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VINE VOICEon March 31, 2004
I am at a loss for words. This book is one in a million. It has been compared to Mitford, and that would be accurate! I recommend this book to everyone. Your faith will strengthen and be reaffirmed over and over. This book reminds us, that we are NOT on our time, but the Lord's. Don't hesitate to pick this read up and add it to your library!
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VINE VOICEon October 22, 2004
I have to agree with another reviewer that this book is much, much better than the Mitford series. The characters come alive on the pages of this wonderful story of faith and hope in a small New England town. The miracles that happen to several of the parishoners are an added bonus and crackle with spiritual electricity. The author's afterward relating events from her own life blew me away. If you're in need of a little hope or just a boost to a flagging faith, then this book is for you. I plan to buy copies for both of my daughters to read.
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on January 30, 2003
If you are a fan of The Mitford Series, I think you will also enjoy A Miracle For St. Cecilia's. Set in a quaint, charming, New England town, you will meet an endearing set of characters, both parishoners at St. Cecilia's, as well as the towns folk of Dorsetville. Leading the parishoners of St. Cecilia's is Father James, who learns that St. Cecilia's doors will be closed due to lack of funds. Heart-broken, Father James is distressed at what will happen to his St. Cecilia's family, who rely on the church and their friendships there, to get through life's struggles.
Katherine Valentine is a gifted writer, though her style is simple, it is wonderfully easy to read, and creates a true warmth and feeling of comfort. Even though it did seem a lot like the Mitford series, it was still creative in the story lines, entertaining and insightful. For those with Christian roots, it provides some strong messages of faith & hope.
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on January 1, 2014
While I liked the story and the characters and found it generally engaging, I agree with another reviewer who found the author's Catholicism blunders to be "jarring". For example: The priests wear Violet vestments on Good Friday, not Red. The Passion narrative is read on Palm Sunday (when the priests *do* wear Red vestments) and the Priest is always, always, always the voice of Christ (he is the Alter Christus, after all!). A woman, no matter how involved, would never, ever be allowed to read the words of Christ (well, perhaps in an absurdly liberal parish they might try such nonsense...but that's not the type described in this book). The characters don't fast on Ash Wednesday, but she makes a big deal of their fasting on Good Friday. The Hail Mary is wrong. Etc.

Also, there's an important funeral that happens, but it's mentioned only in passing as "it happened." It's a significant event that at least deserves a reflection, and I think skipping over that while giving a long, detailed backstory about the dispute between the Catholics and the protestants across the green was a misuse of pages.
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VINE VOICEon October 13, 2002
As a fiction lover and fan of inspirational books such as the Mitford series, I was overjoyed when I heard about the publication of A Miracle for St. Cecilia's. Why? Because in today's world, there is always a need for books emphasizing the theme of Hope - hope in times of despair when it seems that the odds are stacked so staggeringly against us. Katherine Valentine manages to spread the good news that there is good cause to believe in Hope, and she manages to tell a great story while sharing this good news.
Set in the charming but declining mill town of Dorsetville, A Miracle for St. Cecilia's unites a cast of characters who, while engaged in their own personal struggles, come together to fight for a cause close to their hearts. Their beloved Catholic church, the focal point of their spiritual lives and social structure, and a source of financial and emotional support for their decaying community, is about to close. The book brings together an unlikely band of heroes: a dad with a deadly disease, a troubled young computer genious, three aging retirees (one of whom is Jewish, but a good friend to the church), a retired hunting dog, an elderly Irish priest, and the Pastor of St. Cecilia's who has great intentions but just can't seem to pull his parish out of the red ink.
The story moves along nicely and pulls the reader in quickly. I fell in love with the people of Dorsetville and found myself thinking about the many communities across our country who find themselvs facing these same troubling circumstances in their own places of worship.
As a Catholic, I appreciated this book for its attention to doctrinal and liturgical detail. I feel, however, that its message has broader appeal and that it will touch the hearts and souls of many. Katherine Valentine has created a wonderful book here and I look forward to reading the next in what I hope will be a series of books related to these charming characters. Treat yourself to this book, and buy it for a special friend!
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on January 3, 2006
This was such a wonderful book. Do not listen to those who accuse the author of copying the Mitford series. I enjoyed the Jan Karon series but I LOVE this one. You will not be disappointed. The uplifting message of faith and hope filled my spirit.
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on September 2, 2002
If you like the Mitford series, you should like this. Lots of characters with personality, some of which I can see in my own parish. I liked the message of hope and faith. The description of Vermont in the winter was almost too good - I kept getting cold hands while reading the book.
Chatty without being gossipy, religious without being preachy - I would recommend this to anyone looking to have some heartstrings pulled.
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on March 1, 2015
It seems the author or editor could have done a better job on small points like a quarter back weighing over 300 pounds. Not likely, that would be a linebacker or some other blocker, not a quarter back. There are other small annoying details that don't ring true. Having said that, my main complaint is that I do think this copies the Mitford Series and is a pale copy at that.

It is an okay, easy read at best.
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on June 13, 2016
A Miracle for St. Cecilia's is a wonderful book and an inspirational story as well. Though a work of fiction, the characters, setting and events are so real that one could almost imagine walking down the streets of Dorsetville and greeting the people. I would dearly love to meet Father James and Father Keene, as well as many others. I've listened to this book on audio books and also read it on Kindle, reading it to my sister who dearly loves to have me read to her. She enjoyed the book every bit as much as I did. Warning, the story is addictive! Katherine Valentine can surely tell a believable tale.
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on January 24, 2005
This is a good read, but for those who have read the Mitford books it will seem like a blatant rip-off. There are just too many similarities...the small town, the coffee shop, the village carmudgeon, the romance between the senior citizens, finding the lost family members, etc.etc. Personally, I found these "plagiarisms" irritating and they definitely detracted from my enjoyment of the story.
In addition, and more importantly, she misrepresents Catholic doctrine and Catholic rituals several times. For example, the words used in the rite of Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) are not as she represented them. And although to non-Catholics that may seem like nit-picking, orthodox Catholics would see this as a very important point. Without the use of the proper words the sacrament is not valid. For practicing, orthodox Catholics, some of her mistakes are jarring, to say the least. She gets the Hail Mary wrong, for pete's sake!
All in all, a pleasant read, but should be read with the knowledge that it is just a "Catholic-lite" version of the Mitford books, and not completely accurate in its portrayal of Catholicism, at that.
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