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Sep 18th

The Forgotten Spirit by Evie Rhodes

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"The Forgotten Spirit" by Evie Rhodes

In every child's life, the inevitable has to happen: don't get what they want for Christmas.
For some kids, that happens early-on, and the child learns that asking doesn't mean getting. Other kids, though, no matter how much they're beat down, they keep hoping and dreaming.
In every child's life, the inevitable has to happen: don't get what they want for Christmas.

For some kids, that happens early-on, and the child learns that asking doesn't mean getting. Other kids, though, no matter how much they're beat down, they keep hoping and dreaming.

Little Jamie Lynne Brooks has a big dream for Christmas, and although most people tell her she's not going to be getting her wish, she still believes. In the new novel, "The Forgotten Spirit" by Evie Rhodes, it looks like everybody's little angel has angels of her own.

Christmas is coming in the city of Hartford, and there's just one thing Jamie Brooks wants: she wants her mom to come home for good. Jamie's mother, Cynthia, is in prison for writing bad checks, and it doesn't look like she's going to be released in time to see her daughter open her gifts.

But Jamie holds hope. Not willing to break the child's heart any more, everyone tells Jamie that her mother won't be home, but Jamie refuses to listen. That's because her great-grandmother, Hattie, told Jamie that everything is possible if you just trust Jesus. Jamie holds these words in her soul.

On the Christmas Eve morning, the entire Brooks family (minus Cynthia) gather for their traditional pre-Christmas breakfast. Aunt Beatrice is there, wishing she had a drink in her hand. Beatrice's five children are in attendance: Sharese, high-powered and stressed, the "responsible" one who hates herself; Dwayne, who lives a double life; the twins George and Georgette who worship at an altar of darkness; and G-Tang, the youngest and most spoiled of Beatrice's children and the one with a serious drug problem.

At this breakfast, Jamie showers her love on her family and shares her trust in Jesus as she dreams of her mother's homecoming. And as Jamie brings blessings on her family, angels watch over her because they, too, know she's special.

And it will take special blessings on a Christmas night to put faith back into the Brooks family and all of Hartford.

At least I think that's what happens. "The Forgotten Spirit" is such a mishmash of ideas and story threads that it's very hard to know for sure.

The premise of this book is good: a little girl brings joy to her family as she shows her faith and prays for a special Christmas wish. That part is plain to see in this well-meaning book. The problem is, the rest of the story is scattered like buckshot, laden with metaphors that don't always make sense and filled with some very clichéd characters and a few that don't seem to belong in the story. Add in author Evie Rhodes' heavy-handed preaching and you have a story that waffles between Hallmark card, ecclesiastical treatise, and rough, un-fleshed story outline.

If you don't mind the strange allegories and the plot-line goulash, then by all means, read "The Forgotten Spirit". If you're looking for an easy-to-follow, fluffy, feel-good holiday story, though, this one might be best forgotten.

"The Forgotten Spirit" by Evie Rhodes
c.2007, Kensington $14.00 / $17.50 Canada 224 pages



 

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