Author: Zoe. M. McCarthy
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Amanda Larrowe's lack of trust sabotages her relationships. The English teacher and award-winning author of middle-grade adventure books for boys has shut off communication with friends and family to meet her January 2 book deadline. Now, in the deepest snow accumulation Richmond, Virginia, has experienced in years, Camden Lancaster moves in across the street. After ten years, her heart still smarts from the humiliating aftermath of their perfect high school Valentine's Day date. He may have transformed into a handsome, amiable man, but his likeability doesn't instill trust in Amanda's heart. When Cam doesn't recognize her on their first two encounters, she thinks it's safe to be his fair-weather neighbor. Boy is she wrong.
Reviewer: Patricia Ann Timbrook
These central elements, as well as multiple subcategories, lay the foundation in this boy-girl restored relationship. From page 1, to its ending on page 159, Gift of the Magpie, offers its readers a “feel good, cozy-up-by-the-fire” story. It also offers its readers a message of hope and trust in God through Amanda’s prayers and actions, which results in her hope and trust in Cam.
Writing from a Christian perspective, author McCarthy, helps readers to enter a world of a wholesome and godly relationship between a young woman and a young man. The story stands strong enough as “Christian” through the descriptive character building, that bible verses are unnecessary. Perhaps more of them might have been introduced early on, and used to fortify all of the book’s characters. Even though they have been “dropped in” at certain points throughout the chapters, like scattering seeds in a large and flourishing field, still, the story commanded my attention. She parodied Amanda and Cam as likeable, forgiving, and caring; while, simultaneously, as their being human, and making and correcting mistakes. Teen girls, and, perhaps, occasionally, some teen boys, will enjoy reading about the ups and downs of the creative writing life, and, the ins and outs of a professional photographer.
But, what about that word ‘Magpie’ in the title? At first, I wondered if it had anything to do with magpie, the bird, that is hailed as the most intelligent of all bird species, and, that hides its treasures for safekeeping. I found no reference to a bird in the story; however, some parallels, though stretched, of course, could be made: i.e. Amanda’s Grandfather, whose treasure had been hidden in the attic of the house where Amanda was staying. But, without giving away the author’s surprise meaning to the title, like me, any reader will delight in finding out what a Gift of the Magpie is—and what it means.”