This particular novel is undeniably best read around Christmas and I was lucky that it landed in my hands around that specific time. The main character is Samantha, a teenage girl who experiences pain and frustration because of problems at home with her parents and especially with her dad. When she falls pregnant, she leaves home to avoid the anticipated severity of her father’s wrath. What follows is what is usually portrayed in all our favorite Christmas stories: a delightful Christmas miracle. Nikki Anne Schmutz tells her heart-warming story of lost hope and redeemed love with the utmost sensitivity and wonder, as if it has been wholly seen through the eyes of an innocent child. There is absolutely no ugliness in this story, despite the many hardships that Samantha faces while living on the streets until she is rescued by the kindness of strangers. What’s more, the streak of astounding serendipity that brings her to their door involves nothing short of a miracle from God. Instead of describing in detail Samantha’s bleak problems before she is rescued, the author rather seems to concentrate on the new lessons that Samantha learns as she watches her life slowly transform before her eyes. This magical tale of pain and joy, loss and retrieval, unfolds smoothly and effortlessly. It takes form like a jigsaw puzzle in the hands of an experienced user who knows as if by instinct what goes where and precisely in which order. One of the things that the reader will readily observe is that the author has quite a strong faith in God. Nikki Anne Schmutz highlights the book with her Christian beliefs to the point that perhaps she renders it unusable to anyone who wouldn’t be in agreement. Faith in God is the backbone of this story and so, I think it will appeal best to people who would agree that indeed, there is a great power that connects us all and sees to our comfort and guidance. Believers will find this book extremely inspiring. It is peppered with pearls of wisdom and I expect that it will also provide a good measure of solace to any people facing similar circumstances in their lives. The characters are all believable and in particular, I found the kindly priest’s wife, Marion, to be such a lifelike character that I still have trouble picturing her in my mind without thinking of my dear mother-in-law who is a minister’s widow. The way Marion speaks, her quiet and peaceful manner and even the love that she conveys with her words and actions render her quite realistic and very familiar to me. The story comes to a satisfying end with its main characters altered in many ways, some of them more than others but by the end, they all share the same realization: that if only we allow the hand of the Devine to touch our hearts, miracles will start to happen that will change our lives forever. If this is not a Christmas message, I don’t know what is! “Found” is a reminder that prayer can change lives and that when all hope seems lost, this is the time to expect the most important changes in and around us. Sometimes, the greatest problems that we face are blessings in disguise, things that without them, we’d never evolve or heal. I believe that this is the essence of this book and for this reason, in a nutshell, I class it as the perfect Christmas read.
MY RATING: FIVE STARS – FANTASTIC!