by Nancy Schoellkopf
Butterfly Tree Publishing
Unlike their black-billed cousins, yellow-billed magpies are rarely found outside California’s central valley. So when they begin showing up in Samantha O’Malley’s dreams, she wonders: are they calling me home?
Disappointed by failed fertility treatments and the break-up of her marriage, Samantha returns to her home town and slips into old habits, resuming her teaching career, even hooking up with an old lover. But she also renews her friendship with Craig, the school custodian she honors as her spiritual guide. The work they do together with Samantha’s special education students will lead her to discoveries she never thought possible.
Yellow-billed Magpie is a love story, a spiritual journey, a quest to look beyond appearances to the mystical rhythms that guide the human heart.
This is a heart-warming dive into a woman's search for her place in life and learning to trust in what she can do.
After a break-up of her marriage, Samantha returns to her home town and re-enters her career as a teacher for special education students. Here, she rediscovers herself and her heart.
This was a step away from my normal reading comfort zone, and although I wasn't sure it'd be for me, I enjoyed entering Sam's world. Spirituality is key as Samantha turns her life away from her earlier goals and ideals, and tries to find her footing as a single teacher again. Some of this appears in her dreams as she finds herself as different animals and always watching a yellow-billed magpie. These dream passages are very short and sparse but poetic and lovely like a small treat.
Although there are romantic elements in the pages, the scenes center more on Samantha and the experiences she has with her students and their parents. There's a lot of love, patience and care radiating through the gentle and well laid out exchanges between her and these kids. It's easy to love her classroom as much as she does, and her pure way of handling situations is simply inspiring. It's clear that the author knows exactly where this character is coming from and has a true understanding of the circumstances Sam is up against.
Despite the more serious message, much of the read passes quickly and has a light feel. The banter between Samantha and Craig add a nice bit of humor, and many of the relationships that develop between Samantha, her students and their parents leave a thoughtful smile on the face.
I'm looking forward to seeing where this series goes next.
And here she is. . .
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