An Angel is Born: A Family's Story
by Wynn Johnson
Author Reputation Press

"Who in the world could have predicted one little girl could have changed so many lives?"

This is the story of Angela Rose Skiles, born to the author's sister and her husband, Lily and Bill, in Springfield, Ohio, on May 2, 1972. Told in two parts, the memoir begins in "the heart of Appalachia" in Weeksbury, Kentucky, "along the western edge of the Cumberland Plateau." Wynn writes of his close-knit family of thirteen in this isolated community and the hardships and responsibilities that fell upon Lily as the oldest girl. He tells of the sorrows and joys shared by the inhabitants of the hollows in the mountains. When Lily and Bill leave Kentucky to pursue better economic opportunities in Ohio, their plans include children. However, the unexpected situation of Angel's severe birth defects meant they would choose to have only one child. The second part of the story tells of their strong sense of family, loyalty, and unwavering devotion to their daughter.

This beautifully and sensitively written book is, at its heart, a love story exemplified in various relationships. For example, it is the love story of a couple who sacrifice everything for the daughter they adore. It is also the love story of Angel and the people and things she loved. Additionally, it is the love story of a brother and uncle profoundly touched by his family's special member. Wynn writes with emotion and compassion about his niece, yet he maintains the ebb and flow of a master storyteller throughout. One is transported to the Appalachians with such finesse that the smell of pine is almost palpable. The book will pull at the heartstrings in its bittersweet telling of this family's stressful struggles and simple joys. It is a wonderfully written testament to the power of love and story.

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