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 ONCE OVER LIGHTLY is a story of family connections, friendship, life and death. 

Isabelle Fortune is a soul waiting to be conceived.  Her chosen destiny is a lifetime in which she can become the first woman President of the United States.  According to the Great Book of Possibilities, President Fortune could be a catalyst in the establishment of world peace during the second quarter of the 21st Century.  Unfortunately, the parents whose combination of genes Isabelle needs in order to accomplish this goal are in the process of getting a divorce.  Will she have to choose another life?  Will the world consequently lose the wonderful opportunity Isabelle could fulfill?


On the first day of October, 1973, in the quiet New York suburb of Bloomfield, New Jersey, Lincoln Lightly, 70 years old, dies peacefully in his sleep.  At first, he has difficulty believing he is dead, no matter what his faithful old dog, Gershwin, says.  Lincoln is finally convinced of his demise when his guardian angel arrives.  The angel bears a striking resemblance to Mario Lanza, Lincoln’s favorite singer.  The angel, also called Mario, has come to escort Lincoln across the threshold between this world and the next.


As the angel Mario leads Lincoln up the tunnel toward the light of the next world, he meets Isabelle.  She shares with him her soul’s dilemma.  Lincoln realizes that Isabelle’s prospective parents are his daughter, Jeanette, and her husband, Christopher Fortune.  The child who would grow up to be the first woman President would be his granddaughter.  Lincoln pleads with the angel to help Isabelle.  He is granted the grace to return to earth as a ghost for one month.  Lincoln’s task is to reunite his daughter and son-in-law in time to conceive the child before her window of opportunity for this lifetime closes.  He has until midnight October 31, the moment when All Hallows Eve becomes All Saints' Day.


There is only one character back on earth who can see, hear, and communicate with Lincoln Lightly, his dog, Gershwin.  However, Lincoln is soon joined by another ghost, his immigrant grandfather.  Gockie was a water boy at the battle of Gettysburg.  He won a purple heart in the Spanish American War.  Gockie has returned to help his great grandson, Eddie Lightly.  Lincoln’s nephew has recently returned from Vietnam, physically intact, but suffering emotional scars that could destroy his life.  Together, the two ghosts and the dog set out on their  respective missions.


Jeanette Fortune and Eddie Lightly share a special bond with a third cousin, Anne Marie.  As children they called themselves the “Three Mosquitoes.”  As adults, all three must confront devastating challenges.


Because of her fear of loss, and her guilt over the death of her infant son, Jeanette rejects the love of the one man she is passionately devoted to, her husband, Christopher.


Eddie has returned from Vietnam damaged, confused, and disoriented.  Feeling isolated and suicidal, he faces his impending wedding, and his life, through the haze of alcohol and drugs. 


Anne Marie is the helpless victim of an abusive husband, unable to see any other way to live.


Jeanette and Eddie want to help Anne Marie, but first they must face their own problems.  Lincoln Lightly’s dog, Gershwin, directed by the two ghosts, lends a paw.  He leads Jeanette and Eddie to two old journals, one Lincoln's, the other Gockie's.    Through the pages of their ancestors’ diaries, Jeanette and Eddie begin to understand that they are not alone in their pain.  The knowledge that others have faced similar circumstances is the stimulus that begins the healing process for them both.  Hoping they are not too late, they reach out to Anne Marie.


On Halloween night, 1973, midnight approaches.  Jeanette must make the most important choice of her life.  Her decision will seal not only the destiny of Isabelle Fortune, but the course of history.