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Title: Leonardo’s Chair
Author: John DeSimone
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Cook Communications Ministries
ISBN: 1589190319
Reviewer: Dian Moore

Can a chair hold the power of creativity great enough to create works of magnificent art, comparable to that of Leonardo DaVinci? Perhaps, if the chair was constructed by DaVinci himself. Or so generations of artists have believed.

Young artist Paul LaBont is on the rise due to his own talent in artistic expression – a talent he believes he inherited from his father…and mother. Paul’s mother has set aside her own creative talents, and desire to express those talents, at the urging (make that demand) of her husband, who considers her artwork no more than a dabbling hobby.

Victor LaBont, Paul’s father, is the current owner of Leonardo’s chair, and he attributes his own artistic skills to the power of the chair.
Title: Miracle on the Monastery Mountain
Author: Douglas Demetrios Lyttle
Genre: Photography/Historical/Documentary
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group (April 1, 2004)
ISBN: 0974744603
Reviewer: Dian Moore

Interview with Douglas Demetrios Lyttle, Author of Miracle on the Monastery Mountain

Interviewer's Note: Back in June, for Father's Day, I reviewed Miracle on the Monastery Mountain. Its author, Douglas Demetrios Lyttle, was in Greece and not available for interview. He has since returned, and I wish to share our conversation. Mr. Lyttle is a delightful man who delights in the Lord.

FWM: You have now embraced the Eastern Orthodoxy religion as your own. How has that decision impacted your life?

Read Complete Review...
When a fire at the LaBont estate leaves Victor critically burned, because he chose to enter the flames to save the mysterious chair, he also discovers that the chair is missing!

Convinced that the chair is the key to his survival and continued talent, Victor sets his son on a quest to recover the antique.

Why would someone set a fire just to steal a chair?

Paul LaBont, against the wise advice of his mother, Marcella, promises his father that he will recover the chair. Along the way, strange dreams, accidents and missteps cause Paul to wonder what the commotion is all about – is the chair a blessing, a curse or just a stick of furniture?

Paul’s quest leads him to a mysterious family and the discovery of artwork equal to, and greater than, those of the renowned masters. But to recover the chair, he must agree to a deal – sit in the chair and create a saleable masterpiece that will keep the family from bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, Marcella sets up her easel and starts to paint again to keep her own family from financial devastation, and through the eyes of others, finally sees her own natural talent, a gift from God.

Her husband remains obsessed with the chair and struggles to accept his wife’s re-instated passion for art while trying to reconcile himself to the possible loss of use of his hands. Without the chair, even with usable hands, the senior LaBont fears he has no talent left.

This explanation of the human weakness to place extreme value and ascribe powers to an inanimate object is cleverly done. The author, DeSimone, explores the vulnerability of mankind as acceptance of superstition and the evil that lies beneath.

Above average characterization, vivid description and a likeable hero combine to create a worthy addition to bookshelves of a diverse audience.

Though written with a Christian message, non-believers will also enjoy the unusual premise, a mystery to unravel, characters that grow, and ultimately, the role of man in the war between good and evil.

An added benefit for readers of Leonardo’s Chair is an included study guide; which promotes group reading and interaction to explore the real-world subjects introduced by a fictional story.
Dian Moore is a freelance writer, editor and reviewer and the hands behind Hands for Hope, www.handsforhope.com. If you would like to write to Dian, you can do so via the Letters page of this magazine.