However, I have been diligent and making sure I have finished anything I need to read for book group. This month, we read "The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder: A Novel by Rebecca Wells.
If you're female and like to read, you've probably read one if not several books by Rebecca Wells. Her most popular "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" is pretty much required reading for any book group, especially in the South. (FYI- Rebecca Wells is a new Nashvillian. 'Cause we're cultured, y'all.)
"The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder" is the story of a little girl, Calla Lily (obviously), growing up the very small town (less than 2,000 people) of La Luna, Louisiana. Calla Lily has an idyllic childhood, with doting and loving parents, especially her mother who Calla calls M'Dear. Her family is an integral part of the La Luna community with M'Dear operating the local beauty salon (from the family front porch), and both parents running the local dance studio. Calla also has two solid best friends and an interesting new friend named Tuck who moved to town under curious circumstances. Her life is pretty much perfect until (spoiler alert) her mother gets sick from cancer when Calla is in her early teens. It is about this time that Calla becomes much closer to Tuck, and one of the key moments in the book is when Calla and Tuck decide what to do after high school: do they go to college? Or does Calla become a beautician like her mother?
The story follows Calla until her early thirties, from La Luna to New Orleans and back, and contains all of the love, heartbreak and humor that I would expect from Rebecca Wells. While it's fluffy and a little predictable in parts, it's a very enjoyable book with quirky, relatable characters (especially if you've lived in the South). And yes, it's sappy. There are lines such as "My big brothers and I learned this at an early age: that it is kindness that makes you rich." But it's sappy in a way that will make you feel good about humanity and believe the in the power of family, friendship, community...and of a good beautician.
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