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“The Stone Children” 
by René Donovan

The Stone Children opens at the end of World War ll in Germany. Uriel, a young soldier among those liberating Buchenwald Concentration Camp, sees not only the horrors but also sees images of butterflies, the symbol of transformation, drawn on the floors and walls of thebarracks by children who had been imprisoned there. He learns that these images are in every camp and is deeply affected.
 
When the war in the Pacific ends Uriel returns to his Cape Cod village, marries his childhood sweetheart Marra and begins his career as a children’s book illustrator. Their home is filled with love but Uriel’s nights are tortured by nightmares of the horrors he witnessed at Buchenwald. Marra, a sculptor, also begins to dream. She dreams of eggs. She dreams of children: Eggs, at first. Her dreams swam with the images of smooth-shelled eggs: brown, white, blue, speckled. From deep within the eggs came songs as if their interiors held choirs. She felt the sound in her belly like something growing inside her, something that wanted to be born into the world.
 
A force had entered Uriel at Buchenwald, a something that wants to be known. It wants to communicate through him and Marra, guiding their art and bearing a healing message for all humanity. It wants to prepare the world for the children to come, the Lumins, the compassionate children who had died in the Holocaust. This story takes the reader from World War ll through all the years that followed up to the infamous morning of September 11, 2001. Intertwined amid the turmoil and confusion of those years are wonders and changes that raise humanity’s awareness. “There is a noble fragment within us, a kind of beginning, a small secret...coiled love in fluid stone.”
 
 

A peek at the beginning of The Stone Children


 

 

 Chapter One

 

We wove a web in childhood,

 A web of sunny air.

 Charlotte Brontë—

 

 There have been some among us who lived in life’s Mystery.  They walked softly over the land, spoke with nature’s creatures, bathed in raindrops and glided through the ocean at deep night.  Our world is replete with miracles, possibly offered to everyone, but few allow themselves to go to the edge and leap into that Mystery.

      Long ago there was a family living on Cape Cod that traveled to the edge and stepped through the mundane to live in wonder.  One moment in time at the end of World War II at humankind’s darkest hours, Uriel, a member of that family touched the Mystery.

      Uriel once quoted Edgar Allan Poe’s lines of poetry as he stood with his wife Emmarra by the sea’s edge.  That was when they were well along in years, when their hair was as white as the marble Emmarra's hands had sculpted and caressed for over half a century:

                           I was a child and she was a child,

                           In this kingdom by the sea,

                          But we loved with a love that was more than love... 

     For that was their world—a kingdom by the sea, colored in enchantment.  Unless you’ve lived long ago in a quiet Cape Cod village of low, rolling hills and dunes by the ocean you can only imagine what that had been like.

     This story comes through the mysterious mists in that place by the sea.  Perhaps the mists open only once every hundred years.  It doesn’t happen often and when it does those involved can never again lead ordinary lives.  When the mists part to allow one in they also part the very fabric of existence.  There are places and events on this good earth that defy logic but nonetheless hold truth.  The images sent to earth from the space telescope show us star-nurseries where star-seeds are born in a myriad of phantasmagoric colors.  Like trying to comprehend the incredibility of star-nurseries, the story I’m about to tell must be read with open wonderment.

     The family home of Theo and Jolanda Van Dyke and their daughter Emmarra, once a small Cape cottage, had been added onto over the years creating a rambling affair, charming with its hidden corners, hideaways, narrow stairways and flickers of lights and shadows.  The casement windows, during the summer months, were always open to the breeze and the wavering triangle panes of leaded glass glittered in the sunlight. Their royal blue frames stood out against the silver-gray of the shingles, burnished by years of wind, sun and salt

     A two-story barn sat across the meadow, enclosed on three sides by towering maple trees.  A foot-worn, shadowed path led from the edge of the meadow, through the woods and opened to the sea.  By the water’s edge was the gazebo, where Uriel and Emmarra, since childhood, came to picnic and to dream.  As children they would lunch on strawberries, raspberries and sandwiches their mothers had packed in a wicker basket but as adults, as lovers, as mates they came here with other delicacies packed into the old basket: wine and crystal glasses, fresh, plump, warm tomatoes, lobster sandwiches and blueberry turnovers with crusts so tender one need hardly chew and only had to let the flavors rest upon the palate.

     Emmarra met her mate when she was a wee child and he but an infant.  She walked through the woods with her mother to the nearest neighbor’s house.  Lucile Mattis had recently given birth to her only child, a son named Uriel—such a strange, ponderous name for that dark, violet-eyed infant.  Uriel means “keeper of the sacred wisdom” and Emmarra knew, though only a child, that she would always be linked with this boy who gazed wisely at her from his nest in the cradle and seemed to communicate silently.

     “You’ve come to see my little cub?” his mother asked, drawing aside the blankets and lifting him for them to see.

     Emmarra reached out to him, mesmerized, and as her fingers came to his little hand, he grasped her and gurgled, kicking his fat legs.  “Uriel,” she whispered, testing his name on her tongue.

     They were constant companions as they grew and it was charming  for those who saw them together.  He was dark, quick as a sprite and she was fair and mystical as a faerie.  They grew amid seasons and gardens, two together, two apart from the ordinary world.  They grew with the sea in their veins.

      As each matured, they found that no other could ever be their life’s companion.  They had bonded that first morning with their first touch, a bond that would tie them together until each leaves this world and it must be that they will remain companions beyond this life, for such was their devotion.

      In 1933, when she was thirteen and he ten, rumors began to circulate about Germany’s newly appointed Reich Chancellor Adolph Hitler.  A new word began to be heard on the radio as the year passed.  Her parents would listen at night as her mother mended clothes or made notes for her manuscripts and her father corrected students’ papers.  Nazi.  What a strange and frightening word, Emmarra thought, observing her parents’ reactions to the voices from the radio.

     It was the three years difference in age that caused the frequent, though temporary separations as Emmarra and Uriel grew.  They became lovers as the sun began to set on the night before she left home for New York College of Art.  They walked along the path through the woods leading to the gazebo open to the sea and stars where they made love and cried tears.  They spoke their first vows and lay in each other’s arms, sated and dazed that such emotions could be experienced without combusting with the heat.  They had laughed then, and remembered always, that when rising from the love-nest of blankets and towels they saw the seals from the rocks gazing at them with dark, soulful eyes as if they understood.

     The financial burden of her education on her parents was compounded by the Great Depression that had hit the nation.  Emmarra observed her parents’ frantic, long-distance calls overseas and the packages and money sent to pay passage for escape for friends living in the countries in which, by 1938 other words began to circulate: Aryanization, concentration camps, extermination, Buchenwald, Kristallnacht.

