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    A Story of Intrigue for Young Adults and Adults

    Book 2 in the Healer series, Shards of Light, opens where events left off in the first book after teen Shilo discovered she has the spiritual power of healing. That story ended with a sojourn to Italy to visit her great grandmother, who also possessed the power to heal, but lost it. In Shards of Light, Shilo arrives in Sicily and continues her spiritual and physical journey. Too many series titles rely heavily upon one another for background and fluidity of plot, but one of the pleasures of Shards of Light is its ability to stand alone as a complete novel unto itself. Knowledge of background events aren't a prerequisite for the complete enjoyment of Shilo's story. Another strength lies in its ability to cultivate intrigue right from the start, presenting Ricardo's plot to kidnap the young girls who were stolen from his brothel business by nuns. This would seem a rather mature subject for teen audiences, but Shards of Light will reach advanced teens to new adults and doesn't skimp on either describing deadly power plays or explaining the dark thinking behind them. These elements successfully create a 'crossover' title that will appeal as much to adult as to young adult audiences as Shilo's foray into Italian culture presents a dangerous opportunity for healing in a new fashion. Under another hand, Shards of Light could all too easily have become a murder mystery or a novel of intrigue alone; but there's a larger purpose at work here, and romance enters into an already-complex equation to introduce Shilo not just to her newfound abilities, but her heart. Broken shards are everywhere: in dreams, shattered trophies and lives, and even in the compassion that hurts as much as it heals. As Shilo learns different facets of healing on many levels, she explores not only her gift and its legacy, but also the darker forces at work in life and learns to field a host of special challenges as she grows not just healing powers, but better understanding. Another plus is that this story is narrated through different perspectives: injured ballet dancer Melody whose parents are pursuing financial compensation, and Shilo, who knows her gift is "all God" but doesn't quite understand the role she plays in disseminating it. With its different characters and their special focuses and its gentle exploration of a young woman's life and talents in flux, Shards of Light is a beautifully evocative story that stands well alone while enhancing a series. It invites readers to reflect long after Shilo's journey through faith and secrets comes to an end.
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