Sometimes families need an inspiration or guiding force, hand or spirit to rekindle what they had before. When someone goes off to war it is not unusual for them to come back with PTSD. Within this illness many suffer and often their behaviors get unnoticed for what they really are, arguments ensue, families come apart and although the person cannot help the sudden outbursts, nightmares and violent behaviors they often go untreated. This is an unusual story that focuses on the Carson family who need to rekindle the spirit of family love, loyalty and hope within the coming Christmas Season. Simple ornament that hangs at the top of the tree: A STAR will light the way. A special purchase their parents made and the star holds the key not only to the present but the past. Can two teenagers go back in to time rekindle the love their parents had before his time in the Veteran’s home becomes permanent?
Jim and Nadine have always been close but right before Christmas he decided to leave home and enter the hospital leaving his family in disarray and his wife feeling all alone. Rather than deal with the issue his wife decides to go off n her own leaving her two children with her mother. Tim and Martie are teens and are quite upset about what is happening but something draws them both to the star at the top of the tree and what happens next sends them on more than one journey into the past. As the star speaks to them with special messages that appear and disappear hoping to draw them into the past to learn more about the present. Imagine meeting George Washington at Valley Forge in the winter of the American Revolution. Imagine what happens when you try to remain unseen but somehow you are noticed, you get to talk to him and he presents you with something special to take back to give to your father that you hope will spark him into doing more research and getting back to himself. Going back and learning more about that time period from Washington and his men helps them bring his father into the journey. Next, they had to find a way to bring their mother home so hoping that the star will once again speak to them they explain it all to their grandmother hoping she will believe them and then go back to the past this time helping some pioneers that are on the Sante Fe Trail going to Utah hoping to make a new life. Each time they have an adventure or trip back to the past the messages on the star appear to guide them. But, this second one brought them in danger as a Tracker has been shadowing them and they created a set of rules and warnings to help guide them to safely back. Hoping to learn more they attempt to go back one more time but the star warns them to make sure their loved ones know. The star warns them that they might find danger and they wind up on the H.M.S. Brittanic on an adventure that will help readers learn more about the history and research the author did in order to validate the trips they two teens took. Their faith in God and their will to believe in hope just might bring them through as the next adventure on the ship helps readers know that in order for the two teens to get back to the present their parents need to go to the past. When the Trackers capture Martie and Tim she has only chance to notify her parents as the Trackers have their own plans in mind.
Within the pages of this book the Carson family learns some valuable life lessons and although the third passage resulted in the sinking of the ship and the loss of lives something miraculous just might come of it all but will it be too late to save everyone and will they all make it back. The Star of Sight that gave a doctor the power to see clearer and help his patients, the Star of Passage and the four small stars to help each person gain reentry to the present as we hear the voices of the Trackers and realize the message they are conveying to those who have turned their back on their faith, hope and trust. Within the hand of the person holding it this mysterious relic is a large eight pointed star that is the size of a grown=ups hand. The basis for all of the stars is Orion’s Belt and this is just one of the stars and there are five others that I have outlined that have special powers. The power of darkness will darken your way if you let it but the messages from the stars will guide your journey if you follow what it says.
When Natalie, Jim, Tim and Martie face off with the trackers what happens will alert readers to their determination, drive and hope that all four will make it back but not before the explosions come about, the timer goes off too soon and the end result for one of them looks near. The ending is quite different then what you might expect as Natalie and Jim decide to return to the past one more time but the reason has to do with his PSTD in the present and unless he changes something in history he cannot focus on the present. What does he have to do and why? Will it change his life and the course of his family? What about the Trackers? Are they really gone or are they just waiting for another opportunity to have them come to the past in some time period so they can enter The Present? Sometimes a small incident can change the course of so many lives as both Natalie and Jim learn the true meaning behind family loyalty, understanding, faith and hope as they both search to find their true selves. The Star Passage became part of their lives but they almost lost sight of what is really important and that is faith, charity, the kind of Love God has for all of us and the kind that allows as Natalie says: the kind that allows us to love others more than one’s self. It also allows us to love ourselves in a new and more complete way.” But, is the star ready to go to another family or is it going to remain with them? You will only learn the answer to that when you read the final page.
This is great book for pre-teens, teens and even middle school children to learn family values, understanding, tolerance and cooperation. It is a great book for discussion groups to talk about Tim and Martie and what makes them special and how they came to the aid of their parents. It is a great way to explain PSTD and why families need to ban together to help someone who comes home from the service and needs support. It would be a great way for a writing teacher to have his/her students create their own adventures for the characters and possibly join in on one holding their own star of passage. Sometimes miracles happen if you believe. Find out what that means when author Clark Rich Burbidge and the Carson family takes you back in time to where it all began. Orion’s Belt: Can you see it? Learn more on page 269.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine