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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
The beauty of life abounds on this planet. And it is all a gift from our loving God. There are places that overwhelm us with the power of His majesty, like Banff and Venice, and the never-ending, breathtaking skies of the Canadian prairies. But even amidst all this beauty, where one can love and be loved, one can be happy and carefree, there is also sadness. For sometimes that which is beautiful, a person, a treasured child, is taken away from us. And, though we mourn their passing, we also rejoice in their everlasting salvation and realize that we will be together again.
Audrey Maloney-Vangen is a remarkable poet. Her words speak volumes of the powers of beauty, love, happiness and sorrow in A Bit of Splendid Things. A poem about Banff paints a picture of a space where beauty knows no limitations. “I am humbled beyond words by Banff’s beauty!/ Who can touch the Hands that created this place?” Another poem, this one recounting the poet’s first view of the great prairie skies, "So glorious! And so great, a bit much for me to behold!/some of the clouds, as if I can reach!” And then there’s the sorrow, the loss of a child. When her daughter, Shanice, dies from cancer at the young age of twenty, “No words can replace your beauty Shanice, your/ kindness and your passion…/ but words thank God does come with it,/ In many forms of descriptions.”
But words do paint a picture, and if words are not enough, there are Audrey’s spectacular photographs. For seeing is believing and, as is written in John, “In the beginning was the word….” Audrey’s poetry interweaves the power of the word and the images these words evoke. Through rhyming verse and free verse, she writes from the soul, with a passion for her Creator. A very eloquent and compassionate look at the world around us.