The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder
By Rebecca Wells
(Harper, Hardcover, 9780060175313, 416pp.)
Publication Date: July 7, 2009
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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. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood held the top of the New York Times bestseller list for sixty-eight weeks, became a knockout feature film, sold more than 5 million copies, and inspired the creation of Ya-Ya clubs worldwide.
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 childhooduntil 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 destinyand 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 Calla Lily, a "daughter of the Moon Lady," will respond?
A tale of family and friendship, tragedy and triumph, loss and love, The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder features the warmth, humor, soul, and wonder that have made Wells one of today's most cherished writers, and gives us an unforgettable new heroine to treasure.
Writer, actor, and playwright Rebecca Wells is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Ya-Yas in Bloom, Little Altars Everywhere, and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, which was made into a feature film. A native of Louisiana, she now lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest.
Calla Lily Ponder is a girl from Louisiana who learns from her mother the art of healing through hair. But it's not the first story from Rebecca Wells, author of The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, to approach the world through the eyes of a beautician. More at NPR.org
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- Wells lives in Seattle now, but Louisiana is clearly still vivid in her life and work. Talk about Wells' fictional Louisiana, and how the setting of La Luna expands that growing landscape.
“Many readers will recognize that all the characters . . . are creations of a literary goddess in her own right. . . . Down-to-earth and comforting . . . [A] good-hearted, wishful-thinking book.”
“Rebecca Wells is a master of . . . women’s fiction. . . . The novel teaches us that even the worst decisions can be rescued and that approaching the world with love will heal any brokenness in our hearts.”
-Winnipeg Free Press
“[Wells’] descriptions are so lush and lyrical it feels like you could step through the pages into the hot, humid landscape so shaped by the Mississippi River.”
“Fans of Rebecca Wells’ tales of the ‘Ya-Ya Sisterhood’ will find themselves just as enchanted with this story full of Southern charm and lessons in life. . . . With wisdom and insight, Wells guides Calla on her path of self-discovery.”
-Daytona Beach News-Journal
“Calla Lily is a sweetie. . . . This is a novel full of miracles, with characters more colorful than a Crayola 64-crayon box. It’s just the right dose of Southern charm.”
“Told in Wells’ signature style . . . Rich in anecdote and atmosphere . . . This is easily a three-hanky read. . . . the lessons of hope and promises of healing will be a balm to many.”
“The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder will remind you of your first love and power of friendship. As the saying goes, ‘You’ll laugh, you’ll cry.’ But, really, you will.”
“Rebecca Wells has done it again. . . . A new book full of Southern charm and unique characters . . . impossible to put down. . . . Wells delivers characters that are distinct and realistic.”
“Fiction junkies packing for vacation can without hesitation place The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder into the juicy reading pile. There’s period drama, there’s romance, and there’s a lot of fabulous hair all wrapped in a vibrantly Southern package.”
-North Kitsap Herald
“Wells writes genuinely about her native Louisiana. . . . It’s hard not to fall in love with the people in this magical place, where love is as plentiful as the dancing, gumbo and ice-cold Cokes. . . . A perfect beach read about mothers and friends and sisters.”
“All readers will embrace the themes of second chances.”
“Wells brings back the lush beauty of her birthplace. . . . Wide-eyed, big-hearted Calla has more faith than all the ya-yas put together. . . . As ever, the author’s strength lies in her ability to articulate the profound relationship between women.”
“The latest novel by Rebecca Wells, the belle of Southern fiction. . . . is a satisfying coming-of-age tale in a place where the moon glows and the lemonade flows.”
“[A] heaping helping of sugar . . . [for] when you’re feeling nostalgic for a sugarcoated past.”
“Another exuberant tale of Louisiana women . . . who can resist those moonlit nights, those swimming holes, that delicious cochon de lait, the dreamy little Louisiana towns, the women who are larger than life? Wells weaves that magic spell again.”
-New Orleans Times-Picayune
“Pure Southern comfort, and [Wells] continues the tradition.”
-New York Daily News
“Wells delights in small-town life. . . . She makes the enchantment of daily life seem as plain as daylight.”
“Wells’s larger-than-life characters are custom made for summer reading.”
-The Independent Weekly
“Rebecca Wells spins a sweet Southern yarn about an aspiring beautician who overcomes tragedy to find love.”
“Wells knows how to paint a picture of small-town life and the wide world beyond that pulls at the heartstrings. Ya-Ya fans are likely to go gaga over The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder.”
“Calla Lily Ponder is every bit as affable as her name suggests. . . . Expect high demand from loyal Ya-Yas fans, who have eagerly awaited a new work from Wells.”
“Charming and luminous . . . A perfect summer indulgence that’ll have you peeking out your window on a muggy night in search of the Moon Lady, who’ll wrap her nurturing arms around you from afar.”