I have always connected to the world through books. I learned to read when I was five, and the love affair just continued from there. Some books have stayed with me through the years and I refer to them time and time again, but every book I’ve ever read has become part of the fabric of who I am.
A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of reading an unpublished manuscript for the novel On Little Wings by Regina Sirois. I knew as I read it that it would become one of those books that would stay with me. From the first page, I was sucked into the story by the beautiful writing. A piece of literary fiction for the national young adult market, it takes simple events and makes them extraordinary through intelligent, remarkable word choice and perspective.
Our main character is Jennifer, a teenage girl who learns that her mother has been keeping a secret—she has family living in Maine, despite years of telling Jennifer she has no relatives. The pain of the discovery is greater than it should be—her mother seems absolutely wracked with grief when the truth comes out, making Jennifer wonder why. Why didn’t her mother want her to know she had family? Why did she run away from them? Why is she so upset that Jennifer now knows? And why won’t she let Jennifer contact them or have anything to do with them?
Jennifer feels that the rifts that have existed in her family cannot be healed until she gets to the source—her mother’s childhood. Against her parents’ wishes, she travels to Maine to visit this newly discovered family, and embarks on a journey of self-discovery as well.
At the time I read the manuscript, I was absolutely convinced that it should have a place on the bookshelf alongside other great literary fiction titles such as Peace Like a River by Leif Enger and Light on Snow by Anita Shreve. Unfortunately, this book’s publication was delayed for a while. I cheered when I learned it was finally to be released this last fall—it was a long time coming, far longer than it should have been, but every great book has a story of its own, one of how it came into being, and this one is no different. The path may have been long and winding, but the book is here now, and it has created far-reaching ripples in the writing community. The quality of the writing is something we simply don’t see from most new authors. I could tell as I read that the writer weighed each word carefully. She didn’t rush through the story pell-mell—she carefully allowed the story to unfold, page by page, with a gentle, artistic touch. I congratulate the author on staying the course, for following her dream, and for understanding that the best stories are not forced—they are born.
Or ... you could enter to win a free copy ...
All you need to do is the following:
1. Visit Regina's website and then send me the answers to the following questions (hint: read the about the author page):
a) Where does Regina live?
b) She cried the first time she ... what?
c) Regina Sirois holds nothing back as she dares to make us ... what?
That's it! You will be entered to win a hard copy of On Little Wings. I must receive all entries by midnight Mountain time on February 18th, this Saturday. Winners will be chosen by Random.org and notified by e-mail.