Twelve-year old Ophelia recounts her journey from rags to riches to regret, set in motion by a serendipitous encounter with Samantha Raider over a violin. Sam, a strong-willed, talented seventeen-year-old dancer, seeks to break out of the bubble of privilege she has been trapped in since her mother was murdered and her father retreated into solitude.
She devises a plan to connect with others through generosity, relinquishing treasured items at a yard sale in exchange for the right to visit the objects at any time. As Ophelia’s mother and Sam’s father fall in love, Sam tangles herself in a web of danger stretching from Ophelia’s Bronx, New York neighborhood to the heart of the Darfurian genocide. After discovering she is armed with a unique weapon, Sam finds herself pitted against her mother’s killer and an entire army people who supports the genocide in Darfur, Africa.
Jeffrey Clay Johnston, born October 9, 1950, Detroit, Michigan. Jeff's family drove out Route 66 to California in 1959 in a Plymouth station wagon they located in Garden Grove until 1963 when his parents divorced. Jeff's 13th birthday was spent on a move back to Michigan with his mother, three brothers and the clothes on their back in a Greyhound bus no less. Jeff graduated from Walled Lake Sr High School in 1968 and enlisted in the US Marine Corps in 1969-71. His family moved to Arizona in 1969 and when he got out of the corps he went to Phoenix where his home would be for the next 9 years. Jeff received an AA degree from Phoenix College in 1976.
Jeff and brother Chuck took a year to backpack all over the USA and wound up in Alaska. Jeff built homes with a contractor and Chuck crewed on a salmon boat. The backpack travel continued for Jeff in Europe and Africa. Then it was back to college in Phoenix, graduating from Southwestern College with a BA in pastoral theology 1982.
Jeff married Lorraine in 1977 and they have two girls Lindsey and Aubrey. Jeff enlisted in the Army in 1986 as an airborne infantryman and served in Germany with the 51st infantry LRS until 1989 and after discharge moved to Washington state and built a home for the family.
Once again, Jeff felt the call of duty and joined the Army Reserve and became a drill sergeant for six years finally discharged in 2006. Jeff got his private pilots license in 2005 and enjoys flying his Cherokee 160, playing golf, and drums. Jeff satisfies his creative side with drawing and painting and writing.
I received the book from the author for an honest review.
This was such a touching story that I cannot help but be impressed with the author’s writing.
This is a coming-of-age book with much more substance than the average read in this genre. It is a book that has all the elements of self-discovery at that age, and where you fit in; as well as the decisions we make during dramatic adjustments in our lives—that has a huge impact in us, and what we, as human beings, can do for our fellow citizens of the world with what we have if we are willing to look deeper and conquer our own fears. We can never underestimate the influence we have in the simple act of giving. The way the author highlights it just gives it more substance.
The book can be divided in two parts: part one is where we meet all the characters in a normal every day setting with a young woman that has the desire to play music, and the other to do good for those she meets; becoming an integral part of people’s lives as she touches and helps people.
Part two is more dramatic: with a definite shift after a violent and tragic act. We see how these two young women’s lives are shuttered due to this action and their wish to find recompense in a world that didn’t make sense. Their bravery and courage just touches your heart.
Both Ophelia and Sam had to do that was best for them. Both were strong in their individual roles. But, the young woman, Sam, impressed me so much more. Her maturity and wisdom throughout the book just fascinated me; giving advice in very difficult situations and standing up for what she believed in. You can never doubt that this woman was destined to become a great ambassador and leader for people and nations. Her drive and her willingness to do what is best are truly remarkable.
The supporting characters were also interesting, since the topic was about corruption in countries and how the western world exploits this for their own greed. Each played a valuable role within the story, and it was interesting how they all meet in the beginning to really be a supporting structure for Sam and Ophelia at the end.
Truly a great book that I enjoyed entirely; it was such an easy and quick read that I couldn’t believe that I have reached the end of the book so quickly, and might I add: with a cliffhanger…my word. Please tell me there will be a follow up.
Goodreads: TBR list