A Catholic Fairy And A Surf Star Feature In "A Hidden Miracle", A Middle-Grade Fantasy For Girls
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” I was reminded of these words spoken by Hamlet when I read a new Catholic middle-grade fantasy novel for girls. Gerilyn Herold’s first book, A Hidden Miracle, is full of fun stuff girls like: tiny, pretty fairies gathering dew drops in the Red Wood Forest, aerial gymnastics, surf stars, and a little romance. However, there is more. The little fairies have a sacred and dangerous task. They deliver miracles to humans in need. Fallen fairies turned demons have their own mission, to intercept the deliveries. The protagonist of this story, Gabriella, must summon all her heroic courage to deliver her hidden miracle.
Gerilyn Herold peeks under the veil covering the invisible realm of spiritual beings, imagining a people of helpers to the angels, the Chrysalee Fairies. These winged miniature beings live sacramental Catholic lives in California’s Red Wood Forest. They have elders, priests, confessors, a knightly order and a wise code of conduct which is sometimes hard to follow, especially for spirited 14-year-old Gabriella. She is in love with Tours, a recent initiate to the White Ray Knights.
Every morning, the Chrysalee gather dew drops which jell in their hands, making them portable. The drops are containers of grace, some designated to a specific human in need of a particular kind of grace. Some dew drops bring courage, some healing, and some transmit miracles. The Chrysalee have the power to switch between a visible or an invisible state.. They can also appear as butterflies or in human form. The Scabulens, bad fallen fairies, have the same powers.
Gabriella and Tours deliver a miracle dew drop to surf star Jaden Marino who is suffering from leukemia. It is only later that Gabriella discovers the miracle has been rejected by Jaden’s demon-beleaguered spirit. Rather than following the community rules and delivering the rejected dew drop to the Chrysalee library, Gabriella hides the miracle, determined to attempt redelivery.
The forbidden redelivery exposes Gabriella to physical and spiritual dangers. She is aware of her sin of disobedience but feels that Jaden Marino’s soul is worth breaking the rules for. Jaden’s spirit has come almost completely under the influence of the bad fairies. They have infused him with vices which manifest themselves as flashes of blue-black light emerging from the surfer’s chest. The black light has almost extinguished the golden light of virtue. Gabriella bravely exposes herself to the physical danger of the black flashes which have the power to burn her body. The leader of the Scabulens, Roger, “the Rage”, often appears in human form as a black-leather clad thug. He is aware of Gabriella’s guilty conscience and tempts her to join the dark fairies: “The dark side is fun. You are as defiant as I am. The essence of evil.”(p.29)
Satan likes to tempt us with the promise of the easy life of irresponsible pleasure, while at the same time pointing out our sins to us to tempt us to despair. The author has the dark faeries use this strategy on Gabriella to make teen readers aware of temptations they may encounter in their own lives. Herold also points out the most potent antidote to evil, the Eucharist. The physical and spiritual injuries suffered by the faeries are alleviated by the Eucharist which the fairies properly receive after confession. It is wonderful to find such insightful catechesis in a book about faeries.
The colorful characters in this novel include Kris, a five-year-old cancer patient, who has the gift of seeing the faeries, even in their invisible form. Kris’s brave cheerfulness brings out the good in Jaden. Whenever the star surfer helps his friend Kris, Jaden emits the golden light of virtue.
Another noteworthy character is Phillip, a gifted but nerdy Chrysalee drummer. Phillip is assigned to Gabriella’s as her delivery partner, much to her chagrin. Working out their differences during dangerous missions teaches both teens tolerance for each other’s shortcomings and appreciation of each other’s strengths.
The spirit of Gabriella’s deceased father, who was a White Ray Knight, comes to his daughter’s rescue in desperate situations. A positive father-daughter relationship is so important for teens to read about in a time when fathers in their role as protector are often ridiculed.
Gabriella undergoes a considerable learning curve in this action-packed story. We accompany her battling her demons which are not only real but visible. She takes responsibility for her major sin of disobedience and comes to accept the consequences. In her attempt to redeliver the hidden miracle, she also grows in empathy for her awkward partner Phillip and even for the stern Elder Maximilian.
A Hidden Miracle provides valuable spiritual lessons in an entertaining story. I have some concerns about the Eucharistic protocol in the story which I believe should be correct, even in a fictional setting. It might be a good idea to submit the next story to a priest to check theological issues. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to Gerilyn Herold’s next book.