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Book Review: The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder

October 16, 2009

I read The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells for my book club this month. I have to be honest, I would not have picked this book for myself. This is the same author who wrote Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (DSotYYS) which I enjoyed, but also did not choose for myself. DSotYYS was given to me by my closest girl friend in high school. I seriously contemplated skipping this month’s book club book because I just could not feel enthusiastic about the story based on the publishing blurb. I thought a story set in Louisiana about a small-town girl named “Calla Lily” who believes in the “Moon Lady” and goes to beauty school in New Orleans after her first love breaks her heart, sounded completely uninteresting. But ultimately, I decided that’s the point of a book club anyway – to read books you might not otherwise read – and decided to be a good sport. I am so glad I did!!

I liked the writing style, and it completely sucked me in to the story. I read the entire book in 2 nights, and I cried at least 3 times. While this is definitely a chick-lit book, the story is very touching and is more about relationships, finding yourself, and how life and the universe will eventually come full circle. I also loved the characters in this book. Sometimes the heroine in chick-lit drives me crazy, or is too sweet, naive, etc… you can pretty much take your pick of stereotypical feminine adjectives. Calla Lily was just the right mixture of qualities to keep me invested in her story without getting annoyed or bored. Rebecca Wells also does a wonderful job of describing the emotions of loss – from hurt, to anger, to hopelessness, to finally recovering – as well as the complexities of falling in love. Reading this book definitely made me miss and appreciate my husband and our happy, loving marriage even more than usual. If you enjoy chick-lit and/or are looking for a sweet, yet emotional, story, I would definitely recommend this book. I gave it 4 stars on goodreads.

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