Author: Colleen M Story
Publisher: Dzanc Books
Type of book: Idaho, 1967, angel of mercy, kill, secrets, blindness, church, family, siblings, gangs, selling out, kidnapped
Year it was published: 2016
A BLIND GIRL'S TERRIFYING "GIFT" ALLOWS HER TO REGAIN HER EYESIGHT--BUT ONLY AS SHE FERRIES THE RECENTLY DECEASED INTO THE AFTERLIFE.
Loreena Picket thinks she knows herself. A blind young woman who lives with her uncle, a reverend at a small-town church, she's a dutiful niece and talented pianist for the congregation.
But they're both hiding a terrible secret. Loreena can kill people with the touch of her hand.
While her uncle sees her as an angel of mercy, helping usher the terminally ill members of his flock into the afterlife, Loreena has her doubts.
Torn between doing her uncle's bidding and the allure of the fleeting moments when her eyesight returns on the journey to the other side, Loreena cooperates with her uncle until her troubled older brother returns to town. When she reveals her power by saving him from a local drug dealer, she is drawn into a sinister and dangerous world that will test the true nature of her talent and force her to consider how far she is willing to go to survive.
An exciting debut that crosses fantasy and literary fiction, Loreena's Gift is a thought-provoking meditation on life and death and what ultimately lies beyond this world.
Main characters include Loreena, a young blind woman who only knows church, her uncle and her terrible gift. Loreena is an orphan and she is also close to her uncle and desires to have a good relationship with her older brother. She is best described as naive, resourceful and determined to do what she can, even if she doesn't want to do it. Loreena's older brother is best described as rebellious and someone who gets into trouble. He is not close to the uncle and does things he might regret. Dominic is Loreena's love interest and has a good sense of humor as well as an easy-going personality and he cares for Loreena very deeply. He also has his own secret that he hides from Loreena. There are other characters such as the gang members, or the man that is helpful to Loreena as well as the woman Mrs. Markos who is best described as resigned to her life.
Afterlife is a personal choice
The story is in third person narrative from Loreena's point of view. I have to admire that the author chose for the character to be blind, thus eliminating the descriptions of colors and whatever else sight provides. There are a few times that the author goofs up though, or where I have to wonder on how much Loreena can see and how much she can sense which is not clear for me in the story.
(From iRead Book Tours)
Meet the Author:
Colleen M. Story writes imaginative fiction and is also a freelance writer, instructor, and motivational speaker specializing in creativity, productivity, and personal wellness. Her latest novel, "Loreena’s Gift," was released with Dzanc Books April 12 2016. Her fantasy novel, "Rise of the Sidenah," is a North American Book Awards winner, and New Apple Book Awards Official Selection (Young Adult). She is the founder of Writing and Wellness (writingandwellness.com) a motivational site for writers and other creatives.
Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter
To be honest, I am rating the book as 3.5 stars, which I am rounding up to 4 stars. In quite a few cases, I enjoyed reading magical realism/ supernatural novels, and while there are parts that strongly appealed to me such as the scenes between Loreena and her love interest as well as the scenes where she is with her family, the main parts about her gift or her life with a local gang seems to lose that sparkle. What I also found a bit frustrating was the beginning of the summary because it caused me to think that with each soul Loreena ferries, she regains her eyesight permanently, but in fact she regains her eyesight temporarily on the other side which caused me to be disappointed. In an odd way as well the story reminded me of Remember Me by Christopher Pike because both deal with afterlife and how it appears to themselves as well as others.
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4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)