Lisa Samson does not belong in the genre she has been put in. She isn't like all the other romance authors on the market. The critics just don't know where to put her. The author she is perhaps most like is Angela Hunt.
Pearl Laurel has nothing to live for anymore now that her husband of thirty-five years has died. The two of them always wanted to die together, and Pearl wants to fulfill that wish until she discovers a list in Joe's pocket entitled "What I Want to Do Before I Die". So Pearl sets out to do the things on the list-and some things of her own-before going to meet her husband.
The largest anchor this book has is the superb characters. It's rare that you find any this good. They have very clear cut personalities, though it is subtle at first. None of them are perfect characters; that's the best part about it.
The book isn't just a manual of all the things Pearl completes from the list; the plot is broken up by two subplots: Pearl's and Joe's past, and all of Joe's journals.
But they aren't just simple journals. One of the books are Joe's analytical sketches of people he meets, one is meditations on Bible verses, and one is about everyday life. Pearl becomes obsessed with reading them.
The whole book is a journal of Pearl in itself because of the lack of chapters and the unpredictability of the entries.
The cover and the title are some of the best I have ever seen.
The end is ironic, to say the least. Though it was slightly predictable, it was understandable, sort of like a Karen Kingsbury end.
The way she is packaged as an author is funny because I would normally never read abook by this kind of author. However, do not be decieved for she is an original writer who fits many different genre expectations. All in all, Lisa Samson has been stamped with a title she does not deserve.