Billy Coffey offers another Mattingly, Va., tale with “Some Small Magic,” a deeply emotional novel full of shocking twists and a story of overcoming life’s travails and bullies with a magical sense of hope.
Young Abel Shifflett is a boy crippled with a brittle bone disease, wise beyond his years. He has a love for magic and trains, and a deep friendship with Dumb Willie, a young man who is “special” like Abel after having been “dropped” on his head as a baby.
When Abel learns his father, whom he’s always believed was dead, is actually alive, Abel and Willie embark on a journey to Fairhope, N.C., to find a bit of healing and belonging. After jumping a boxcar after a deadly situation occurs, Abel and Willie meet a beautiful and secretive young women, whom they call Dorothy. She helps them along their journey, as they each help one another grow and learn important life lessons.
“Some Small Magic” is a story full of plot twists you’ll never see coming. Coffey deeply builds the relationship between Abel, Willie and Dorothy — into an almost family-like bond. Readers will fall in love with the sweetly innocent Abel and Willie, encouraged by their blind faith and loyalty.
Besides being an interesting Appalachian adventure story, “Some Small Magic” offers so many gems and lessons. Major themes that trickle throughout the novel are faith, healing, finding the magic in life, and the sense of “meant” — that things are just meant to be and can’t be changed.
Coffey also reminds us that no matter how perfect or imperfect people’s lives may seem, we all face storms in our lives. His story deals with the journey of keeping promises; seeing the light in the shadow; things aren’t always as they seem; healing brought about by finding one’s treasures; be careful what you put your stock in; and overcoming the sense that we are too broken to be healed.
But it is also a great love story, one that seeks the ultimate source of love — God. As Dorothy tells Abel: “There is a love far greater, ever bright and never fading, calling all things back to itself. Calling all things home. And I wonder at that love, because it carries a depth measureless and beyond my reaching.”
This book takes place in a modern day setting, but almost reads as a hill country novel from the 1940s or ’50s, which gives it a certain amount of charm. It’s full of small town, slow living life. It does feature some mild cursing and a few occasions of smoking and drinking.
“Some Small Magic” is a delightful tale that will leave you evaluating your life, and encouraging you to find the magic in each of your days.
Five stars out of five.
Thomas Nelson provided this complimentary copy for my honest, unbiased review.