In Billie Kowalewski’s Enlightened, Veronica Edwards is mourning the untimely death of her boyfriend, Seth. After a gut-wrenching visit to his grave, Veronica is overcome with a terrible migraine and collapses, dead. When she wakes, she is no longer Veronica, but a spiritual being named Harmony. Harmony has been many different people and lived many different lives, but her time on Earth is always limited. She must return to the spirit world after each of her deaths to relive it all and begin again, life by tragic life.
Enlightened has a bit of a rocky start; with a bizarre prologue that makes little sense before reading the rest of the book and the sudden death of the supposed main character only a few pages in, it’s difficult to tell where this plot intends to go at first. Also, much of the narrative is a bit too conversational, which damages the integrity of the complex plot. Despite having an interesting premise, some of the execution seems to fall a bit short.
However, Enlightened is still a most fascinating novel. Its plot is dripping in philosophical “what-ifs,” leaving the reader to ponder its story in wonder. Billie Kowalewski writes with creativity and imagination; her story is unique, thoughtful, and so very deep. Enlightened is exactly the sort of book that remains in your mind long after you’ve read it, for all the best reasons. At its very core, it leaves behind one torturously unanswerable question: what is the true meaning of life?
Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.