Monday, February 1, 2010

REVIEW: THE CROWNING GLORY OF CALLA LILLY PONDER

The Crowning Glory of Calla Lilly Ponder by Rebecca Wells
Challenge covered:  "Reading from my shelves 2010"

This was my first ever win from a blog contest way back in August.  I won this book from She's Too Fond of Books.  THANKS, DAWN!

The first thing I will say that I love about this book is the cover, does that not just scream "SUMMER!" at you?  The unrestrained joy on that young girls face just says it all.  I loved Calla Lilly.  She is a bursting beautiful girl, who is swimming in love from those around her.  The first half of this book just had me immediately captivated.  For one thing I have always been a big moon lover.  I am forever calling my oldest daughter out from wherever she is in the house to gaze out the window at the moons beauty.  It is such a soothing orb, with its gentle bathing light.  Sigh.   I love her.  So, the fact that she plays such a large part of this story, really made it aces in my book. 

The next thing I loved was the relationship between Calla's mother (M'dear) and Calla.  These two had an extraordinary bond, and you could truly see that Calla saw her mother as a goddess.  Now I think it needs to be said here:

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!
















When Calla learns of her mother's cancer, I was devestated.  And the one scene that had me in absolute tears was when M'dear and Papa come and woke Calla and her brothers at 3 AM and take them to the dance studio that they own.  There they partake in one of the most moving dance experiences I have ever read.  Made me cry, I mean actual TEARS, people!  What a beautiful way to say good-bye. 

The friendship that she shares with Suke and Renee is also believable and thoroughly enjoyable!  And let's not forget about Tuck, her first love whom she met as a rag-tag boy who stepped off a bus completely alone in the small sleepy town of La Luna.

La Luna is a character in and of itself.  The town has an "aliveness" to it that is extremely charming, and if it really exsisted I would want to live there.  Wells has a way of describing Louisana and the ever present heat and music and life of the place that makes you truly escape among the pages of her book.

Once Calla has her heart broken by Tuck, and she decides to make the brave move to New Orleans was when the book fell a bit flat for me.  For some reason the story lost its zing.  I think it was mainly when she met her husband, Sweet.  I just didn't "feel" the love they had for eachother.  For Calla, who so passionately loved everyone in her life, and the world around her, I just didn't get that passion for her husband.  I still can't put my finger on why.  Later, when she is reunited with Tuck I then felt the passion was back.  Eventhough she said that she really loved Sweet, and had no doubt about him, I just didn't get that from their marriage.

All in all I have to say I did enjoy this one.  My overall feeling about it when I look at the cover is a nice warm loving embrace.  What will stay with me forever is the relationship between Calla and M'dear, and what this book did for me is made me want to strive for that kind of relationship with my daughters.  We are very close, and crazy about eachother, but it was the way in which M'dear made everything in Calla's life sacred, beautiful and a CELEBRATION!  It reminded me to do that for my girls more often.  And if THAT'S not a gift you can get from reading... .then I don't know what is, "y'all."  :0) 

RATING:  3/5

6 Blabs:

Natalie W said...

I have this in my tbr pile. Sounds like a great book, can't wait to read it!

carolsnotebook said...

I don't know if I'll read this one or not, but I loved the last few sentences of your review.

Kaye said...

I liked this one too but not as much as The Divine Secrets of the Petite Ya-ya's. You're right about Wells's ability to impart the heat of LA to the reader. I can almost feel the humidity emanating from the pages.

Diane said...

I plan to give this one a try! Thanks for the review.

bookmagic said...

I love the cover too. I'm on the fence though for a 3 star book

Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

This sounds sweet. And your right, the cover just screams joyous summer fun!

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