Known for her beloved Ya-Ya books (
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Little Altars Everywhere, and
Ya-Yas in Bloom), Rebecca Wells has helped women name, claim, and celebrate their shared sisterhood for over a decade.
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?
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.
"The novel is chock-full of Southern charm and sassy wisdom." (
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Full of southern charm