Shortly after I added “review a book” to my list of 46 Things (No, I haven’t posted it yet, it’s still at 45 Things, maybe I’m in denial?) I received an email asking me if I would be interested in reviewing a book. To be honest, I had to think about it for a moment. You see, this came just when both of my girls were struggling with big book reports and I so didn’t want to go down that route. I was thinking more along the lines of some blurb on our county library web site. So, I asked a few questions such as, did I have to say I liked it? Or did it have to be in five paragraph essay format…or even formal? Fortunately, I was told that all I had to do was be honest and fair. I knew I could do that, so I accepted.
I received “The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder” by Rebecca Wells in the mail a couple weeks ago. I meant to start reading it right away so that I could savor it, but it happened that I was busy or just too tired and I just kept putting it off. Lucky for me, this is one of those rare books that I just couldn’t put down once I started it.
This is the official blurb:
“In the small river town of La Luna, Louisiana, Calla Lily Ponder bursts into being, a force of nature as luminous as the flower she is named for. Under the loving light of the Moon Lady, the feminine force that will guide and protect her throughout her life, Calla enjoys a blissful childhood – until it is tragically cut short. From her mother, Calla learns compassion and healing through the humble womanly art of “fixing hair.” On the banks of the La Luna River, she discovers a sweet, succulent first love that is as enticing as the music, food, and dancing of her Louisiana home. When heartbreak hits, Calla leaves the familiarity of her hometown and heads downriver to the untamed city of New Orleans, where her destiny further unfolds.”
What this doesn’t tell you, is that on the surface, this novel is about Calla Lily Ponder who is a young girl that lives a magical life of love and beauty despite all the adversaries she must overcome. It’s really a story of love, loss and everlasting friendship. It even touches on issues of racism, alcoholism and homosexuality in ways to subtly make you think.
Rebecca Wells did a beautiful job of making me feel as though I were in the sweltering heat of the deep South with Calla Lily for most of her life. My girls will attest to the fact that I felt everything Calla felt. (They were a bit concerned when they walked into the room to find tears streaming down my face…and then to hear me laughing out loud a little while later.) Even though I was told I didn’t have to say I liked it, I did. Really.
Because I loved this book so much, I’m going to give it away! Just leave a comment (maybe you can tell me about a book you loved?) and I will do a random drawing and send it off next week.
If you’d like to know more about Rebecca Wells you can listen to a podcast from when Book Club Girl interviewed Rebecca Wells on Wednesday, May 5th. Or catch her on youtube or even find out about her love of bookclubs (of which I’d really like to find one!)