For just six days, once every 100 years, a small bay near an island off Washington’s coast glows in stunning ribbons of green. It is called “The Miracle,” and is said to give powers to those who ingest it. 

The bright water-bound glow, similar to the pulsing of the Northern Lights, is that of bioluminescent arthropods — millions of them in the water — as they live their entire life span in six days in shallow ocean water. The arthropods are honored and protected by the native people of Olloo’et Island. When swallowed, they are said to have hallucinogenic and analgesic effects on a person. They also are source to many myth and folklores told around the area of cures, magic and miracles. 

Dr. Rachel Bell is a scientist with the University of Wisconsin studying the highly unique phenomenon. Coping with her own physical ailments, Rachel has her own personal reasons beyond that of science for the research, however. The scientific research is merely a cover for what she wants most. She secretly harbors hope that “The Miracle” can halt her unrelenting pain, end her suffering, and ultimately save her life. The hope leads to obsession, and that obsession will lead her astray. She hijacks some of the arthropods to try it herself — and also try to replicate their magic for future use. She starts secret experiments outside the research camp.

Rachel meets Harry and Tilda, a formerly married couple still residing together as Harry enters his last days battling with the last stages of a devastating neurologic disease. Rachel sees the need he has — as another candidate to be saved by The Miracle. Harry becomes attached to the hope Rachel carries. They both grasp at threads of chance both their lives at this short-lived, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, that could drastically change the trajectory of their paths.

Unknown to them, or unheard in the warnings whispered, The Miracle impacts people differently, and often strangely. 

Rachel has just six days to figure it all out before the waters again return to black for another 100 years.

Ashley Ream’s voice is astounding in “The 100 Year Miracle.” Her tale is told in vivid detail with relatable and sympathetic characters you can’t help but wish for cures for. The science is surprisingly sound for that of a work of fiction — enough to be believable and readable. I was mailed an advance copy of the novel in exchange for an honest book review before its release. Having read her first novel, “Saving Clementine,” I was excited to read her next work of fiction. I was not disappointed, with Ream’s fast sense of wit, thrilling plot points and interesting characters. I continue to look forward other future work. 

“It was the very end of the very last day of the breeding, a thing that would not occur again for another century. It was so rare and so wondrous that comets and meteor strikes seemed workaday by comparison. Newspapers and television reporters had taken to calling it the 100-Year Miracle. It did things to people, this miracle. Strange and not wholly wonderful things.”