Facing Wonder

Fiction - Action
208 Pages
Reviewed on 12/22/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

Facing Wonder by Jeff Christopher Leonard is speculative fiction that revolves around Julian Wonder, a 46-year-old neurosurgeon in Las Vegas who leads a structured life filled with work, family, and a passion for meteorite hunting. With his sister Mags working with him at his clinic, Julian conducts innovative procedures targeting mental health conditions, connecting with art teacher Mary while discussing potential treatments for her daughter's autism. Tragedy strikes when a family member passes away, but Julian reconnecting with Mary leads to positive change attributed to a meteorite impact. A visit to an alternative therapist sparks conversations about personal limitations, leading Julian to consider attending an ayahuasca retreat. However, when a one-in-a-billion chance injury during the retreat incapacitates Julian, unexpected shifts in the health and welfare of those in his sphere spark uncertainty, initially jubilant, until it becomes something more.

Wow, this book was not what I was expecting at all! Facing Wonder by Jeff Christopher Leonard is a wildly creative blend of science fiction and the metaphysical, and it explores the depths of humanity that we cannot see and fail to comprehend. I loved that Leonard sets Julian up as the protagonist in a story that touches on the most organic fabric of nature, in Las Vegas, which is arguably one of the most artificial environments in the world. It is also near one of the greatest extraterrestrial hotspots, making Julian's obsession with space debris more intriguing. The writing is clean and straightforward, and the cast of characters that builds up around Julian is integral to everything that occurs as part of the plot. To impart pieces of Julian's backstory, as well as his sister Mags', we are fed morsels of their upbringing and family as Leonard bends the arc. Overall, this is a wonderfully thought-provoking book with a lot going for it and a variety of ways it can branch out further. Very highly recommended.

Pikasho Deka

Facing Wonder is a supernatural drama by Jeff Christopher Leonard. Dr. Julian Wonder is an accomplished neurosurgeon who runs the successful Wonder Clinic of the Mind near Las Vegas with his twin sister, Margaret (Mags). Aside from conventional medical treatments, he offers his patients a radical new surgery he calls the 'Cleansing,' which stretches his ethical boundaries to their limits. Additionally, events from his past that led to his father's murder and Mags being paralyzed haunt Julian's dreams. He befriends a fellow meteorite hunter named Mary, with whom he visits an extraordinary man called Hart Blue. But after a meteor piece hit him in the face in a freak accident at Hart's ayahuasca retreat, Julian is in a coma. Now, Mags and Mary must find a way to heal themselves and bring Julian back to life.

Jeff Christopher Leonard delivers an engaging drama with a twist of the paranormal. Facing Wonder is full of mystery, suspense, and intrigue, featuring supernatural elements that add another dimension to the story. The plot is unpredictable and it keeps you guessing until the end. The narrative is character-driven, and Leonard excels in drawing the reader deep into each character's psyche. Each character is well-developed with an agency to their actions and motives. You'll quickly become attached to the relationship dynamics and the story arcs. Julian is a very conflicted man held back by his past trauma. The scenes featuring Julian, Mags, and Mary were some of my favorite parts of the book. Overall, I enjoyed this novel, and if you're looking for a bit of mystery with paranormal overtones, you should too.

Frank Mutuma

Jules has a hobby as a meteorite hunter, but on his way back from an Ayahuasca retreat, a meteorite finds him. The event puts him in a coma. He had started seeing Hart for therapy recently after his sister insisted and bought him the first five sessions. Both Jules and his sister experienced something very traumatic as children. The event left Margaret in a wheelchair; their father was dead, and Jules had to deal with the realization of having killed a person. Jules had grown up to become a neurosurgeon but is currently treating his patients with a different approach that focuses on diet, exercise, and psychotherapy in the Wonder Clinic of the Mind. To find out more about Dr. Wonder, Hart, his sister, and their unconventional therapies, get a copy of Facing Wonder by Jeff Christopher Leonard.

Being a medic, reading Facing Wonder by Jeff Christopher Leonard got me thinking about the role of complementary and alternative medicine in addressing current challenges in treating lifestyle conditions. The work encourages one to have an open mind, and I loved how effective the book is in passing on the intended message. I also loved the warm tone adopted by Jeff, which I found to be very welcoming. The narration is also top-notch, and the vivid descriptions of events and the emotions of the characters also captured my imagination. Readers will also appreciate the seamless flow of the plotline, which leaves no room for confusion. I cannot wait to read something else by this talented author.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

Jeff Christopher Leonard’s Facing Wonder delves into the life of Dr. Julian Wonder, a physician who has been helping patients for years. However, it wasn’t until he incorporated an unorthodox procedure into his practice that he made extraordinary progress. Meanwhile, Julian’s sister, Mags, is concerned about him and suggests that he see a therapist to help him process some of the negative events from their childhood. Julian also becomes romantically involved with Mary, a woman from his meteorite group who has an autistic daughter and a positive outlook on life. As Julian reaches a crossroads in his life, a meteorite disrupts the balance in his and his friends’ lives, leading to supernatural occurrences.

Jeff Christopher Leonard has created a compelling story with elements of adventure, science fiction, suspense, and hints of romance. For the first half of the story, Leonard alternates between the present time and a tragic period in Julian's youth, giving the reader glimpses into some of his extrasensory abilities. Julian seems to have premonitions, and he shares them with others, even though he does very little to act on their warnings. Readers will flip pages quickly as they rush to discover the fates of the characters and learn the reason behind the mysterious events. Leonard's characters remind readers to look at the world with wonder, and this book is an entertaining tale that will resonate long after the last page. Facing Wonder is a good selection for readers who enjoy adventure and science fiction.

