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Latest Chicken Soup for the Soul book features P.E.I. writer’s debut story

Marlene Bryenton reads a preview copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels All Around. It’ll be released on Aug. 27, and it’ll feature a short story that she wrote.
Marlene Bryenton reads a preview copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels All Around. It’ll be released on Aug. 27, and it’ll feature a short story that she wrote. - Daniel Brown
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

When Marlene Bryenton was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998, she prayed that God would put people and circumstances in her life to help her during a hard time.

Her prayers were answered.

And readers around the world will soon be able to find out how as the Prince Edward Island woman has had her story about a special angel accepted for an upcoming edition of “Chicken Soup for the Soul”.

“I knew that I had this story and I had to tell it,” said Bryenton, who will be the only P.E.I. writer in this book, entitled “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels All Around”.

Back in March of 2018, the retired Charlottetown woman woke up around 6 a.m. and went about her routine – coffee and the newspaper. As she wandered from page to page, she came across a press release.

It read that “Chicken Soup for the Soul”, a popular book series, was planning to release another instalment. Each book features 101 inspiring short stories, and the next one, subtitled “Angels All Around”, was looking for story submissions.

She dashed to her computer and started typing.

“This was the perfect opportunity.”

She pumped out the two-page story, made a few edits and then submitted it – one of thousands the series receives for each book they print, she said.

“It was definitely a divine intervention.”

The series originated in 1993, and Bryenton received her first “Chicken Soup” book as a gift when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998. Her mother, Ruth Carmichael, had died of breast cancer in 1967.

“When I got that book, I never dreamed my story would one day be in one.”

The book helped lift her spirits, but it would be a chance meeting that would assure her she wasn’t fighting her battle all alone.

That year, one of her colleagues was running a production of “The Secret Garden” at the Confederation Centre of the Arts. Bryenton went alone and ended up sitting next to a stranger.

“I do not believe in coincidences. This lady was put here for a reason.”

They started chatting, and Bryenton’s diagnosis came up during their conversation.

“The outcome was simply awesome.”

What the stranger said filled Bryenton with peace and calmness. She felt as if her mother was telling her everything would be OK, she said.

“I was going to be well again.”

Afterwards, she knew her prayers had been answered. 

Was this the work of an angel? Well, you’ll just have to read the story.

Story accepted

Bryenton, who is now cancer-free, didn’t hear anything back from “Chicken Soup” for over a year, making her think they weren’t interested.

“Because it was a really long time.”

But this June, she was informed she had made it to the next selection phase. Two weeks later, her story, “Secret Garden Angel”, was accepted.

The book will be released on Aug. 27. Bryenton will be signing copies at Indigo bookstore in Charlottetown on Aug. 31, 1-3 p.m.

She plans to continue writing, even if she never gets published again. She hopes her story inspires both would-be writers and those affected by cancer. 

“It was definitely a divine intervention.”

Twitter.com/dnlbrown95
 

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