     She returned to New York for her junior year as Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, and the Second World War began.  Uriel feared that the United States would soon enter the war and he’d be sent off to fight when all he wanted out of life was his Emmarra and to enter art school the following year.  He was in his sophomore year of college when the terrible news came on December 7, 1941, that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States had joined the USSR and Britain in the war against the Axis Powers.

     Emmarra graduated in 1941 and worked in an art supply house to finance two additional years of school to study sculpting.  Uriel graduated in 1944 and, by that time, felt it was his duty to fight against the tyranny that threatened the world.  He left, just after D-Day with the allied invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe, to join the thousands of Americans who’d already gone to war.  At the end of the war, in April of 1945 he was among the troops to liberate Buchenwald.  On April 30, Hitler committed suicide in a bunker in Berlin and Germany surrendered on May 2.

     But the war in the Pacific continued.  A new power was unleashed on August 6, 1945, an event that would forever change the world.  The first atomic weapon was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, killing approximately 130,000 to 150,000 in the first year.  Three days later a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki where 70,000 people, by the end of 1945, were estimated to have been killed.  Witnesses who lived through the devastation reported that the heat of the explosion could be felt twenty miles away from ground zero.  The radiation level in the mushroom cloud was so intense that it emitted a blue glow.  Some said the military had feared the fierce weapon may set the entire globe aflame.  Robert Oppenheimer, an American theoretical physicist was sometimes called the “father of the atomic bomb” because of his role in the Manhattan Project.  After the detonation of the bomb he recalled the words in the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

     Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s surrender on August 15, 1945.  The Second World War was over but the Cold War had begun and the nightmare threat of atomic weapons will haunt the generations to come.

     War had aged Uriel.  His dark violet eyes were ancient.  There was a deep silence that clung to him and the playful child in him seemed to have vanished.  The day he came back to his ocean he came back to Emmarra and she flung herself into his arms while her parents smiled in satisfaction, nodding their heads as if to say, “Of course...they were destined to be together.”  A year later, in 1946, they wed in the same gazebo by the sea where they had become lovers, her white veil flying like a flag in the June breezes as they promised forever and forever.

     Uriel’s mother, who had waited for his return from war, was not physically present at the wedding but her spirit seemed to hover around her son.  Lucile Mattis had drowned just after the war ended, just before Uriel had come home to Cape Cod.  One morning she left the sandy shore for the last time.  She had been a strong and confident swimmer and would delight in her solitary mornings in the sea.  No one could understand the tragedy.  Her body was never recovered and Uriel’s grief from the war was compounded.  When he swam in the sea he imagined that she lived there, is some secret crevice in the undersea world where she swam with dolphins.

     The newlyweds moved into an apartment her parents had built for them in the loft of the barn.  Here his days belonged to her and his painting, but his nights belonged to his grief and the nightmares of the death camp where his innocent eyes had witnessed things no living being should endure and no eyes should behold.

     “Oh, God…don’t look…it can’t be…”

     When Uriel’s voice penetrated Emmarra’s sleep, she reached for him, wrapping her body around his, as if by doing so she would be able to find his mind, his memories and kiss them clean.  With her cheek pressed to his, she felt his tears and she crooned his name.  “Uriel, Uriel, Uriel, tell me, tell me, you’ve got to tell me.”

     No words came while he wept hard, deep, wrenching sobs that caused him to lose his breath until he gasped in spasms.  Finally his muffled voice came to her in the humid room. “I can't.”  He hit his forehead with his fist.  “I want it out.  I don’t want to remember, don’t want to see it.”

     She turned his face so that he had to look at her.  “You must,” she said, her hands on his wet cheeks, “or you'll never find peace.  Let me help you find peace.”

     Moths hit against the outside of the window screens and the foghorn moaned as she ran her hands over his back.  After a long time it began: whispers of darkness, things that must be told quietly in the shadows, things that fear the light.

     “Marra, the children.  Oh, God!  Like garbage piled up in monstrous heaps... hundreds, thousands.”  And once the words began they flowed like a current of black pain.  “How could this happen?” he asked like a puzzled child.  “How?  How?  How?”

     He reared back from her and a wail escaped from his throat melding with the low dirge of the foghorn in the night.  It was a sound she would never forget, just as he would never forget the hell he had witnessed as a soldier walking into Hitler’s death camp to liberate those who’d been left behind on April 11, 1945.  April—a month of birth and beauty but that April was the time of the darkest hour when the uncomprehending world began to hear horrific reports of the death camps, an April when what grew was chilling.

     Words that had boiled and festered in his soul for months were ground out, syllable by syllable.  “The children, and the old men and women, the young who looked ancient as mummies, dazed, terrified, a stink of death hung in the air and filled my lungs ...and the eyes, the sunken, dead eyes, oh, Marra, their eyes...and some knelt and kissed our hands but they couldn’t cry ‘cause there were no tears left…”

     She rocked him in her arms and he’d have to stop the words and wail.  He left their bed.  He ran from the room, down the stairs, through the barn doors to the night, through the trees and over the path to his healing sea, where his mother existed in the hymns of the waves.  Marra followed and stood at the tide line and waited while he swam back and forth in the black water under the hazy moon.  His cries tore through her, sounding like the keening of heartbroken children.  He swam, he cried out as he swam, chilling the woman who waited, who feared he’d swim to exhaustion and then leave her, disappearing in the sea as dawn broke, in the sea where his mother swam.

     She wanted to go to him but forced herself to allow him his grief.  “He’ll come back to me, he’ll come back,” she repeated like a mantra as she sat on the beach and listened and waited.

     And he did, of course.  The tide began to turn and the watermark lapped higher along the shore and it seemed to Marra that it was his salty tears that had increased the ocean’s tide, for his tears had flowed for what seemed like hours.  He left the sea and collapsed in the sand beside her.  They huddled together and watched the sun rise and fill the sea with golden light.  He never spoke of the horrors again.  Nor did they speak of that night, that misty night when, with her, he began to heal.   But their sleep sometimes continued to be broken when he’d cry out, “Ohhhh, the children!”

     I will take you now to the time in their lives of spring of 1948 when she began to have her dreams.  Some would say that the dreams came to her because it was the time of her life when she would feel her deep maternal yearning.  Though they would like to have had a child it never really seemed to matter much.  They had each other and that had always been more than enough and so she found the dreams perplexing.  She wondered if beneath them lay Uriel’s torment because at her dreams’ edge she felt children and echoes of their laughter after the horrors.  The first time the strange dream came to her, Uriel awoke to find her standing by the open window.

