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Miriam the Medium    by Rochelle Jewel Shapiro order for
Miriam the Medium
by Rochelle Jewel Shapiro
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2007 (2004)
Hardcover, Softcover
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Because of its melodious title, I expected Miriam the Medium to be an amusing book. One that would make me laugh out loud. Not so. There's laughter, yes, but it's not frivolous. This is a down-to-earth story about a family of today. The husband's business is failing, and the daughter is a bratty, breaking-out-of-the-box teenager. Miriam, while trying to hold her world together, realizes that the whole financial burden of the family is falling on her. She is expected to pull them out of the mire of debt.

So here's Miriam doing her damnedest to rise above it all, while her husband and daughter don't believe in her gift. She's a phone psychic. She can see into other people's futures. She can lead others on the right paths, but trying to do the same for herself is short-circuited. Cara, the daughter, is embarrassed by her mother's gift. Her husband isn't sure about the psychic business but expects Miriam to back his ventures all the way. What else is new? There are some rollicking moments that are sheer fun, such as when Miriam receives an artificial arm in the mail the better to connect with the client's uncle.

Miriam the Medium is a tenderly told story of a woman coming to grips with who she is. She finds that that woman is someone she can love and respect, and therefore she can face the world with her head up. I truly enjoyed the psychic part of the book which is a great deal of the text. I'm not sure I believe, but I would hate not to. This first novel is a charmer, one I enjoyed from the first page to the last. I look forward to more of Miriam, and hope that a sequel is in the works.

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