Overall, I was very much impressed with this book, and I've certainly never read anything else with a heroine like Lillian. There seems to be a trend for generic, sanitized heroines in fantasy literature at the moment, so Lillian, with her accent, sensuality and self-possession, was refreshing. Phil and Lillian settle into their new lives somewhat, despite the extraordinary circumstances, but it's done with no fuss, allowing Musawale to pull it off.
I found the writing style somewhat strange; a gravitation between dialect and description, which, while certainly vivid, was occasionally elegant to the point of incongruity. The ambiguity of the ending did appeal to me, however, and left the door open for the sequel.
The diversity of the world Musawale has created within the hospital is wonderful. French eccentrics mingle with scrappy, dead-before-their-time boys and men in sharp suits. Each character is lingered over just long enough to establish their quirks and get back to the pivot, which, of course, is Phil and Lillian.
Some of the phrasing was clunky, with a sentence here and there that could have been worded with a little more precision. On the other hand, Musawale clearly has a knack for word-painting. The snowglobe world of the hospital is fully realised and three-dimensional; the only elements of it that are neglected, paper-thin, are, ironically, the people who remain alive.
Something else I appreciated was that each character had a distinct voice of their own. It's all too common for books to contain conversations where the speaker is not indicated, or only indicated to a point, and after a while it becomes impossible to tell which thread of the conversation belongs to whom; not so with Between Death And Heaven. It's clear, whether indicated or no, which character is speaking, because all of them- every single one- have accents, tics, or quirks of speech- citing Lillian's London accent as the most significant.
Then there's the mythology, which draws on various other cultures, just as with the characters. There's a Charon figure, suggesting Greek roots, and, if I remember rightly, a few elements of Norse in there too, helping enrich the plot, which is mainly personal.
Overall I found Between Death And Heaven a very enjoyable read, with a few bittersweet emotional moments, unique and likeable protagonists, and shades of ambiguity. I'd recommend it.
(reviewed 48 days after purchase)