The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells
Reasons for reading: I enjoyed her Ya-Ya books years ago; I like Southern lit; Fall Into Reading Challenge
Synopsis (from Barnes and Noble): "In the small river town of La Luna, Calla Lily enjoys a blissful childhood under the loving light of the Moon Lady, the feminine force that will guide her throughout her life. From her mother, M'Dear, Calla learns the old, womanly art of healing through "fixing hair." On the same river banks, Calla tastes the sweetness of first love. But when a broken heart knocks the breath out of her, Calla transforms hurt into inspiration and heads for the wild and colorful city of New Orleans to study at L'Academie de Beaute de Crescent. In that extravagant big river city, she comes to understand fully the power of her "healing hands" to change lives and soothe pain, including her own."
First line: "I know the moon and the moon knows me."
My thoughts: This was a sweet book, mostly a coming-of-age story. I liked that Calla Lily enjoyed life in both New Orleans and her beloved La Luna, but that she came home in the end. There is a lot of love in this book - almost everyone who knows Calla Lily loves her and she is a very loving person. There is also a lot of sadness in her young life, but thankfully she has enough people to comfort her along the way. Her relationship with her family, especially M'Dear, is lovely and she has some very true friends in Sukey and Renee - the three girls are very different, but they make a great trio. Calla Lily is smart, spunky, and amibitious but a good girl at heart, Renee is very quiet and a homebody, and sexy Sukey just wants to have fun.
I had a wee bit of trouble with the magical realism element of healing through hairdressing. Although maybe I was just envious of Calla's clients - I'd love to be able to have someone give me a shampoo and draw the pain from my soul at the same time!!
There is a lot of lovely moon and river imagery and I liked the theme of the Moon Lady watching over Calla and her loved ones.
The verdict: A good read with the message that people are basically good and that love, music, good food, and a good hairdo can go a long way to helping to heal a person's pain.