any meaning or purpose to life, she trudges along with a gaping void in her heart. Finally, when her frustration reaches its peak, Olivia decides to put her trust in the depth of friendship the two of them shared. That trust finally allows him to breakthrough to her, and Dan begins to guide Olivia through the twists and turns of her life, leading to something new and entirely unexpected.
When Olivia exposes a gigantic internal scandal at work, her career implodes. With no job and nowhere to turn, she escapes to Palm Springs for the sympathy and care of her beloved cousin, Garrett. However, with only weeks left before the opening of his newest store, “Gin and Tonic,” Garrett isn’t quite the comfort Olivia had expected. She yet again tries to find her way, and in the process meets someone who begins to fill that void in her heart. She’s never before experienced a love like this; it heals her soul and rekindles her spirit – and just may have been the design of her dearly departed friend all along.
Beyond Believing is a sweet, funny, and romantic story that touches the heart, serves up delicious twists and turns, and shows the reader that there’s no such thing as “coincidence.” Author D.D. Marx regards this book as her “love letter to friendship,” written in memory of her best friend, Dan.
About the Author
D.D. Marx is a contemporary romantic fiction writer and blogger, as well as a lover of all things social. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton, as well as the Second City program in Chicago, where she currently resides. A proud aunt and self-described hopeless romantic, Marx has always has a knack for humorous and engaging storytelling. Her pen name is a dedication to her beloved friend Dan, who continues to guide and inspire her in her daily life.
Your book has a character from Scotland. Have you ever been there?
One of the main characters, Finn McDaniels, is from Scotland and I’ve never been there. My next door neighbor was born and raised there so I used her to help ensure I got the tone and details correct so the reader could transport themselves there when reading.
Do you have another profession besides writing?
Yes, I am a Project Manager by day in the IT world. Provides plenty of fodder for my imaginary world of creative writing.
Where do you write?
I have a home office with a vintage desk that I write at. It helps to keep the same surroundings to stay focused. It is very warm and cozy. My desk is scattered with fun to help keep me inspired. The dream is to travel the world and write from coffee shops in amazing places!
In today’s tech savvy world, most writers use a computer or laptop. Have you ever written parts of your book on paper?
I actually tried to buy Dragon Speak and dictate my book. It went horribly wrong. My mouth cannot keep up with my brain so easier for me to type. In addition, dragon speak could not understand a word I was saying! LOL!
Me: It was a dark stormy night. Dragon Speak: Derek squirmy fight?
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
I would go back to my high school years, sans the bad hair and clothes, to realize how carefree and resilient I was. I’d want to hang out with my friend who died one last time.
What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you?
I lived in a 3- bedroom apartment in a neighborhood in downtown Chicago. A guy my age owned the building. His sister, who lived with my friend from college, moved out of to get married. I then moved in. My roommate and I came home one weekend after being gone and it was clear someone had been in the apartment, things were out of their place etc. When I inquired with the owner he said, “Oh sorry, my parents stayed in your apartment this weekend!” He thought nothing of “lending” our home to his family like a hotel room since he “owned” the building. Needless to say, it never happened again once I told him what I really thought of his “logic” P.S. He didn’t even know we were going to be out of town, he just lucked out.
What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?
Write a book.
I honestly don’t know where to begin for this book. The storyline was heart wrenching and lovely and sad and happy and omg you go through every emotion possible! As soon as you start reading about Olivia’s adventure you connect with her and what she is going through. You feel as though you have been invited into Olivia’s living room and are being told a story about her past, one that she really wants to share with you. I loved being able to meet Olivia and all of her friends- it was fun to see how all of them grew up but still maintained contact. I also really enjoyed learning about all of the connections and how one character was friends with a different character. This just goes to show you how small the world is!
The story of Beyond Believing is told in alternating perspectives- we get to experience Olivia’s life through her eyes, and then we also get to experience Finn’s life through his eyes. It was interesting to see where Olivia’s story was going and where Finn’s was going and what happened in the end (I don’t want to give it away so I won’t say what happened.. you’ll just have to read it to find out!). I have said this multiple times before, but I absolutely love alternating perspectives because I feel you get to learn more about the story and the characters. You also get a chance to see what is going on in multiple areas of the story instead of just what is in front of the one main character.
Although this story was sad, it had a number of really funny lines. Some examples are:
“I’ll never forget Rosie’s birthday party where one of her neighbours said, ‘Oh, is your husband here? I’ve never met him.’ I replied without pause, scanning the room, ‘Oh my God, is he? I sure hope he’s hot!” (Page 85)
“Well, you know what they say? You can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning!” (Page 178)
I thought D.D. Marx did a fantastic job writing this book and taking a topic that is sad and injecting it with bits of humour and love. I really enjoyed her writing style and found that I couldn’t wait to find out what happened with the characters. The entire book was a quick read, but you still felt invested in the characters. This book would be a fantastic beach read- perfect since summer is fast approaching!
This was overall a really great story that shows you the value of friendship. It was heartbreaking at times, and really joyous at other times. I cannot wait to read the rest of the trilogy!
Overall, I give this book:
4.5 out of 5 hippos!