Charlene Costanzo,
The Thirteenth Gift
(Featherfew, 2011)

The Thirteenth Gift is a fairy-tale story lurking inside the frame of contemporary drama. The main message centers around the common human fascination with stones, and how they can become filled with meaning. Claire learns the tale of The Thirteenth Gift while away from home and fighting her way through various personal problems. After hearing the story, Claire returns to her life with a fighting chance at seeing things more clearly and finding her way back to happiness.

Charlene Costanzo's novella is a quick, well-written read. The best way to describe this book is as a portal for personal affirmation, like a comfort ritual or an angel-card reading. It takes very little time to get through the story, but The Thirteenth Gift also includes discussion questions and links to her website. The website for Costanzo's books includes music, stories from various and sundry readers who have taken these affirmations to heart, and teaching tools for anyone wishing to bring this tale to others. The option of spending only an hour to read the story, or the fairy-tale within the story, or as long as you like poking through Costanzo's other offerings, is a rare find.

The message this book sends is also about options, and being able to see the good possibilities in things wherever you are. It might not be a hit with everyone, but positive affirmations like The Thirteenth Gift are like picking up rocks: they don't take long and they don't go bad.

book review by
Whitney Mallenby

4 June 2011

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