Book Title: The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin
Author: Stephanie Knipper
Genres: Fiction, Magical Realism, Special Needs
Date Read: 07/15/16
Pub Date: 08/02/16
Sisters Rose and Lily Martin were inseparable when they were kids. As adults, they’ve been estranged for years, until circumstances force them to come together to protect Rose’s daughter. Ten-year-old Antoinette has a severe form of autism that requires constant care and attention. She has never spoken a word, but she has a powerful gift that others would give anything to harness: she can heal things with her touch. She brings wilted flowers back to life, makes a neighbor’s tremors disappear, changes the normal course of nature on the Kentucky flower farm where she and her mother live.
Antoinette’s gift, though, puts her own life in danger, as each healing comes with an increasingly deadly price. As Rose—the center of her daughter’s life—struggles with her own failing health, and Lily confronts her anguished past, they, and the men who love them, come to realize the sacrifices that must be made to keep this very special child safe.
Let me just start by saying I cherish my signed copy of this book, so much so that it sits on a special shelf with my most important books. I’m admitting fully and freely right here that I’m probably biased as a reader and reviewer of this book, as the subject is near and dear to my heart, but my hope is that this touching story reaches all the right people who need it as much as I did, and still do. Stephanie and I bonded over Facebook while discussing the parenting of special needs children and from that moment on I knew this book would be well needed by many. When she reached out to me, I was just on the tail end of walking through our own diagnosis process with our then 3 year old and still very tender and raw. This book couldn’t have come at a better time; as I read this fictional story my heart seemed to heal just the tiniest bit. I don’t want to turn this into a post all about ME ME ME, but I just felt the need to include how personal of an experience reading this book truly was.
I’m fairly new to the magical realism genre, so I don’t have many books to compare this with, although I’m not sure there is much I could compare it with at the time of this writing. If you read the premise above you can see just what a unique plot this is and I’m sure you can already sense the deep level of emotion portrayed within the pages. I found myself bawling from the dedication page on (which is written out to her daughter Grace, who this book is inspired by) and DEAR GOD I’m tearing up right now just remembering it! The plot is simultaneously heart breaking and hopeful with a side of feel good. The characters were a huge part of what made this story a winner; they each have their own traits that bring them to life. My absolute favorite aspect of the book was the relation of music and melodies to Antoinette, as she is non-verbal. The beauty in these entries sent me over the edge; as you can tell many tears were shed in the reading of this book but in the best way possible.
If you are a reader of books with all the feels,look no further; this is it baby! I apologize for sounding like a blubbering, choppy mess while reviewing this, but I just can’t seem to portray how special and truly powerful this book was. I am so thrilled to keep an eye out for what Stephanie Knipper decides to publish next; I would follow her writing wherever it takes me. If you have a child of any kind with special needs in your life, this is a wonderful example of a touching story told with class and taste galore. I applaud Mrs. Knipper for writing a book targeted to a community that is so fragile; it is so easy to unnecessarily offend someone with the smallest comment and she has delicately avoided that. If this seems your genre at all, I beg you to give this a try; your heart might never be the same after finishing it.
*I won a copy of this book via Facebook giveaway offered by the author. I was not required to write a review but it was a privilege to provide my honest thoughts.