When I heard that one of my favorite Catholic authors and bloggers, Karen Edmisten, had a new book coming out, I was delighted. When I heard it was about Mary, I was ecstatic. When I heard it was a book of daily quotes and reflections, I was…unsure of what to expect.

Now, mind you, I love quotes. And I love reflections. But the daily thing? Well, it usually ends up being a bit much for me. I fizzle out after a month, and then, having failed, I somehow justify continuing in my downward spiral and I either give the book away or shelve it indefinitely.

What arrived from Amazon, Through the Year with Mary: 365 Reflections, was not at all what I expected. At 117 pages, it was slim enough to fit into any purse I would leave the house with. The quotes were not the usual Marian fare and the reflections were substantial, though often only a sentence long.

I read this book in about a week — a month or two each evening after it came — and I can tell you, with complete confidence, that it’s completely worth what you’ll spend for it. Whether you use it as it’s intended, as a daily devotional, or you read it as it suits you, you’ll find that you glimpse Mary in unexpected ways. The combination of off-the-beaten-track quotes and Edmisten’s accompanying meditation makes for a read that sticks with you in the very best way.

More than once, I found myself texting quotes to friends who needed them and I also found myself moved by the divine touch I felt on my soul as I read through this book. Edmisten found quotes that speak to everyone where they are and that make Mary a close confidante and a comrade-in-arms. Rather than shock her reader with the glory of Mary, she presents the beauty of the down-to-earth, the fact of the living, breathing woman, and the feel of arms embracing you as you read.

I’ve long admired Edmisten’s writing for its humor and wit, but with this book, she stretches her reader by planting the seeds of devotion to Mary. Rather than extol Mary’s virtues and make an impossibly long list of what we should all do, she expertly weaves others’ words together with a touch of her own insight.

The final product, you’ll find, is a beautiful compilation and a lovely read, whether you savor it through the year or devour it all at once and come back to it again and again.

No need for a disclaimer on this book review; I bought this book with my own money, and I’m sure I’ll be buying more copies of it to share with friends and family members. It gets my highest recommendation.