Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Christmas Pearl by Dorothea Benton Frank

From Goodreads: Theodora is the matriarch of a family that has grown into a bunch of truculent knuckleheads. While she's finally gotten them all together in South Carolina to celebrate, this Christmas looks nothing like the extravagant, homey holidays of her childhood.

What happened to the days when Christmas meant tables groaning with home-cooked goodies, over-the-top decorations, and long chats in front of the fire with Pearl, her grandmother's beloved housekeeper and closest confidante?

Luckily for Theodora, a special someone who heard her plea for help arrives, with pockets full of enough Gullah magic and common sense to make Theodora's Christmas the love-filled miracle it's meant to be.

I had high hopes for this one but it really didn't do the trick for me. It's set in South Carolina - my home, love books set here! It's by an author I enjoy, usually. It refers to the Gullah community - very close to home as we have a large Gullah community here. It's about Christmas - 'tis the season and I read it for the Holiday Reading Challenge hosted by Nely over at All About N. All those great things! But it still didn't come together for me. I can suspend disbelief (ghosts, vampires, winged children - all fine) but to get through this there was just too much too overcome. The problem was probably that the book was too short. There wasn't time to develop the characters subtly so their personalities had to be thrown in your face. The story needed to wrap up quickly so it was all a little too contrived. The cover is beautiful so I'm keeping it - maybe I'll give it another try next year and see if it improves with age !

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