In COULD ANTHONY NEWLEY BE MY MUSE? author Joellyn St. Pierre documents 16 months of beyond-the-veil conversations with the late British singer, songwriter and actor, Anthony Newley. A lifelong seeker of spiritual insight, with a strong interest in death, dying and the hereafter, St. Pierre’s relationship with the Newley begins while watching a Netflix showing of a Barbra Streisand concert. As the world’s most famous chanteuse sings in tandem with Newley via a split screen, St. Pierre is star-struck in a seismic way by the late singer’s performance. Though cancer claimed Newley in 1999, it was spiritual love at first sight. It wasn’t long before St. Pierre began hearing the voice of her muse.
The development of their relationship seemed even more providential for St. Pierre, a former Broadway actress who, as a younger woman, was inspired by Newley’s work to pursue a stage career. Surprisingly, they never crossed paths in this life, a circumstance the author attributes to an agreement made between the two prior to their most recent earthly existences. Their coming together in this remarkable way is born of a destiny they decided upon as spirit acquaintances.
The chapters pivot around transcripts of their discussions, each brimming with revelations from the other side and plenty of lighthearted banter. Newley’s spirit personality seems in line with his earthly persona – quippy with a stripe of sarcasm. Information is mutually exchanged, with Newley shedding light on topics such as deep soul memories and life reviews, and St. Pierre explaining the finer points of YouTube and Facebook to a somewhat perplexed spirit. The dynamic seems as natural as sitting down with a friend for a little coffee talk, and it’s hard not to like this unseemly couple. But the good feelings become tinged with frustration and sadness later when the author questions the reality of their communication (this might not be real?) and Tony hints that his personality is destined to slowly fade with time (no!).
The tone turns even more somber turn when they share their experiences during the height of the AIDs epidemic, which wiped out a wounding number of theatrical and artistic talents. That dark time, which claimed some of St. Pierre’s closest friends and colleagues, was the catalyst that drove her away from the theater to the bedsides of the dying where she immersed herself in their experience for a deeper understanding of how to “commune” with the terminally ill.
Perhaps the most compelling remarks from Newley are delivered toward the book’s end, when he speaks of the constant flow of communication between the living and the dead. He describes a type of evolution in which sleep, once the favored medium for such exchanges, is increasingly giving way to conscious communication through which people who are “sensitive” to spirits carry on their interactions in a deliberate, wakeful state. This, he says, requires willingness and trust–both qualities St. Pierre embodies (no pun intended) as she lays out her own experiences with this fascinating journey – real or imagined – into the world of spirit talk.
Those who embrace the concepts of mediumship and a belief in the afterlife will likely be mesmerized by COULD ANTHONY NEWLEY BE MY MUSE?, author Joellyn St. Pierre’s account of her contact with the the late British singer, songwriter and actor. Those who eschew such ideas may still enjoy the book, though it will require a suspension of disbelief to fully experience its entertainment value.
~Libby Wiersema for IndieReader