Elevate Difference

The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder

_"This world is made up of stories—every person's story, those that are hidden, and those that are outright and clear. This is the story of one named for a flower." _

The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder is the story of a young girl's experience growing up in 1950s Louisiana. Rebecca Wells, author of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, creates a powerful new heroine in Calla Lily Ponder. From an early age, Calla Lily realizes she has inherited her mother's unique gift of healing through beauty and she resolves to continue the tradition by opening her own hair salon. Calla Lily possesses the ability to transform a woman through her hair, or as her mother calls it her "crowning glory."

Throughout the course of her journey, Calla Lily copes with first love, her mother's battle with cancer, and life in New Orleans. Nurtured by her small town upbringing, Calla Lily faces every obstacle with fierce strength and unwielding determination. She culls her strength from various sources, most notably her beloved mother "M'Dear," the ethereal Moon Lady, and Louisiana herself. This strength not only drives Calla Lily towards accomplishing her goal but also carries her through periods of heartbreak and crippling grief.

Rebecca Wells allows the reader to travel to Louisiana through Calla Lily, and by the end of the novel, you feel you have shared an intimate conversation with each of her characters. Never having been to Louisiana myself, this book made me want to buy a plane ticket and escape to Calla Lily's magical community, La Luna. My only criticism of the novel is that the story line at times feels somewhat familiar and predictable. Regardless, The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder is a great summer read, and I hope Rebecca Wells brings us more from this impressive heroine and her circle of friends.

Written by: Samara Sousa, August 24th 2009

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