Doreen Chombu

Doctor Julian Wonder appears to lead a perfect and tranquil life. He is the owner of the Wonder Clinic of the Mind, which he manages with his twin sister, Margaret. He resides in a modern glass house and enjoys collecting meteorites. However, Julian has a secret that could potentially ruin his career; he is constantly experiencing unexplainable supernatural occurrences. Seeking answers, he takes his sister's advice and visits Doctor Hart, a psychologist who lives in an isolated area and believes that his natural surroundings facilitate his patients' healing process. While attending one of Doctor Hart's healing retreats, an incident occurs that completely transforms Julian's life, as well as that of those around him. They open themselves up to the transforming and healing power of the universe. To follow Julian's journey, read Facing Wonder by Jeff Christopher Leonard.

Facing Wonder blends nature and supernatural elements to tell a story about destiny and healing. Jeff Christopher Leonard is a captivating storyteller who uses intrigue and suspense to grab the reader's attention. The book features well-developed and interesting characters, and the story has a smooth flow. The narrative is not chronological as it gives glimpses into Julian's childhood, highlighting his history with the supernatural. However, the back-and-forth narration does not affect the reader's understanding of the story; instead, this makes it more intriguing. The book is well-written and thought-out, presenting a wonderful message about how the past and present can intersect and how nature and the universe play a significant role in our destiny. I enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who loves unpredictable stories about fate, the supernatural, and helping others.

Jennie More

Facing Wonder by Jeff Christopher Leonard is the story of Dr. Julian Wonder, who runs a clinic to help people recover from mental disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, and anxiety. His center also offers post-recovery through exercise, diet, and counseling. But there's something peculiar about Dr. Wonder's practice, which he hasn't been transparent about, and now it's haunting him. It all links back to his childhood, with his sister Mags, his mother Gretchen, and his father Frank, who lived in a deserted area they didn't enjoy being in and the traumatic experience that changed their lives forever. Though a successful neurosurgeon by day, Dr. Wonder also has a hobby searching for meteorites, and the answer to his life issues and those of his closest might just be revealed to him in his hobby rather than his day job and career.

Facing Wonder by Jeff Christopher Leonard is an engaging, suspenseful, well-written, easy-to-read, relaxing book. I loved this book; it's beautifully written for its target audience, with well-developed characters and a surprising plot with some unexpected twists and turns, which I enjoyed and kept me intrigued. Leonard managed to tackle difficult situations with finesse, which made the plot light-hearted, interweaving witty dialogue between the characters in a subtle yet noticeable way, which made the characters endearing. Reading this book felt effortless, and I was immersed in the story and its characters. Though different, every character and incident of the narrative is somehow related. Although Leonard jumped between the present and Dr. Wonder's past as a child, it was done seamlessly, and there was a clear connection. Leonard did a fantastic job directing the story and keeping his readers' attention.

Luwi Nyakansaila

Facing Wonder by Jeff Christopher Leonard follows the story of Julian (Jules) Wonder, a renowned neurosurgeon who has developed a two-phase cleansing procedure to help people deal with various disorders. His small practice, the Wonder Clinic of the Mind, attracts many clients who can attest to his amazing healing abilities. However, Jules has a secret that could destroy everything he has worked so hard to build. Every day, he struggles with guilt and hopes to overcome his trauma and find peace. His twin sister, Margaret, realizes his struggles and introduces him to Doctor Hart, a mysterious psychologist who uses unconventional methods to help his patients. Jules embarks on a journey of redemption and healing as he begins to visit Doctor Hart and find answers in the most unlikely place and encounters the messengers of the universe.

Facing Wonder by Jeff Christopher Leonard is a unique story that blends different genres to convey a message of self-discovery, inner peace, and healing. The book encompasses paranormal, supernatural, extraterrestrial, and medical elements, and introduces readers to a memorable cast of characters they can easily relate to. It takes readers back to Jules' and Margaret's childhood, highlighting their motivations for helping people overcome mental health issues. The book also explores various mental disorders and emphasizes the significant influence of belief and faith in the healing process. The story raises the question of whether it is ethical to deceive someone to help them. Despite Jules' flaws, his intentions were always noble. The writing style is captivating, and the book offers many valuable lessons. I highly recommend reading Facing Wonder to experience its unique insights.

Essien Asian

Doctor Julian Wonder runs a very successful medical practice where he uses revolutionary ideas to bring healing to his numerous patients. People come from far and wide to see if they can be a part of the wonderful medical revolution he is spearheading. What they do not know is that behind the cheerful and successful exterior that he exudes, Julian Wonder has demons he has yet to come to terms with. Matters come to a head when tragedy strikes during an expedition and the doctor realizes he can no longer avoid the truth. Only time will tell what choice he makes in Jeff Christopher Leonard’s Facing Wonder.

In Facing Wonder, the members of a family dealing with the scars of a traumatic experience find succor from the most unlikely source possible. The characters in this intriguing story are well set up as Leonard uses flashbacks to fill in the origin stories of the principal characters and also explain the unusual dynamics between the Wonder siblings. Leonard adds a unique angle to the mystery courtesy of Julian’s encounters with ghostly apparitions. What stands out about Facing Wonder is the deep introspective tone that one finds in the conversations between the characters, where each of them seeks some form of redress for a prior incident. Jeff Christopher Leonard’s novel will give the reader cause to reflect on his ideas about the healing process and the importance of self-sacrifice when analyzing Hart’s unusual healing therapies. Facing Wonder is an interesting novel with an intriguing view of this life and the hereafter.