The Search for the Madonna
by Donna Alice Patton, Illustrated by Julia Fahy
Behold Publications, 232 Pages

Reviewed by Elyse Wilson

Donna Alice Patton’s novel, The Search for the Madonna, is an exciting story of a girl’s longing for a stable home for her and her family. Written primarily for girls around the middle school age, it is ideal also for high school girls who enjoy a suspenseful mystery. Intertwined with the plot of clues and mystery is a strong theme of Catholic values and faith in seemingly impossible circumstances.

Situated in the depression of the 1930’s, the story follows young Maggie as she and her sister move in with their gentle and very Christian aunt. Immediately the mystery of a family treasure begins to unfold and builds with each chapter, made all the more tantalizing because Maggie’s aunt is about to lose her family farm due to her poverty. Throughout the entire story, Maggie turns to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, for strength and guidance. Not only is Maggie struggling to make sense of clues, she is also growing in virtue as she constantly strives to be kind, patient, and to practice self-control.

The young Christian reader will find herself drawn into sympathy and understanding as Maggie tries to deal with a difficult sibling. She will admire Maggie as she conquers her own fears, and be drawn to the beauty of seeking to follow the example of Jesus’ Mother.  Truly noble character is praised in this story and presented in a way that appeals to young girls.

This is an excellent book for girls in middle through high school. It is both an exciting story and also a life-lesson in virtue, honesty, unselfishness, and other priceless character traits. It is a valuable book to share with others, as well, as the giver will know she is passing on much more than a good story.

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Copyright 2010 Elyse Wilson