Bouncy, chirpy, and brave, Calla Lily Ponder faces life's joys and tragedies in the '50s and '60s in La Luna, Louisiana, with help from her hairdresser mother, M'Dear; her best friends, Renee and Sukey; and a delightful cast of the wise and likable characters Wells (Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood) is known for. Judith Ivey's performance is a pure joy - sweet, hopeful, and tender. Her interpretations are completely winning, whether she's describing terrible instances of racism or offering M'Dear's down-home wisdom. Ivey makes it easy to believe in Calla Lily's messages from "The Moon Lady" or the effects of her miraculous healing hands. Ivey's accents ring true, her characters have substance, her voice is lovely, and her timing is perfect. An audio gem.
Now Wells debuts an entirely new cast of characters in this shining stand-alone novel about the pull of first love, the power of life, and the human heart's vast capacity for healing.
The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder is the sweet, sexy, funny journey of Calla Lily's life set in Wells's expanding fictional Louisiana landscape. In the small river town of La Luna, Calla 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 cut short. Her mother, M'Dear, a woman of rapture and love, teaches Calla compassion, and passes on to her the art of healing through the humble womanly art of "fixing hair". At her mother's side, Calla further learns that this same touch of hands on the human body can quiet her own soul.
It is also on the banks of the La Luna River that Calla encounters sweet, succulent first love, with a boy named Tuck. But when Tuck leaves Calla with a broken heart, she transforms hurt into inspiration and heads for the wild and colorful city of New Orleans to study at L'Académie de Beauté de Crescent.
In that extravagant big river city, she finds her destiny - and comes to understand fully the power of her "healing hands" to change lives and soothe pain, including her own. When Tuck reappears years later, he presents her with an offer that is colored by the memories of lost love. But who knows how Cally Lily, a "daughter of the Moon Lady", will respond?
©2009 Rebecca Wells; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
"The novel is chock-full of Southern charm and sassy wisdom." (Publishers Weekly)
Judith Ivey brings all the characters to life in an amazing performance. Not as sassy as the Ya-Ya's, but more "homespun" like Fannie Flagg's stories.
Having been to New Orleans before, the story takes the reader to many popular attractions I enjoyed revisiting.
I would definitely seek out more Judith Ivey reads and will continue to read Rebecca Wells without considering other reviewers' comments.
Fantastic and charming - a wonderful read for anyone who yearns for a slow, southern life - either the one you lived, or the one you wish you lived. I laughed, I cried, and then I laughed all over again -
I only listened to about a quarter of this book - I was bored to tears. I hate spending good money on a book only to be so thoroughly dissapointed. The narrator was dull, the story went nowhere - what more can I say - don't waste your money.
This book was very predictable. If you want to read about funeral after funeral, this is the book for you
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