     “Marra?” he asked in the darkness.  “Marra, is anything wrong?” The blue moonlight fell upon her and he thought her the most beautiful creature in the universe.  He would continue to feel this, even far into the future when her youth was blurred by wrinkles.

     She turned from the window, her fingers wound around the ribbon at the neck of her nightgown.  “Uriel, I've had a dream so strange it woke me from a deep sleep.”  Hemmingway and Wordsworth, their black cats, sat on the windowsills gazing out at the night.  They pawed the screen, alert and amazed as the moths bounced away.

     “Not a bad dream then, Love?” he asked, reaching one arm to her, beckoning her with his hand to come to him.

     She sat on the edge of their bed and took his hand in hers.  “No,” she smiled.  “It’s leaving me now.  It was something…wonderful.”


 

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 “The Daughters of Time” 

by René Donovan

 

      On a summer afternoon in 1998, Lizzie Chetwyrd embarks on a journey that will change her life, and the world, forever.

     Lizzie’s story begins innocently enough when her elderly Aunt Maggie gives her the family’s ancestral home in Concord, Massachusetts.  The house is full of memories for Lizzie, who spent childhood summers there, losing herself in the sense of wonder and magic that seemed to dwell in the fabric of the house and its surroundings.

     But when she drives from her nearby Cambridge apartment to visit the house for the first time in years, she is startled by its appearance.  Time, the elements and neglect have diminished its former glory.  The once imposing 18th century dwelling stands abandoned in an eerie tangle of vines, peeling paint and sadness that seems to have erased the enchantment and consumed the spirit of the old house.

     On one of Lizzie’s visits to Aunt Maggie in the nursing home where she is living, the old woman encourages her to spend more time at the house, listening and watching because  “Concord has places of deep power and the house rests upon one.”  Lizzie, who is accustomed to hearing her aunt spin strange tales, dismisses the notion until Aunt Maggie shows her family daguerreotypes of the era.  Lizzie is stunned to see her own image in one of the pictures.

     Lizzie’s journeys begin through a fold in time—to 1842 where she meets her great-great-great-great Grandmother Sophronia.  She befriends the visionaries Emerson and Thoreau who soon suspect that she is more than a visiting relative.  As the friendship deepens between Lizzie and the writers, they learn of her otherworldly journeys.  Emerson’s writing begin to reflect Lizzie’s experience and his growing belief that— “Time and space are just inverse measures of the force of the soul.  A man is capable of abolishing them both.  The spirit sports with time.” 

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A peek at  “The daughters of Time” 

                    


 

 

Chapter One

 

Abby Chetwyrd 

1998

 

 My mother began to tell me the story.  That was before she left.  I couldn't believe her until I found the written account of her experience upon the kitchen table at Old Auntie's house in Concord, Massachusetts.  Most of the manuscript was written on her computer in her Cambridge home.  The remainder was written in her familiar handwriting, on blue-lined paper, written just before she left.  The manuscript, when I found it on Auntie’s table, was tied in a faded blue satin ribbon, the bow neatly placed in its center.  It smelled faintly of lavender and time.  Its pages spoke her truth.  

     Her farewell letter to me was penned on yellowed, aged paper in a script of long ago–of 1842.  It lay just under the blue ribbon, the first page before the manuscript began:

 

November 25, 1842

My Dear Abby,

     I cannot begin to explain my disappearance in a letter.  This manuscript will tell it all.  I've been gone from you for such a short time but it's been years and years in truth.  I send you my love through Time and I will watch for you.

                                 Love,

                                                                Mom   

     

     As I read my heart longed to join her, to find the road that would lead me to her, guide me back, back to the nation’s newness, back to when those mystics—Thoreau, Emerson and others who knew life’s mysteries, walked Concord's earth.

     I’ve taken the manuscript and the letter to Old Auntie where she lives now in the nursing home.  She listened and nodded as I read.  Old Auntie knew where my mother had gone.  History tells the story of Concord but history did not record the strange Bloodline of the women in my family.  To hear my story is to suspend belief in all you have been taught, for I have learned that time’s journey is circular and one can step into that circle at any point.  This stepping into time, I am told, is a woman’s art.

     I will return to Old Auntie’s house.  It’s my house now.  It’s all drawn up and legal, so the lawyers tell me.  My house, now that my mother is gone.  I fear it.  I love it.  I will go there.  I will watch.  I will wait.  I will listen.  Is my mother there and can she see me through time’s veil and does she wonder when her daughter, the next in line, will look with the power upon this Land and carefully lift the corners of time to see what lies beneath?

     They all knew.  All the women in my family knew and in learning my family’s history, I realized that they all could go back—but none stayed.  My mother was the only one who stayed and I wonder, how can this be so?

     Auntie told me that it began with my great-great-great-great Grandmother, Sophronia.  Sophronia Chetwyrd but everyone called her Sophie.  They feared to speak her true name for it was rumored that it was given her at birth by a Romany woman traveling through the countryside.  Her last name, the family name, Chetwyrd, she was told, meant  “say word.”  Village myth said this meant that the women who hold the name can never marry for they are the ones who are meant to tell  “that which is, that which was and that which will be.” 

     Yes, Sophie was the first.  That would be in 1842 when she was twenty-four.  Through the years she called the others, the women who came after, the daughters of daughters of my family, the Daughters of Time.  For me it began with Old Auntie, the remarkable woman who now holds herself in matter by sheer will.  She stays for me, I know.  I doubt she’ll die until the story is told. 

 

Chapter Two

 

My Mother’s Manuscript

__________

It Begins

 

 When Old Auntie went to the nursing home a year ago she expected to regain her health and return to her beloved home, to her mysterious forest where she could ride on the ancient tides of the seasons.  Later she knew she would not return.  She dreamed her bones were crumbling to dust.  She seemed to turn within herself.  When I drove from Cambridge to Concord, to the nursing home where she waited for death, it was as though her body was becoming transparent, like a fern touched with frost, lapsing back into the forest.  But her mind, that spirit, was a bowl of light that reflected wonders and marvels.

     Old Auntie had given me a magical childhood.  Summers were ours.  Of course, I didn’t call her Old Auntie back then.  (That was your pet name for her, Abby.)  I called her Auntie Maggie.  Her home was a place where she dwelled in a dimension of which only she seemed aware.  She communicated with animals and knew the original names of things, names before there were words, names only whispered across the dew.  Her home in Concord, where I’d visit in childhood summers, always smelled of baking, lavender, cedar and other obscure scents.  She seemed, even then, to live with an odd and distant sense of things.  I felt that, with her, I lived in slow time.  Hours spun around us and days stretched on forever as we walked to Walden Pond, into a place indifferent to time.  Some nights we heard the wind howl, wolves howl, and no one else ever seemed to notice.

