In Szondy’s debut Christian novel, a young girl cures a paralyzed friend and then performs other divine miracles in an idyllic American town, changing people’s lives.
Sara Hopkins, an 8-year old girl, prays beside a lake to bring a sparrow back to life. Later, she insists to friends and family that she saw Jesus, and that it was the power of faith that resurrected the bird. She then heals her wheelchair-bound friend, Mark, and then performs several other miracles. Soon, the resulting media attention threatens to overwhelm her quiet all-American family and its bucolic lifestyle. Her astonishing deeds also garner the interest of two priests, who contemplate her candidacy for sainthood. Meanwhile, a doctor diagnoses Sara with a brain tumor that, he suggests, could have caused her to hallucinate her vision of Jesus. As the girl awaits a life-or-death operation, her grandfather Sam, her brother Danny, and the families of those that she cured go to the lake. Their experience there inspires them to go to the hospital, where the kids in the group steal a car to take Sara back to the lake with them. This well-constructed, if syrupy, novel flows well, but its quirks may mar readers’ enjoyment. In particular, inopportune mentions of brand names, perhaps intended to add realism, instead distract; for example, one person views a TV report on an “I-pad” and Sara’s father is described as “shaking in his Nikes” at the prospect of losing his daughter. Overall, this tale, titled after a biblical reference, will certainly reaffirm the beliefs of pious Christians, who may find solace in it as they wrestle with their own doubts and questions about faith. More worldly readers, though, may find its folksy style too simplistic to suspend their disbelief.
A sentimental parable about how a young girl’s miracles arise from the power of her faith alone.