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Award-winning author Karen Wiesner is the founder of Jewels of the Quill, an award-winning group of authors in all genres banded together to promote their books. The group also does anthologies together. Dame Amethyst Treasures is a compilation of the first three novellas Karen contributed to Jewels of the Quill anthologies, plus a bonus novella never before published!
Elena Lopez’s father joined her as she completed her rounds through the Children of Hope Hospital. Three generations of Lopezes had cared for terminally ill children, but Elena was the first woman doctor in her family. At thirty years of age, she’d given her life to the hospital. She’d grown up inside its walls, and she’d known since she was a young girl that she would follow in her father’s footsteps.
“Marta’s welcome party is this night. We should get ready soon,” her father reminded her, his voice sounding more melodious to Elena as the unpainted plaster walls and saltillo tile halls absorbed and hushed it to an intimate whisper. “You are planning to attend?”
Elena glanced at him warmly. “Of course. How could I turn Marta down?”
Her father’s mouth turned up in amusement at the mere thought. Though Marta was in a wheelchair, crippled from the car accident that had claimed Elena’s mother’s life years ago, she was a formidable woman who simply didn’t take no for an answer—certainly not from her best friend’s family, which Marta had claimed as her own since Susana’s death.
“I just want to look in on Juan before we go.”
Her father nodded, and they stopped long enough to put on gowns, masks, shoe coverings, and gloves to protect Elena’s patient from infection. Then they continued down the hall to the isolated section of the ward. Her father stayed in the doorway while she went into Juan’s room.
Though Juan Habanera had had a bone marrow transplant a few weeks earlier and hadn’t developed an infection in that time, Elena could recognize the signs of decline in the seven-year-old. Even so, the joy in his smile was never affected by his unstable health. His optimism belied all of his suffering. He’d come to the hospital three years ago, justifiably afraid and uncertain of his future, but he’d become a new person in that time. Everyone in the ward drew strength from him.
Juan was frail, with huge dark eyes set in a pale face. He’d lost his hair long ago from treatments. In his hands, he held the small amethyst angel statue Elena had given him when he came. As he often did, he raised it up toward the window beside him. The sun pierced through it and exploded light-filled, lavender rays all around him. Elena had told him her mother gave her the angel just before she’d died, promising her the angel’s light of love would never go out as long as life was lived and love was shared.
“How do you feel this afternoon, cariño?” Elena asked him with a smile.
“Sleepy. Happy. I hoped you would come back tonight to tuck me in.”
Elena picked up his chart, anxious about the results of the tests she’d taken earlier. His temperature was elevated, and even from the foot of the bed, she could see the glands in his neck were swollen.
She moved to the side of the bed and folded his blanket down past his waist. Gently, she probed his abdomen below the ribs and confirmed an enlarged spleen.
She didn’t want him to see her unhappiness. The results of the bone marrow biopsy she’d performed that morning weren’t in yet, and she wanted all the facts before she talked to him. She set down the chart. Sitting carefully beside him, she unlooped her stethoscope from around her neck and warmed it in her gloved hands.
“How did you enjoy the sunshine today, Juan?”
“The sun felt nice. I was glad to be outside. Pablo came with magic up his sleeves.”
Elena laughed at the delighted smile of memory lighting the boy’s pale face. “He did, did he? Seems I missed the best part of the day.”
Though activities had to be limited, considering the isolated patients’ tendency toward infection, everyone—including the staff—enjoyed a good magic show.
“He asked after you,” Juan told her with a teasing smile. “If you’d been there, the flowers he pulled out of his construction hat would have been yours.”
4 1/2 hearts!
"The Amethyst Angel" (5 hearts): "This reviewer cannot remember any bad things about this story. The book was extremely believable. The characters were very connected with both each other and the reader. The setting of this story made it easier for the reader to be captivated. Go and get your copy today!"
"A Home for Christmas" (4 hearts): "This book is truly heartwarming and was a great read. The characters connected well with each other and made the story all the more believable. This reader could sometimes feel that she was in the story as the main character. To see what Christie gets for Christmas make sure to buy a copy today!"
"The Amethyst Star" (4 hearts): "This short story is quite intense in the thoughts and the societal expectations of the characters. This reviewer quickly became caught up in the emotional pull between Lady Sher and Randolf.
The expectations of Lady Sher are heart wrenching and add an interesting element to the story, while Randolf's people seem to have an outlook more consistent with today's society. The differences between the main characters races and their practices are very well explained and demonstrated as the two interact within the Hunter Abode. The intimate scenes are tastefully written while still portraying adequate passion. This reviewer was pleased with the depth and completeness of this short story."
"Creatures of the Night" (4 hearts): "This story is much darker than the others in this anthology are, but it is just as intense and intriguing. The chemistry between Susanna and Nicholai is undeniable and is really what drew this reviewer into the story. This element also makes the love scenes seem much more heated than they really are. "A captivating read with good characters." ~Mandi for Love Romances And More
3 1/2 Books! "The stories in this anthology all share some common threads.
Many explore the risks of love and rejection. Personal doubt is a key factor in these stories, which range from the simple and simply charming to the far more deep and complex paranormal. These tales open with the heart wrenching "The Amethyst Angel." We meet the Lopez family, a family united in dedication to a cause. We are delighted immediately with the quick dialogue, and infected with hope, rather than touched by despair. Risk here is more than an affair of the heart. Love and compassion drive this tale. We sense - and understand - the love the main characters feel for the sick children they care for. The family's effort is more than a setting here, and involves the reader deeply even before we get an idea of the love story involved. In "A Home for Christmas," we meet a shy and charming man, as well as the love of his life.
His self-doubt makes him less than open about his feelings, but his affection comes through in his kindness and support. In this everyday sort of adventure, the strength that comes through faith is also explored. The story itself is nicely Christmas-y, and music, especially the favorite Christmas carols, is a connecting theme. "The Amethyst Star" is futuristic in setting and departs from the sweet and rather dear themes of the first two. The opening is dark:
humans are not hunters, but hunted. However, hope builds as we grow closer to understanding the mind and motivations of Randolph, the main character. The details of the royal setting, the home of Lady Sher, are a delight to read.
The world Wiesner creates is very original, and has great depth and detail.
"Creatures of the Night," delves into the paranormal realm, but is somewhat realistically contemporary in setting. The first person account lends this story a certain immediacy, and allows the reader to closely identify with the main character, Susannah. We also become confused along with the main character, doubting what is real and what is merely her imagination.
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 240
Paper Weight (lb): 10.2
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