I just finished reading the latest novel by Rebecca Wells, The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder, and enjoyed it tremendously. It was first released on hardcover in 2009, but the copy I have is one of those jumbo-sized paperbacks published as a less expensive “international edition.” Wells, of course, is the author of the hugely popular Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, as well as Little Altars Everywhere and Ya-Yas in Bloom. I’m not ashamed to say that I love those novels. You certainly don’t have to belong to the “Ladies who Lunch” set to appreciate these funny and emotionally moving books.
Wells has a flair for penning strong characters — ones the reader cares about — in her books, and you’ll find plenty of them in The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder. But what helps to make her novels so endearing are her descriptions of the relationships between the characters, or more specifically, of the family members and friends. A blurb on the book cover aptly calls this a “shining stand-alone novel about the pull of first love, the power of life, and the human heart’s vast capacity for healing.” And that’s quite accurate: this novel is bursting with life and love, and tears and laughter, and also forgiveness. If you liked any of the other Ya-Ya books I think you’ll enjoy this novel too.