#Review “Miracle” by J. Helen Elza

Miracle cover

5/5 Stars!

The faith and pure heart of a child confound the Father of Lies in this inspiring tale.

Twelve-year-old Willie MacGregor is golden in the lead. Raised by the spirited Eleanor, Willie sees adventure in everything and doesn’t miss an opportunity to explore.

A child of faith, Willie is not naïve. He’s well aware evil and temptation exists, but it is his choice to be a believer and take different paths.

His best friend, Johanna—also a believer—is wheelchair bound, but her spirits soar when she spends time with Willie and Eleanor.

Every story has an annoying character and Millicent, Johanna’s mom, gets the honor in Miracle. Dour and overprotective, I have to cut her some slack. She lost her husband in the accident that paralyzed her daughter. Millicent’s lack of faith and a tendency to see bad everywhere is understandable.

During a road trip to Tennessee’s Smokey Mountain National Forest, it’s Millicent who sees trauma and catastrophe at every turn and insists on taking Johanna home. The two preteens aren’t ready for their adventure to end, and because they believe, together they recite words from one of their favorite Scottish fairy tales… and separately appear in another wooded forest.

This begins Willie’s real adventure… to find Johanna.

Willie meets a lovable cast of characters from woodland creatures and horses who can talk to children of privilege left on their own by self-centered parents.

Led by his strong faith, Willie MacGregor attempts to help the friends he makes on his journey. He can’t understand why so many live in fear and doubt and tells them of a better way.

Known by many names, Satan also shows up in many forms to tempt and antagonize. He’s a leopard prince, a mighty stallion, and a cool hip-hop dude.

Willie may not realize at first with whom he’s dealing, but he senses evil and is cautious and suspicious. What Willie doesn’t realize at the time is his character and faith are inspiring to all he meets—but Satan does, and he knows the only way to continue his rule is to break Willie’s faith.

This read is a fun adventure! It is not preachy or judgmental. Willie is not a little evangelical screaming fire and brimstone. He’s a twelve-year-old in a denim bucket hat who wipes his nose on his sleeve. He has a strong sense of faith, family, and friendship because that’s what he is being raised—good home training! His behavior and decisions puzzle many but are natural to him.

Also natural is the way the author wove the Native American spirituality and culture throughout the story. Belief systems may appear to be different, but at the heart, they’re all the same… just as people are. The imagery is on point—the beaded dresses are as vivid and detailed as the flannel shirts. The rapid flowing streams and the majestic trees… priceless. Great job.

There is some head-hopping, but nothing so distracting as to remove the reader from the story.

I recommend Miracle to everyone. Read it to your children/grandchildren or read it for yourself. It is a worthy delight!


Miracle cover“MIRACLE

Genre: Christian/Native American Spirituality/Children’s/Action & Adventure

Release Date: February 23, 2016

Have you ever said to yourself (or out loud, maybe) that just once, you would like to put Satan the Devil in his place? Well, hang on to your bucket hat (or whatever kind of hat you wear) because one twelve-year-old named Willie MacGregor is about to bedevil the devil.

Willie and best friend, Johanna, who uses a wheelchair, embark on a grand Smoky Mountain adventure when Johanna goes missing. Willie’s search for her leads him into the enchanted forest of the evil shape-shifting Prince Fallon, who, in all his disguises, repeatedly thwarts Willie’s search while trying to win Willie as a new and loyal subject. Fallon tires of the boy who rejects everything the prince offers; Willie wants nothing but Johanna. In a temper, Fallon produces the girl and offers Willie an even exchange; Johanna’s life for Willie’s soul. To Fallon’s delight, Willie pleads for Johanna’s safety.

But, is it possible that the prince of demons, masquerading as Fallon, underestimates young Willie who sees through Fallon’s disguises and serves up one last surprise for the prince?

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