Paula D'Arcy is a retreat leader and author of Gift of the Red Bird. In this elegant, simple, and inspiring fantasy, she reveals the magical journey of the soul from fear to love. It is the kind of tale that must be approached with awe and a respect for mystery. Make sure that you turn these pages in a quiet place far away from the intrusive and pesky flies of distraction. See yourself in the story as it unfolds and don't try to squeeze anything too tight. Relax and go with the flow of the drama.

Anastasia is born in a town where the goal is "to make sure that nothing ever changed." The Town Manager squelches new ideas and the All-Knowing Ones reverence Jesus but only consider what happened in the past as valid.

Then a Stranger arrives in town and shakes things up because he's totally unpredictable: "The Stranger's pockets were memorable, all filled with trinkets and surprises. Small trees to plant. Keys. Sugar delights. Newborn kittens. Tickets to carnivals. He jingled as he walked."

If this description brings Santa Claus to mind, it's not far off the mark. For the Stranger is a playful soul who spreads joy in his path. Anastasia is enchanted by this visitor who challenges the children to "recognize the Being's Spirit in you. It will remind you who you truly are. You will remember that you cannot be separated from the Being who gave you life, and you do not have to be afraid."

That's all we're going to tell you about Anastasia and her inner journey toward awakening. But that ought to be enough to let you know that Paula D'Arcy has written an enchanting fantasy about wonder, grace, beauty, courage, and the greatest bounty of all — love.