     Did my mother, your Grandmother Eliza, send me to Concord knowing I would bathe in Old Auntie’s wisdom?  (I sent you to summer with Auntie only once, Abby, and for that I must give you my heartfelt apology.  My only excuse is that life just hurried by.)  I dismissed Auntie’s magic as a child’s fantasy and allowed my life to become what my dear friend Henry Thoreau has said in many ways, but the most apt is,  “The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation.”   Perhaps one summer with Auntie was enough.  She had a way with children, animals and plants.

     Did my mother know then what Old Auntie was?  Did she know of the herbs growing in the dank woods, of the loveliness of moon-white reflections as Auntie laughed and spread her spells from the North Bridge upon the waters of the Concord River?  To walk with Auntie through night’s earth-scented darkness was to open arcane memories in my child’s mind.  To look into her eyes was to see the caribou grazing, dances by megaliths, the glaciers of 70,000 years past.  She once told me that if I lay upon the Concord earth under a full moon, I would fall asleep and wake in the sun’s rising, knowing things that I must know.

     On that day, that day in which I first glimpsed through time to that other world, my drive from Cambridge to Concord was not taking me to Auntie at the nursing home but to visit Auntie’s old home.  She asked me to make this journey.  Mysteries glittered in her ancient eyes when she whispered,  “Go—claim the Land.  Be a child again and watch.  Listen.” 

     It was a narrow, winding road through the Concord countryside and it rollercoastered uphill, downhill, around corners.  I steered into the cornering, driving slowly, watching for the entrance to the dirt road that would lead me to Old Auntie’s house.  My house, now, I thought. Whatever am I going to do with that old place way out here in the woods?  Odd, thinking of it as mine.  Well, the papers I signed made it legally mine but it would always be Auntie’s home.  As a child I’d dreamed of her home all winter, waiting impatiently through spring and finally, a week after school let out my mother would pack my summer clothes and drive me there and I’d be Auntie’s girl in the magic kingdom where anything could happen, where butterflies landed on my pillow in the morning and moonlight-guided walks caused feelings to fill my chest, feelings so wonderful that I couldn't name them.

     There used to be a pile of round rocks, about five, larger to smaller, at the end of the dirt road.  What did Auntie call it?  Caine...cerne?  No.  Cairn.  That was it.  It signified something ancient.  I watched for the rocks as I drove.  The dirt road should be coming up soon.  “Remember now,”  Auntie had instructed, “you go about a full mile past that old barn.  You’ll see the barn on your right, close to the road.” 

     I passed the barn and then on the left side of the road, saw the cairn (still there—amazing) and a few feet away the dirt road opened into the forest.  There had never been a signpost but the road had always been known as HolyOak Wend.   Instinctively, I turned the radio off as I prepared to make the turn onto Auntie’s road because this hallowed place was like entering a great cathedral, like a door leading into a green, mysterious world.  I carefully turned the wheel, opened the car’s window and began the long, bumpy ride down the lane.

     The forest, just beginning to green, seemed to envelop the car and every leaf sparkled with the droplets from last night’s rain.  The sweeping hemlock trees that bordered the road grazed the sides of my car and the place seemed to welcome me and draw me forward. What did I expect to welcome me?  Did I expect my childhood to be waiting?  Would Old Auntie greet me in her apron, drying her hands on a dishtowel?  Granmumma Abigail, Auntie's mother who lived with her until her death in 1967, would follow with a broad smile and open arms.  Would there be the smell of pies or bread baking?  I felt tears sting my eyes and the scene through the windshield blurred until I blinked.

     I drove on down the road and the trees seem to crowd in, gather and watch my progress.  They seemed to whisper to each other excitedly, their leaves fluttering, branches swaying:  “Ssssshhhheeee returnsssssss.”  Sun-dappled, deep and endless, the forest had always welcomed me.  As a child, I fancied that when I entered this road I had slipped onto an island, like Avalon, and was protected by whatever dwelt here.  During those honeyed, long-ago summers I would lose myself in wonder, endless wonder.

     I crossed the wooden plank-bridge spanning the brook and then, through the overhanging lace of foliage, saw the house.  There it stood, emptily imposing and abandoned, appearing somehow gaunt, lonely and diminished as if it were veiled in the dust of the passage of time.  The black, wooden shutters of the second story rooms were closed, giving the house the appearance of slumbering.  My heart pounded in anticipation.  I felt that the dear, old place had, over the time of Auntie’s short absence, been wrapped in a ghostly shroud.  It was so strange arriving here alone and not welcomed.  I could almost hear my child-self urging my mother to drive faster, up to the front of the wonderful old house where I’d open the car door, leaving Mother behind as I flew up the steps, through the huge double doors yelling,  “Auntie Maggie!  Granmumma!  I'm here!  I'm here!”  And they would come from behind the kitchen door and...

     They’ll never do that again.  Tears surfaced.  I approached the big white house and pebbles crunched under my tires as I followed the curve of the circular drive and came to a soft stop under a towering oak tree.  The car’s engine ticked as it cooled and the sound was amplified in the hush.  Raindrops from last night’s storm dropped upon the car’s roof and a squirrel somewhere in the topmost regions of the oak screeched angrily at my intrusion.  I tucked my headphones and CD player into my purse and carefully opened the car’s door, trying to be silent as if in a holy place.  The squirrel’s warning increased and a few dried oak leaves drifted to the ground.  I stretched my back as I faced the front of the house.

     The porch ran across the front and to both sides of the first floor, like protective arms enfolding and consoling it.  Evidence of Auntie’s absence and time’s neglect were visible in the sprawling rosebushes whose long tendrils had encircled the railing and crawled across the porch’s floor.  Bare wisteria vines blanketed the porch roof.  I wondered what would happen if no one ever again came to tend the gardens.  Would the tangle of wisteria and roses continue to climb, and spiral, and claim, covering the porch, easing up the sides of the house, onto and over the main roof and finally enfold the widow’s walk at the pinnacle?  Would Auntie’s place continue to exist but within the cool darkness under the foliage, concealed like a treasure in a cave?

     The back yard was a field of red, yellow, pink and white where daffodils, hyacinths and tulips pushed their way through tufted grass, leaves and fallen limbs to feel the sunshine on their wet faces.  In the distant orchard my swing still hung from the gnarled apple tree.  The thick rope was frayed and one side of the wooden seat had given way and lay upon the ground, creating a bare spot where it moved in the breeze.

     Auntie’s herb garden was flattened by a pine tree that had fallen in one of New England’s winter storms.  Its earth-encrusted root system, exposed and somehow vulnerable, appeared like a huge brown creature struggling up from beneath the grass, tentacles reaching out, striving for life.  I leaned down and pinched a dried stalk from the ruined garden and breathed in the faint but familiar scent of oregano.

     How many early evenings, when the sun was creating long shadows beside golden sunshine over the soft carpet of lawn, had Auntie and I come into the garden where she’d hold up the ends of her apron to create a little sack for the snips of bits and pieces of this and that to be used in cooking our supper?  Some of the plants were familiar: basil, oregano, rosemary but others had been new to me.  In her low, comforting voice she’d spin tales about the origins of those herbs and tell me their uses and give me warnings of the potency of some of the strangest ones. I marveled at their peculiar names: slippery root, mugwart, all-heal, devil's ear, boneset, wormwood, bloodroot, horsebane.  I imagined that just saying those words was to risk being transported to a deep, dank hallowed place, a forbidden place.

     In a separate garden through the forest and over the hill in the old pasture, she knew where the deadly plants grew and cautioned me of them: “I tell you of these things, Lizzie, because in life you must know the dark side as well as the light but even in the dark side there is always good.  As with these herb, things can cure, things can kill.”   Walking back to the kitchen, across the lawn, the grass in shadow had been cold under my bare feet.

     I picked a stem of lush, purple hyacinth and sank down upon the foot-warn granite slab that served as the back step.  As I inhaled the intoxicating scent of the flower, the dew droplets that fell upon my lips seemed a peculiar nectar.  Leaning against the kitchen door, I put my headphones on and adjusted the volume on the CD player.  Marcello’s Adagio from Oboe Concerto in D Minor played and its lullaby rhythm, along with the warm sun, caused my eyes to close in the warm sunlight.  Bees buzzed nearby, a contented drowsiness came over me and I dreamed of Auntie Maggie.

     Oh, my sweet Old Auntie.  She was young again, her skin firm and tanned, her eyes bright, unclouded by age.  She walked toward the meadow, cupping her hands around her mouth and calling, summoning me from far, far away as she did when I was a child and had wandered deep into the cool woods.  I could hear her voice:  “Lizzzzeeeeeeeeee.....”   Ohhh, my Auntie, my Concord, my childself.

     I awoke feeling warm and uncomfortable, my face wet with tears.  I wiped my cheeks with the sleeve of my jacket as I sat up, dropping my head forward to stretch my cramped neck muscles.  Trying to recall the dream that was so sad, I raised my head and saw her—a woman, an ephemeral, olive-skinned woman in a long dress, black hair pulled back, wiping her hands on a long white apron.  Like something glimpsed underwater, she stared at me from across the lawn, this person who seemed to tingle in the universe, who waited.  She smiled.

     I stumbled in my hurry to stand, to greet this strange woman.  She must live nearby.   “I must have fallen asleep...” I stammered, but stopped mid-sentence. While I looked her full in the face, she became soft-edged then faded into nothingness.

      Puzzled, I looked around me.  A dream.  I must have been still dreaming and thinking of Auntie.  Half asleep, half awake.  Still trying to capture the fragments of the dream that caused my tears, I put the headphones and CD player back into my purse and walked to the front yard where I climbed the cracked marble steps leading to the double doors, over which spanned a wide, segmented fanlight. The porch was littered with dried leaves and acorns, the paint was peeling and some of the railing’s spindles were broken or missing. I fumbled in my pocket for the big antique key, inserted it into the keyhole and turned the tarnished, brass doorknob.

     The doors, with a long, low rusty groan, glided open to either side as if in eager welcome, and I walked through into the circular entryway, listening, half hoping, like a child who cannot accept change, that I’d hear sounds of life coming from the huge, old kitchen.  A bench with red velvet cushions, faded from years of sunlight pouring upon them, was built into the facing wall.  On either side of the bench were floor to ceiling panels and beside each panel was a wide door leading to the back hidden closets.  A child could push upon the left panel and it would swivel open to reveal a small hallway and a set of narrow stairs spiraling steeply through to the garret.  In the dusty garret was a steep set of stairs that led to the hatchway, which opened onto the widow’s walk.  A magic place, indeed, a place where I was allowed to venture only with Auntie, and many nights we would climb those narrow steps onto the widow’s walk and marvel at the stars overhead.  Auntie would point out and tell stories of the constellations.

     The small, dark hallway below the stairs was now filled with umbrellas, boots, old jackets and the evidence of nesting mice.  The musty smell reminded me of the rainy days when she would sit me upon the cushioned bench, remove my boots and wet jacket, push open the panel and store them in the darkness where they would dry by the heat of the chimney.

     The sneakers I wore made my steps silent as I wandered, except for a little squeak, squeak as I left the oval braided rugs and walked onto the dusty wide-pine floors.  The house had that unlived-in smell of mildew and damp wood smoke.  I raised one of the twelve-over-twelve windows with their original rippled panes.  The clean, cool air and the sound of birdsong filled the kitchen.  I pulled out one of the heavy chairs and sat at the big oak table in the middle of the room.  The lace tablecloth had been neatly folded and placed on the sideboard along with the crystal vase, which Auntie had always kept full of flowers as long as any were in season, and longer. On autumn and winter days she’d create bouquets of dried ochre grasses or sprays of hemlock and pine branches. On the scarred table were the big, brown crockery bowl, bread pans, wooden spoons, measuring cups—everything Auntie used to place on the table when she and I would make bread.  I touched the bowl, cool to my finger, and flashes of memories flickered like sparkling sea creatures surfacing from a deep lake.

     Once a week when I would awaken in the morning, I’d hear her clattering through the cupboards, placing all her equipment on the table.  She’d hum as she worked and I would come, sleepy eyed, into the room knowing that I’d be allowed to work alongside her, rolling out strips of dough and covering them with sugar and cinnamon before rolling them up and slicing them into little buns.  She’d instruct me to go back upstairs and wash and dress before I would be allowed to help.

     It was always the same, this ritual, and I’d run through my morning routine quickly and return, dressed but barefoot, to find breakfast waiting and Auntie kneading the bread before placing the plump mounds of dough on a wooden board, covering them with a clean, white cloth and letting them  “sit and get fat” in a warm patch of sunshine.  Then, just as I was finishing my egg, bacon and toast she would clear away the dishes, tie a dishtowel around my neck to serve as an apron and put a baseball-sized mound of dough in front of me along with the wooden roller.

     “There,”  she'd say, “make something good for lunch.”  She’d pat my back lovingly and go on about her work while I’d spend the morning creating all manner of marvels until the dough was tough as leather.  The lopsided sugar buns I’d eventually bake always tasted like ambrosia since I made them myself.  I had felt very grownup and capable.

