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.
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.
I really enjoyed the unusual, diverse story line in this book. In our interview the author shared it was inspired by, "How we look at life and our beliefs about it greatly affect the kind of lives we live."
First we are introduced to Loreena, a young woman with a unique ability. By holding a person's hand, she personally escorts them to their after life. Her uncle, a minister, feels this gift is meant to be used to help those in his congregation that are suffering and near death. But there is a personal lure that makes this appealing to Loreena. She lost her sight when young and as she escorts those to their personal afterlife, the blindness drops away.
What a joy to see again, and the experiences are pleasant. The problem is, it gets harder each time to return to the present - to step back into her blindness. Deep down she also questions whether this is really a gift. She has to wear gloves at all times to protect those around her and she lives in fear of accidentally taking someone's life - something that happened when her gift first appeared.
The story line then moves into a tale of love, intrigue, fear and philosophy. Loreena comes to the attention of a local drug dealer who, against her will, uses her to eliminate unwelcome rivals. This opens the door to the idea that people who embrace evil lives face a very different after life from those she's seen before. Evil actions in life lead to a dark eternity. Can she find a way to escape and will she be able to leave the terrible memories of what she experienced behind?
I truly enjoyed the depth offered in Loreena's Gift. The idea of an afterlife defined by our current life, the battle of good versus evil and love are all intertwined into a great read.
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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.
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