Monday 15 March 2021

Treasures Visible & Invisible 8 Stories for Teens - Catholic Teen Books

Treasures: Visible & Invisible 
8 Stories for Teens 
From Catholic Teen Books
ISBN 9780997971873 

This is the third collection from the authors of Catholic Teen Books. It was an inspiring read. Some stories are of miracles, and others about change. Two contributors from the previous collection did not contribute and two new ones have joined the fray. In this collection are8 stories from the 14 authors who currently compose the collective. My first thought was wow! What an amazing collection of stories around Saint Patrick! I am aware that not everyone likes short stories, but I love them, and this collection is amazing! Short stories are a different art form than novels, and not all novelists have mastered the craft. For a short story to be good, the writing needs to be tighter, cleaner and crisper. And each of the 8 in this collection is extremely well written. One of the things I normally love about reading anthologies is discovering new authors. That was not the case this time. I have read books by all but one of the contributors and had very high expectations for this collection. I loved the previous two anthologies Secrets Visible & Invisible and Gifts Visible & Invisible from the authors at Catholic Teen Books.

The contributors in this volume are:
Theresa Linden 
Susan Peek 
Antony Barone Kolenc 
Amanda Lauer 
Carolyn Astfalk 
Leslea Wahl 
T. M. Gaouette 
Corinna Turner

In this collection we have one short story from each of the contributors. Some contain characters you may encounter in novels by the authors, that are already in print or have plans to be soon. Some are characters that are like old friends that we will be visiting again. And others are people we are just meeting for the first time. I have read this anthology once and I have listened to it a second time, and already plan to read it again closer to the feast of Saint Patrick. I said it last time and I state it again, this is one of the best anthologies I have ever encountered containing Catholic or Christian fiction!

The stories are:
Treasure In The Bogs - Theresa Linden
A Single Day . . . Or Not - Susan Peek
Lucy And The Hidden Clover - Antony Barone Kolenc
Lucky And Blessed - Amanda Lauer
Danke - Carolyn Astfalk
Grace Among Gangsters - Leslea Wahl
In Mouth Of Friend And Stranger - T. M. Gaouette
The Underappreciated Virtues Of Green-Fingered Monsters - Corinna Turner

As I have mentioned, this is a great collection of short stories. I really could not pick a favorite or least favorite from the collection. Each of the stories are well written. And I greatly enjoyed each of them. In the collection, we encounter 3 Historical Fiction stories, a Dystopian, and 3 Contemporary, and one involving time travel or what some would consider Science Fiction. There is a story classified as Historical that I consider more a contemporary. Though I might argue that the last is Science Fiction and not Dystopian, or at least this story, but the world it is set in is definitely Dystopian. And here is a summary of each story.

Treasure In The Bogs 

A wonderful retelling of the life of Saint Patrick. Drawing from his own writings, and the legends surrounding this saint. Linden has written a fantastic version. An excellent way to kick off the collection.

A Single Day . . . Or Not 

A story adapted from an Irish legend. An unnamed monk given a name. A name that means forgotten. Susan Peek is known for her exceptional historical fiction. For bringing the lives of lesser known saints to life. And she has done so wonderfully yet again.

Lucy And The Hidden Clover 

This story is set in the world we first encountered in Shadow in the Dark and in it Antony Barone Kolenc surprises us yet again. The novel is the first in the Harwood Mysteries. And this short story has a mystery of its own. A mystery of a secret, a stone, and lives given and transformed by God. 

Lucky And Blessed 

Amanda Lauer is the only contributor whose works I am unfamiliar with. But this story is so well written that even though Laurer writes primarily in a genre I tend not to read I am itching to pick up one of her books. I have read a lot of non-fiction set during the time period of this story over the last few years. Many biographies and histories. This story could easily be from real life. And if a novel with these characters is published, I will be picking it up the day it is available. 


Again in this story we encounter characters from what is a work in progress. The story is set in historical Johnstown Pennsylvania. A few years before the great flood. The mysterious Shamrock stone again makes an appearance and changes hands. Legends around the stone are growing. And this story adds to them. A brother, a family, a stranger, and the fear of scarlet fever. 

Grace Among Gangsters 

The characters in this story also appear in the novel A Summer to Treasure. This is a story about a family, legends about the treasure of the Sultana, the DiGiovanni crime family in Kansas City, and archeologist that end up getting more than they bargained for. 

In Mouth Of Friend And Stranger 

Saints or angels in disguise. That is my thought upon rereading this story. This story fits in a long history of Saints appearing and helping someone in great need. It is masterfully written. The story is very moving. To be honest I would love to know more of both Pat's and Hannah's stories. It is well written and keeps your attention. I love the use of St Patrick's Lorica. I love where Gaouette’s writings are going. They have more edge. It is masterfully written and keeps your attention. An excellent story.

The Underappreciated Virtues Of Green-Fingered Monsters 

This story gives us a very different look at a leader of a sorting facility. It gives us new insights into Kyle, Margaret and Bane. But even if you have not read any of the I am Margaret stories this is a well crafted short story with a few twists and surprises.

I will state that for fans of the authors in this collection, you need to pick this book up to read their contribution, of the pieces that expands their universe you are already familiar with. For readers who love excellent short stories, this collection is also for you. If you want some great reads that are clean Catholic\Christian fiction focused around the Saint Patrick and a stone shamrock, this is the book for you.

This anthology is amazing! And I can only hope that Catholic Teen Books releases another collection soon. I cannot imagine what they would come up with in a collection focused on Lent, Holy Week, and Easter. If you love great short stories you owe it to yourself to give this collection a try! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan!

Links to other reviews of books by the contributors:
Antony Barone Kolenc

1 comment:

Carolyn Astfalk said...

Thanks so much for reading, reviewing, and sharing! God bless.