     Old Auntie and Granmumma always made me feel good about myself.  Why had I stopped visiting?  I came back for Granmumma Abigail’s funeral and could still remember the strange ceremony held for her in the forest beyond the house—a ritual of women, saying good-bye to beloved Granmumma.  She had been cremated and her ashes thrown to the winds in the forest, unlike the women before her who had been laid to rest in the earth of home.  As the years went by, I’d visit Auntie and my mother, who had moved back here, but only on holidays and special occasions.  With the self-involvement of the young I had little time to spare.  My mother died in 1989 and Auntie was alone.  And there was you, Abby, and work and—no time for Auntie.  Why did I wait until she’s ready to die?  Tears came again and rolled silently down my cheeks as my hand caressed the big bread-bowl, trying to make contact with my Auntie, my Granmumma, my mother, willing them back to their home, tugging at the past. Why had she left the kitchen like this, as if she’d expected to return and…

     I could almost smell the warm, yeasty aromatic dough as Auntie would push the palms of her strong, tanned hands deep, disappearing into its flesh and the push and roll, push and roll of the kneading rhythm.  Oh, the heavenly fragrance after Auntie placed the loaves into the oven and they began to bake!  Sometimes I was able to detect the smell even if I was deep in the woods.  To test its doneness she would thump her knuckles on the top of each loaf.  A hollow sound told her it was ready and she'd slide the loaves out of their pans and line them up on a metal rack on the sideboard, their golden brown crusts like mounds of honey.

     “Jeez, I've got to stop this,”  I said aloud, breaking the thread to the past.  I got up from the table and, jiggling my keys began my slow walk through the rest of the downstairs rooms.  From either side of the entryway, beside the doors, were graceful staircases meeting together in the sunny upstairs hall from which opened the big bathroom and the bedrooms.  I ascended the stairs and went to my room, which had always been next to Auntie’s, gently touching my fingertips to the door and pushing slightly.  It opened to a darkened place that had not changed since I slept there night after summer night.  My childhood dreams pressed around me as I observed the wallpaper of tiny pink roses against a pale yellow background, creamy white woodwork and four big windows, two overlooking the back yard's field of hyacinths and daffodils and the other two facing the side yard where the sweep of lawn led to the forest beyond.

     I unlatched the lock on the window by the bed, struggled to open it and then unhooked the peeling shutters, fastening them to the rusty hooks at either side of the windows.  Light and clean air flooded in and I sat upon the wide sill, surveying my old room.  The furnishings were the same: two small, cotton, braided rugs lay on the hardwood floor, a twin-sized bed with its quilted coverlet, a rather large, low table next to the bed that served as a night stand.  It held only a reading lamp.  The rest of it's surface was saved for the many books that I had to keep close by, the many books I was always in the middle of reading.

     Sometimes on stormy nights before I’d gone to sleep, Auntie would climb the stairs with cups of cocoa, which we'd sip as we listened to the thunder and Auntie would tell me stories or we’d just chat about life and nature and mysteries.  An enormous sea-chest was where all my toys were packed: coloring books and crayons, paper dolls, a mesh bag of marbles that made the most wonderful sound as you handled it, a favorite doll and old clothes for “dress-up.” An oak dresser stood in the corner, empty now except for sprigs of faded lavender.  It once held, in the bottom drawers, all the clothes I’d brought for the summer: underwear, shorts, blouses, pants.

     But my favorite clothes were the ones Auntie made for me in anticipation of my visit.  I think she used the same pattern every year, adding width, and length to all sides to fit my growing self.  These bibbed pants and smocks, with drawstring waists and huge pockets, were soft as down and so comfortable that a little girl could do everything in them.  She could climb a tree, go for a swim, roll down a hill, fish in the pond, search for herbs and flowers and stuff the big pockets with leaves and arrowheads and other forest gifts.  Granmuma and Auntie always embroidered them with mystical symbols: ivy, oak leaves, butterflies, unicorns, faeries and other delightful creatures.

     There was the bookcase.  Auntie called it Lizzie’s Library and every year when I’d come there’d be the old books like old friends but there were always new ones too.  Just as she did with my clothes, Auntie always anticipated my growing needs and, like magic, everything would be waiting for me.  I touched the spines of the books where they neatly lined each shelf.  The “baby books” were on the bottom shelf and each higher shelf held books for the next year’s reading.  The bottom shelf held Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes, Golden Books, books about three little kittens and three little pigs and trolls under bridges.  On the next shelf were: The Bobbsey Twins, Wind in the Willows, The Adventures of Peter Cottontail with that nasty farmer brandishing his hoe.  After that came Alice in Wonderland, The Yearling, Little Women, and Lassie Come Home.  Most of these books made me cry, especially Lassie Come Home.  I loved the tragic drama of it all and my own grownup feelings of sorrow.  Then came the full set of the Nancy Drew mysteries.  They filled one entire shelf and I read them over and over and, like every girl who read them, I wanted to be Nancy Drew and drive a Roadster and be important by solving unsolvable, danger-ridden mysteries.

     They were all still there.  I pulled one book out and inhaled its familiar aroma, the scent of libraries all over America.  It drew me back to that girl I was, lying on my stomach reading, so engrossed that I would be aware of nothing but the words, images and feelings.  Closing the book with a soft thump, I carefully inserted it into its place, wiped dust from my fingers, and walked to the window, the one by my bed, the one that was my Dreaming Window.  It looked out to the forest where I would watch, entranced, at the dance of the lightning bugs on hot summer nights.  Auntie had said that perhaps they were faeries and I had wanted to believe her.

     There was never fear of the deep darkness that lay beyond the lawn and the bordering trees.  They were Auntie’s woods and anything connected with Auntie could hold only comfort, peace, happiness and delight.  A nameless something had called to me from that sphere and I had told Auntie of this.  One night when it was way past the hour she usually told me was time for bed, she unfolded her big, linen apron that always hung, when she wasn't wearing it, on the back of the kitchen door.  She wrapped it around her waist and, dropping her clipping-scissors into one of the big pockets, took me by the hand and said softly, “Come, Lizzie.  'Tis time you learned of the Nightwood.”

     Outside, in the damp, night air she clipped a pungent herb from her garden, rubbed it briskly between her palms then rubbed the plant’s oils over my body, then her own.  This was the special herb, she told me, created by Nature to protect us from the bites of mosquitoes.  She often remarked, when teaching me, that Nature provided for us very well, if only we’d listen.  In the pearly moon’s illumination we walked, hand in hand, over the moon-washed meadow to the woods where all was familiar, for many times we’d followed the worn, narrow path.  But that night we turned onto a less used and even narrower path to the place where the night-herbs grew.  These were the plants that Auntie harvested only after the turn of day occurred, when the moon was full.  Fireflies glimmered among the trees and bushes, crickets and katydids sang their nightly chorus and Auntie hummed while her scissors snipped and the air was thick with scents of lemon and rose and other strange, somehow forbidden aromas of those plants, their secrets handed down through the centuries, through the Bloodline, through the Daughters.

