Bristlecone Magic

There is more than one kind of magic.

Young Adult - Fantasy - Urban
190 Pages
Reviewed on 10/14/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I have been editing mostly fiction for 11 years and I never thought of myself as a writer. But I started writing short stories using pictures as a prompt thanks to Michelle Renee Goodhew of Mundus Media Ink, a cover artist I met several years ago.

Last summer (June 2020) I saw a photo on LinkedIn, a creation entitled Inversion House. It caught my attention and the short story I intended to write morphed into Bristlecone Magic, my YA Christian fantasy.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

In Bristlecone Magic by Dennis De Rose, Jim Honeycutt sits beside a creek, contemplating his past. He is still haunted by the memory of losing his twin brother John so tragically. Jim cannot bear the thought of life without John, especially since it was his actions that caused the tragedy. Suddenly, something magical occurs which Jim cannot explain and as John's funeral is planned, the strange occurrences continue. As Jim struggles to come to terms with his grief, he begins a journey of self-enlightenment with the help of his family and the wider community. Jim realizes that to truly live, your life must have a worthwhile purpose. He begins to understand the difference that small acts of kindness and generosity can make to another person's life. As Jim heals and ensures his brother will always be remembered, he discovers that every action has a consequence. Positive actions towards others are rewarded and returned to you always if you pledge to do the right thing every day.

Bristlecone Magic by Dennis De Rose is such a comforting read and full of important moral lessons. I adored the beginning when Jim was recollecting the events that led to losing his beloved twin John. The author captured Jim's grief, guilt, and sadness perfectly. There are many emotional scenes throughout the novel, especially when Jim placed the purple pine cone in John's hand and said his goodbyes. The plot highlights the magical powers we all possess if we let go of our negative inner dialogue. The events in this novel demonstrate that everything happens for a reason; even negative situations are there to teach us valuable lessons. The community spirit throughout the story was extremely heartwarming and shows what can be accomplished by working as a collective. I loved the scenes which showed the power of gratitude and the importance of generosity to others. The telescope scene also highlighted the law of attraction beautifully. The relationship between Jim and Julie was so loving and supportive and this developed perfectly as the plot progressed. Every character was created with a great deal of care and consideration and the dialogue exchanges between them were amazing. This is a wonderful story of hope, positivity, and optimism.

Edith Wairimu

Bristlecone Magic by Dennis De Rose is a young adult story that explores the themes of guilt, family, and grief. Physically shaken but otherwise uninjured, Jimmy leaves the medical center overwhelmed by guilt. Hours earlier, he had been involved in a tragic accident that would change his life forever. He wondered how he would face his loving parents who were now grieving for the loss of their other son. Unable to sleep, Jim goes for a walk the following morning. As he thinks through the events that led to the previous night’s tragedy, he recalls the wonderful memories they had spent as a family. Still in shock, Jim struggles with the thought of facing his parents. While still out pondering everything that had happened the night before, Jim stumbles upon something unexpected.

In Bristlecone Magic, Dennis De Rose shows the devastating moments that a family experiences after loss through the Honeycutt family. Jim is burdened by guilt when his brother dies and struggles to explain to his parents the circumstances surrounding the event. The story is set in a lovely community where neighbors and friends support each other through tragedies. Supporting characters are loyal and encouraging. Despite his adventurous nature, Jim is also shown to be hard-working and determined. I loved the fantasy element included within the story which adds suspense to the story. Bristlecone Magic by Dennis De Rose explores friendship, family, and loss. Its scenes follow stages of grief through the main character and they emphasize the critical themes of self-forgiveness and moving forward.

Samantha Gregory

Bristlecone Magic by Dennis De Rose is a mostly dialogue-driven fantasy story that follows Jimmy, a young man who recently celebrated his 20th birthday. He has a twin brother John. Jim and John took their father's car out for a drive late one night with fresh snow on the ground. Despite not driving very fast, they struck a deer and John ended up gored in the neck by one of the antlers. Jim is trying to deal with what happened, alongside his parents. They work hard to support each other, but they are all very upset. They come together to deal with the grief that they feel and this extends out to the people around them too. The story was well written and the characters were well developed too. The story moved at a good pace and it kept me reading.

Dennis De Rose has written an interesting book with Bristlecone Magic. Being primarily dialogue-driven isn't something you see a lot of in novels, but I think given the subject matter that it works for this story. It touches on some tough subjects such as grief and guilt, but it shows what people can do if they come together and support each other. I think Jimmy is a good character to follow in this story and I think it would appeal to young adults and readers looking for something a little bit different. I would recommend it because it is different from what is on the market at the moment.

Vincent Dublado

Bristlecone Magic is a novel that will renew your belief in miracles and in the kindness of people. Dennis De Rose writes a dialogue-driven plot about the Honeycutt family. While their parents were sleeping, Jim invites his brother Johnny for a short drive. Tragedy strikes when a ten-point buck crosses the slippery country road and although John brakes, the car hits the animal. Jim begins to live a guilt-ridden life over the death of his brother. But his life takes a miraculous turn when he stumbles upon a gnarly root of the largest tree he has ever seen. Jim starts to have lucid dreams about his late brother, and he finds a dark, heavy two-inch wooden cube that contains cryptic symbols. Jim is not aware that this mystery will lead him to find his way back toward healing and renewal.

Bristlecone Magic is not just a spiritual story. The conclusion of this novel makes an impact as things are revealed about their family’s past that involves being saved by God from a tragedy that Jim is not aware of. The novel is not outright religious, but it tries to illustrate God’s kindness through the actions of its characters. It is filled with scenes that demonstrate the importance of friends and family when coping with loss. Jim’s relationship with Julie Johnson is romantically charged, and the way she helps Jim to decode the mystery of the tree has spiritual power in itself. Dennis De Rose has written a hale and hearty tale that puts emphasis on age-old values that seem to be rare in fiction nowadays. It is a feel-good novel that will lift your spirits and make you give the important people in your life a second look.

Joy Hannabass

Honeycutt Haven is a small family farm in upstate New York. Jim couldn't wait for him and his twin John to take the car out alone, so he talked John into driving one night. But what they weren't expecting was a big buck to jump out in front of the car. John braked but could not miss the deer. Sadly, John lost his life, and Jim survived, but he always felt guilty because he thought it was his fault. A day or so later, walking through the woods, Jim came upon a tree. A huge weird tree. A tree that hummed. The only people he trusted with this tree's location were his friends Tom and Julie. Come follow these friends on their journey to find out what this tree is, what it means, why it hums. It's all in this really good fantasy read; Bristlecone Magic by Dennis De Rose.

It took me a little longer reading Bristlecone Magic because I ended up going back and reading scenes over again. I grew quite fond of this family and especially Jim and Julie. The farm and home scenes were nicely done and I enjoyed the strong descriptions of the family. The journey through the tree mystery and miracle was the most fun for me. These teens reminded me of when I was young and things we cousins would get into. It was nice to see their kindness and being so respectful. Dennis De Rose does an awesome job creating realistic characters and their development throughout the story. And the ending is worth the wait, at least for me. If you enjoy a clean and enjoyable Christian fantasy, you will enjoy this one.