Michaela’s Gift by Cordelia Dinsmore
[Goodreads | Amazon]
Michaela Cochran still believes in enchanted mountains and fairytale castles, but her happily-ever-after will never happen if she can’t convince her mother to accept the magical gift Michaela has inherited.
Michaela Cochran and her family make the trip to her father’s ancestral home every year, but this year is special. Michaela is now twelve, the age when every girl in the family receives a special gift. When Aunt Sharon explains that Michaela’s gift is a magical ability to bring one of her drawings to life, Michaela begins making plans. What she wants most is a castle high on the mountain, where her family can live together. But if she can’t figure out how to resolve the growing hostility between herself and her mother, her gift is meaningless.
As a fan of middle-grade novels, I am always pretty excited when an author of one contacts me about a possible review. My interest in Michaela’s Gift was piqued when I read the summary; I adore books with magical elements, and a special gift that is passed down to the girls in a particular family sounded pretty awesome. I’m happy to say that the book didn’t disappoint. Michaela’s Gift is a solid book, which – while including some definite supernatural elements – is mostly focused on a girl’s search for her place in the world and trying to reconcile with a mother she doesn’t understand.
This book is basically a family drama; Michaela and her family travel to her grandparents’ home, where Michaela is promised a special gift that is passed down when the girls in the family turn twelve. There is quite a bit of strife between Michaela and her mother, and we get lots of introspection as Michaela tries to figure out why her mother is so angry all the time. Throw in her artistic aunt, who her mom really seems to have issues with, and the main plot of the story is basically set. Surprisingly, though, the book wasn’t tedious in the slightest; it’s written in a way that moves everything along nicely and never gets bogged down with too much personal drama. Michaela was perhaps a bit too “old” in the way she talked, considering that she’s only twelve, but I was willing to overlook that because the story itself was written in a way that was compelling and interesting. Once the magical elements were introduced – and I absolutely loved the story of the family’s background and how the gift came into existence – the book really picked up and I basically read it straight through without stopping.
I also want to mention how well the setting was described; the places on the mountain were written in a way that made them easy for the reader to see in their minds. I would have loved to see the fruit tree, the pond, and the cave with the swimming pool! There was quite a bit of creativity that went into developing the setting for the story, and it definitely helped keep the reader engaged.
Michaela’s Gift is a very quick read with a main character you wanted to root for from beginning to end. If you like creative and unique magic, and don’t mind the general simplicity found in middle-grade novels, then you’d most likely enjoy this story. While I didn’t walk away from it absolutely blown away, it was certainly a nice way to spend a couple of hours, and I’m glad I got to take a trip to Michaela’s world.
A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you so much, Merin, for reading my book and having such nice things to say about it. I appreciate it. Hope you have a fabulous new year!
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