Next, the four children are well-drawn and distinctive. No generic kid, kid, kid, but four different and recognizable personalities. Ms. Bell gave me just enough of the dialect flavor to hear it in my mind (I filled in with my own trip to England). Gort, Aisling, and Col are all wonderful characters, and the "foreigner," Laurel is lucky to have them on her side.
The essence of the story is that Laurel has been sent to England while her mother is dying of terminal cancer. It seems a cruel thing to do to a child and a little weak on explanation of why she'd be sent clear to England from the Canadian prairies. This isn't clarified until an appendix containing letters from Laurel's grandmother to Sarie, the Cornish woman who takes Laurel in.
But whatever the reasons, it comes down to Laurel needing to be in Cornwall because she's got a quest. No, she's not a chosen one, but a young girl desperately trying to save her mother's life. Only in Cornwall, with its legendary characters like piskies (pixies) and selkies (a seal-person). To say why it's important for Laurel to be where she is would be giving away a bit too much plot, so I'll leave it at that.
This book is longish for a middle-grade read, but I hope that won't put off parents buying ebooks for their children's Christmas present: an ereader, of course. The book will be released in print format, but there's no need to wait.
Enjoyable read full of Cornish lore. I liked it.
A Fantasy to Restore Faith in Reality.
Laurel’s Miracle is the type of story to hold a child spellbound; the type I loved to read.
Finding a miracle cure for her mother who is battling cancer is an impossible task for thirteen-year old Laurel from Alberta, Canada. This seems even more remote when her parents send her to stay with a family friend in Cornwall, UK. Laurel feels lonely and rejected. Time is running out, and without a miracle, Laurel is worried her mother might die before she gets to see her again.
Set in the rugged beauty of the Cornish countryside, rich in myth and legend, Laurel’s Miracle takes us on a magical journey. The scenery is so vivid, and the new relationships so fascinating, it is easy to imagine oneself walking with Laurel as part of her group and becoming immersed in her adventure.
Laurel has a plucky, endearing nature and the other characters, both young and old, are well rounded. All are caught in their own controversies which make them unique and interesting. With three young friends, who selflessly put their own problems aside for her sake, Laurel endeavours to solve the riddles she receives from the fairy-folk who guide her in her mission to find her miracle.
The relationship of this group of four children is Blytonesque, but Nancy Bell adds richness beyond Enid Blyton with the deeper layers of supernatural and magical themes. Laurel’s Miracle glows with the power of the Earth’s energy, or lay lines, Laurel follows in her quest, with an ease children can relate to.
Laurel’s Miracle is full of beautiful images: of the strange fairy folk, the Lady of the Lake, crystal horses and the labyrinth inside the Tor of Avalon. The touching sentiment of faith, hope, kindness and secrets revealed, reinforces the truth: there is magic in friendship.
January 3rd 2012