Steal Away Home

Owen Cross, from a small town in Shenandoah, Va., thought playing baseball was all he ever wanted. His passion was instilled by his father, Paul, whose big league aspirations were cut short by an injury. Paul--a high school janitor--encouraged Owen to master all aspects of the game. But when Owen crossed paths and fell in love with Michaela "Micky" Dullahan, a rebellious local girl "considered plain white trash," his life was upended. Micky's family was poor and struggling, her father a notorious alcoholic. Owen and Micky forged a bond they kept secret, lest they face familial and public disapproval. And the limits of their relationship became even more dramatically tested as Owen readied to leave for college on a baseball scholarship.

At the age of 29--in the 1990s, the heyday of Cal Ripkin and Derek Jeter--Owen is finally called up from the minor leagues to serve as a fill-in catcher for the Baltimore Orioles, playing against the New York Yankees in the Bronx. Over the course of that one special Major League baseball game, star-struck Owen closely re-examines his life and the emotionally charged circumstances that led to the pinnacle of his long-held dream.

Coffey (Some Small Magic) beautifully renders a thought-provoking story about the stony path toward spiritual enlightenment. As Owen experiences all nine innings of the big game, the idea of time and how it can lend perspective rises to the fore of this powerful, inspirational story centered on the bittersweet nature of grace and redemption. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

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