     Under the moon’s half-light she had stooped and placed the plant’s leaves between my palms then held my hands together as if I were in prayer.  “Learn as one sighted, learn as one blind.  Learn with your hands, your nose, your tongue.  Learn through your spirit, which will separate you from mere botanists.  Knowing with spirit opens you to walk the Path of the Wise Ones, the Herbcrafters.  This is how those ancient ones knew the healing properties of each plant.” 

     “But Auntie,” I questioned, “how does my spirit get to know?” 

     The wind had begun to breathe through the trees’ branches as she spoke, “By opening.  By putting aside the world, putting aside the fear and doubt.  Listen and you’ll hear the words come to you.” She gripped my shoulders and gave me a gentle shake.  “Close your eyes.  Listen!” 

     We had sat on the ground by the circle of herbs, leaning our backs against trees from a stand of birch, their white bark shining in the moon’s light.  “Close your eyes and concentrate on your breath. Your breath will begin to blend with the wind. This plant is known as elf dock.  Now, allow a picture of it to come into your mind’s eye. Keep your eyes closed, breathe, breathe, breathe...”   She kept time like a heartbeat. “Your heart’s breath is the wind, the wind carries the message.  Run your fingers over the leaves, hold them to your nose, open your mind.”   She waited and waited.  “Now—expand.  Open your spirit and silently ask the plant, “What is your potential?  How may I blend you into my life?”

     The world had consisted of the wind, my heart’s beat, the herb’s aroma and my listening.  The trees’ leaves rattled, the tangled undergrowth swayed.  I had felt weightless, filled with the plant and the answer came softly at first then seemed to bubble up to pervade my head and I spoke aloud the words I heard, words that were lyrical like delicate music: “Draw the root of a new plant from the earth in autumn.  Autumn’s sunbright sets the strength in the plant and gives it to us for winter’s use, for when the winds and snows come and the wee babes are coughing.” The aromatic leaves, crushed between my fingers, blended with other dank scents of the forest and whirled in my mind and I had begun swaying and humming until Auntie pried my eyes open and, close to my face, commanded, “Lizzie!  Stop!” 

     The music had ceased at Auntie’s loud words and I fell against her, my eyes filled with tears until she drew me close and crooned comfort.  “Oh, my sweet Lizzie girl.  'Tis the gift you have for sure.  A strong tie you have with Mother Earth.  We must go slowly else you’ll just float off with the faerie folk.” She’d poked my tummy and nuzzled my neck and her laughter was balm for my wounded feelings.  

     Walking home, I broke the silence to ask, “Is this the way with everything, Auntie?  Can everything talk to us?  If I listen, can I get answers about everything?  Like rocks and trees and even people?” 

     I’d heard her soft laugher before she answered, “Rocks and trees, yes.  People?  Well, Lizzie my girl, you’ll soon learn that most people have shut themselves in just like a turtle in her shell.  Sometimes, if their guard is down you can get feelings about them.  You’ll learn more about people as you get older.  There is a way to slide through their walls but that is only in emergencies because it is not good to violate people’s boundaries.” 

     I’d thought about that and decided that I agreed with her.  I wouldn’t want anyone knowing all that I felt and thought.  We walked softly along the path cushioned with pine needles and when we came to the edge of the lawn I thought that Auntie’s house was the most beautiful sight I would ever see.  The lights in the downstairs kitchen window seemed to caress me and draw me into the security of all that was Concord.

     The bittersweet morning eased to an end as the spring’s sun climbed the sky and it was with effort that I drew myself from my Dreaming Window.  I shut the window and locked it, leaving the shutters open to allow the room to enjoy the sunlight, then I wandered through the other dusty, faded rooms of the house before locking the front doors and walking down the moss-covered steps to the driveway.  As I sank into the seat of my car I couldn’t help but glance again at the back yard to the place where I had seen the dream-woman.  Auntie’s words came back to me: “Go—claim the Land.  Be a child again and listen, watch.” 

 

     

 Reviews for "Daughters of Time"

 

By Joy Polito 

5.0 out of 5 stars

 An enthralling read......it captivated me from the very beginning!! This well written novel perfectly describes the contrast between two eras and the characters seem to come to life. I would highly recommend this book.

 

 By Katrina

5.0 out of 5 stars

A unique have-to-read story for the person who is enamored with the possibility of time travel. Enjoy!

 

 By Pamela Blevins

5.0 out of 5 stars

At a time when so many contemporary novels seem to be written to a formula along comes The Daughters of Time to serve as an example of how a writer can be truly original and as refreshing as a breath of fresh air. This novel blends intelligence, insight and imagination to create literary magic. In the process author Rene Donovan transports the reader into a long-ago world and manages seamlessly to juxtapose it with the present. There is a gentleness about this book and an inner glow that left this reader with a calming sense of well-being. What a film The Daughters of Time would be!

 

 By marjorie perry

5.0 out of 5 stars

This book is not a quick read. It is one to slowly savor as the characters come to life and the story unfolds. The author paints vivid pictures with her words that allow you to travel with her to another, simpler?, time. The words and philosophies of familiar literary figures of the 1800s, among them, Thoreau, Emerson and Hawthorne, are interwoven and we are reminded of the timelessness of their messages. A delightful, poignant novel.
 

 By Alice S.

5.0 out of 5 stars

When a friend lent me her Kindle to take on my vacation, she recommended that I read The Daughters of Time. What a pleasant and rewarding surprise it was to take a journey back and forth in time from the present to the past where I met the great writers and thinkers Thoreau, Emerson, the Alcotts and others, who made Concord, Massachusetts such a special place. But the character who shines throughout this enchanting, thought-provoking novel is a very wise woman Sophronia, or Sophie as she is known. Author René Donovan creates a sense of drama, expectation and mystery as she introduces her characters in their different places in time. She leaves the reader believing that anything is possible, even what we think it impossible. It was clear to me that the author did an incredible amount of research into the past because the details of life in 1842 are so well described that you feel you are actually there. The novel is beautifully written and very visual, with the words coming off the page with the clarity of photographs or reels of film on a screen. The Daughters of Time is rich in substance and an unforgettable reading adventure.

