Epiphany Mayall has a gift she doesn’t necessarily want, tries to hide, and can’t return. When you think about it, is that even a gift? When a young Epiphany reveals her gift to her parents, her father isn’t so supportive and urges her to keep it hidden. What could be beneficial to everyone around her and, ultimately, save lives winds up being a thorn in her side for most of her young life. As an adult with a son and granddaughter of her own, Epiphany becomes much less reluctant and refuses to hide the truth any longer. She knows now what she didn’t know as a child, the visions she experiences are much more than a gift.
Epiphany’s Gift, by Mallory O’Connor, takes readers on a journey of the mind as Epiphany learns to rein in her exceptional gift of visions. Epiphany is a well-drawn character with many facets to her life. She is a doting grandmother and loving mother who, like all mothers, questions her own decisions and how they impact her family. She is likable and gives readers someone to root for from the first vivid descriptions of her visions.
O’Connor masters the art of the eerie character with the Old Man. It isn’t often that a book gives me chills, but I have to admit that the initial encounter between Epiphany and the Old Man provides one of those moments. O’Connor simultaneously succeeds in giving readers an aha moment while showing the main character to be a strong one from a very early age. In addition, the incorporation of the Old Man into Epiphany’s adult dilemma is nothing short of brilliant.
Epiphany’s visions and feelings come and go in the most unique way. Reading about her premonitions is equivalent to watching them on-screen. Without giving away too much, I can say that O’Connor makes each of Epiphany’s “encounters” amazingly clear to readers. As the book plays out as a mystery, Epiphany uses these encounters to lead her to a resolution–truly unique and engaging.
One of my favorite aspects of O’Connor’s work is the writing style itself. O’Connor’s writing is clean, concise, and descriptive without being overly flowery. Her character descriptions are wonderfully memorable. Susan, Epiphany’s mother, is one of the standouts for me. She is a spry and lively woman in her 90s–I can see her in my mind’s eye now.
Readers who enjoy mysteries but appreciate a blend of nonfiction will find O’Connor’s work appealing. O’Connor proves herself to be powerful as a writer of suspense. There exists a certain amount of the old detective novels within Epiphany’s Gift, and I can see any fan of that genre becoming enamored with Epiphany and her amazing gift.C
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