Reviewed by Kayti Nika Raet for Readers' Favorite
Reflections of Sandra by Michelle Heynen is the inspirational story of the author’s journey during her mother’s cancer diagnosis, and how she struggled and overcame grief after her mother's death. Part biography, part autobiography, Reflections of Sandra is filled with pride and love for a remarkable woman who persevered despite the hardships in her life. And from reading Heynen's work, it seems as though a lot of the perseverance has passed on to her daughter. Reflections of Sandra is mostly prose, but it is interspersed with moving bits of poetry as well as segments that encourage the reader to reflect on their own life and the relationship they have with their family.
Love for family is a central theme throughout the book and while Heynen's grief over her mother's passing shows through, so does her love. Readers worried that they might encounter a sad book will be assured that while Sandra's passing is an important part of the story, her life is even more so. Those grieving a deceased loved one may find the understanding and motivation they need within these pages. The book doesn't truly start until at least a dozen pages in and at first I was confused as the front matter was full of testimonies from different points of view. But as I continued on, I learned more about the life Sandra lived and the effect she had on people. I came to realize that the front matter was a memorial left by those whose lives she touched. In Reflections of Sandra, Michelle Heynen has crafted a remarkable, heartwarming body of work.