 

 

 

Me 'n God in the Coffee Shop

Me ‘n God in the Coffee Shop is a spiritual journey, a lullaby, an awakening. Its pages hold starlight and the fragrance of new mown grass. With a blending of magic, mystery and ancient beliefs the reader is carried to a place of warm and tender joy, a place that whispers, “You are a miracle!”


Reviews for “Me 'n God in the Coffee Shop” 

 

Magic, miracles and the smell of great coffee..

By an Amazon Customer on January 27, 1999

Rene Donovan offers her readers more than a great story: she gives the gift of the divine. Love flows from every page, love of self, love of the Earth, and love for the divine that exists in all. For those on a path of spiritual awakening, the book offers encouragement and reaffirmation. Those who have not yet stepped on the path may well stumble onto it through this incredibly wise, funny, and uplifting tale. It is rare to encounter the divine in everyday life; rarer still to run across it in a novel. But Me ‘n'God in the Coffee Shop is most certainly a divinely inspired work, refreshing in its hopeful outlook and its wonderful message that “each of us is a miracle.”  Spiritual seekers will love this book, and Starbucks should, too...

 A sparkling tale to make your heart sing

By Seamus Drew on December 25, 1999

Rene Donovan’s sparkling descriptions of nature and the miracles of everyday life make my heart sing. It’s good to know that I’m not alone in seeing God’s glory in every ounce of creation. As I write this review, on a north bound flight, the Canadian Rockies glisten outside my window in snowy majesty, their silent voices proclaiming, "She’s right you know! There's joy and beauty in all of God’s handiwork.

Though everyone may not agree with the beliefs and practices described in this book, the principles of love and divinity set forth are universal. Whether you embrace the Pentacle or the Cross, after reading Me 'n God-, you must agree that God is love no matter by what name we might call him. The author has done a marvelous job of conveying meaningful concepts through the medium of fiction.

 

A magical journey of discovery that each of us is a miracle

Pamela Blevins, Music Historian, Arlington, Virginia on April 25, 1998

An irresistible title coupled with a cover of infinite brilliance (you’ll know what I mean when you see it) mark the beginning of a marvelous journey for readers of René Donovan's novel Me 'n God in the Coffee Shop. Set in a small New England town, Me 'n God in the Coffee Shop is both lighthearted and serious, a gentle yet thought-provoking and thoroughly enjoyable look at life's possibilities IF only we would permit ourselves to be open to them. René Donovan reveals herself to be a gifted story teller who has created a special world on the pages of this compelling book. I came away from meeting Walt, Grandmother and a host of other fascinating and enchanting characters knowing that the world does not need to be the indifferent, selfish and angry place its seems to have become. What René Donovan conveyed to me, and what she will convey to everyone who reads her insightful book, is that each of us has the power within to shine a positive light on our world and make it a place where peace, harmony and love prevail. And readers will learn something vitally important about themselves in the process -- that each of us is a miracle!! Me 'n God in the Coffee Shop is magical, enriching and enlightening, one of those rare books that not only tells a good story but one that can also change how we think and how we live -- all for the better. It is a moving and powerful book that should be on everyone’s “Must Read”  list.

A Thrilling Experience

By Maura Randon January 4, 200

I loved the God in the Coffee Shop Donovan portrayed. So caring, loving and real. I was right there, breathlessly waiting for each new encounter. I talked with Grandma for months after finishing the book. A very moving tribute to a new author, I can’t wait for her next book. Maura Rand, Marshfield, Massachussetts

A fun read, and thought provoking to boot

By an Amazon Customer on November 17, 199

This delightful book was an easy read, yet the unique approach to spirituality kept me thinking, even reexamining the way we think about “god.” The plot and commentary push open the mind’s windows and let some new light in, and like a draught of fresh air, rejuvenates the mind.

 Straight from the Cosmos

By an Amazon Customer, May 18, 1998

Ms. Donovan's story is so entertaining that it’s almost possible to miss The Truth contained in Me 'n God in the Coffee Shop...but not quite. Truth back lights the tale, bringing gems of light to live by. Happily, the underlying good vs. evil theme arrives not from the pulpit, but straight from the Heart of the Cosmos (the easier to see you with, my dear).

 

Makes me want to order a “cuppa" & see what happens

By M. Pamela Sekula

(Cohocton, New York United States), May 3, 1998  

Rene Donovan weaves a wonderful spell around the reader and her characters. Reminiscent of ancient teachers and mythology, she unfolds Nature’s side of religion and philosophy in a warm homey way. I felt like brewing a cup of hazelnut coffee and snuggling into a big chair to join Diane, Shelly and “Walt.”  (A Circle of Stones by Judith Duerk affected me that way.) Well worth the read!

 

A gentle, yet powerful tale, of magic, miracles and hope!

By an Amazon Customer, May 2, 1998

 This book is about magic and miracles...and the surprising discovery of where to look for them. A message of hope and empowerment, delivered in the unlikely context of a coffee shop. Donovan’s characters draw the reader into an intriguing search for understanding and meaning in a world so fraught with problems. In a society struggling with decadence, violence, intolerance and apathy...Donovan offers an uplifting alternative. She leads the reader on a journey resulting in the joyful affirmation of our oneness with the earth, the universe and all living things. A gentle, yet powerful tale, the author truly provides each reader with a gift...hope

 

A book to read again and again

By Jana Ashba (Wapakoneta, ohio, US) - August 16, 2014  

I cherish the day that Me 'n God in the Coffee Shop came into my hands. I began this journey of words, and very soon it became “the book I couldn't put down.”  Truth is, Rene' Donovan’s characters, Walt and Grandmother are now a real part of my life. I reread the book yearly as the season turns to fall, in order to savor the life wisdom offered within. I laugh aloud as the storyteller, Diana, tries to explain to herself the appearance of these two entities that have entered her life. This book boosts my spirit and feeds my sense of what God is, and is certainly my soul’s Church. The author, through the words of Walt and Grandmother, reminds us that “We Are the Light.”  Me 'n God in the Coffee Shop may be a work of fiction, but it’s brimming with truths to live by. This book is magical!

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03.08 | 05:32

Impressive sharing. I will let my mother know about it after my https://www.goldenbustours.com/seattle-tour-packages/ and hope it will be interesting for her.

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31.01 | 14:45

Simply mahvelous....Renee ...what an amazing collections. It pleases me to have met you and see what a wonderful person you are. Perhaps in the sprina

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03.03 | 14:10

Hi Cathy, thank you so much for your comments. It's so good to hear from you! Email me and let me know what's going on in your life... rdonovan38@comcast.net

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02.03 | 20:44

Rene, I was deleting stuff & found your website. What an amazingly talented woman you are! I am humbled & grateful to have been your friend back then. Cathy.

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