Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
Lucy Brown
Features Writer
2:06 AM 25th October 2020

Review: Things In Heaven And Earth By Jane Metcalfe

Things in Heaven and Earth is a book that is near impossible to categorise. It is a true story outlining a very human experience: human, yet so ‘other’ it would more often be described spiritual. It is literature; it is factual; it is philosophical, it is personal; but at its heart it is simply the truest and deepest of love stories.

Told through diary extracts, interviews and letters, Things in Heaven and Earth is the account of a couple's meeting and the extraordinary impact it has on the two – a visible impact so lasting and profound it reached, and remained with, those around them.

Colin is an English playwright and is the author’s ex-husband; Dee is a Hollywood actress – and this is all we know of her. The secrecy surrounding her and her identity is upheld by all to this day, such was her fame and the extraordinary and personal nature of the events.

Following the deaths of both, their private correspondence made its way to Jane.

Left curator of these invaluable artefacts with far-reaching effect, the author is now faced with the responsibility of sharing the intimacy of their diaries and letters. She considers the notion of duty; a duty to share their contents with the hope that what touched Colin and Dee so profoundly will also touch the reader.

Colin and Dee meet for the first time at a party in America. Instantly they know they were always meant to, and in that moment all usual understanding falls away. Life looks different; language becomes unnecessary, ineffectual. The harder they to try to describe the experience, the more elusive the meaning becomes. Language is ridiculous now; just a clumsy code as the two tumble wordlessly through the experience to emerge fundamentally – and visibly, changed.

That which defies explanation will always precipitate a search for answers. Metcalfe’s skill is to not offer one. She presents this compelling story as is, without over-analysis or dissection. Her voice is that of an observer and in writing without sensationalism the intensity and wonder expressed by the protagonists is only magnified.

It is deliberately left to us, as readers, observers and participants to absorb what we will; to question; to consider and to celebrate. Celebrate - because that which we believed divine, is divine because it is human. And because, in not looking, we discover that that which we were searching for was already – and always - there.

Jane Metcalfe writes with wisdom; she is an engaging guide. In Things in Heaven and Earth she makes the indescribable accessible, exciting and deeply thought provoking. Importantly she does so without ever losing the essence of mystery and joy at the story’s very core. The sense of beauty in the events in this book will stay long after reading.

Things in Heaven and Earth is available on

Jane can be contacted at