It was just a white ceramic jar with a phoenix painted on the side, but the old peddler woman told Gracie Quinn that it was a magic jar, a wishing jar. All she had to do was lift the lid and make a wish, and it would come true. Gracie didn’t believe the fable, but bought the jar anyway. There was something about that beautiful bird that called to her.
As Gracie grew older, she passed that jar down to her daughter, who in turn passed it on. Along with the jar came the legend of the phoenix, a mighty bird with a sweet singing voice. At the end of her life she would settle down on her nest, still singing, only to burst into flames and disintegrate. But then she would rise up again, her song even more beautiful. The message: even if you’re going down, keep singing. You will rise again.
The present generation of Quinn women have been just as strong as those who came before them, but Abby’s not feeling so strong any more. Her husband was killed two years ago, her mother Edith has suffered a stroke, and her daughter Neal Grace is acting out. Abby is exhausted from trying to be there for everyone, when she herself needs that kind of care.
Edith is on the very edge of giving up. Once a passionate, vibrant woman, she is now reduced to a crippled state, barely able to move around, hardly able to speak, and her daughter doesn’t take the time to listen to her. Neal Grace, once a soul mate, now won’t even look at her. Edith often wishes she had simply died during the stroke instead of surviving it.
Neal has problems of her own. Confused about life and her place in it, she reaches out to a source of love and attention, only to find that the love she thought was there was just a sham.
Each of these three women have a lesson to learn and a journey to take. They are trying to find their way alone, but they come to realize that it is only through working together that they are able to succeed. Oh, and a little help from the wishing jar, too.
I enjoyed this book very much and highly recommend it.
(This book was published by W Publishing in 2002.)
Previously reviewed books by this author: