Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
More than anything, Orella Ely has wanted her loved ones to lead happy lives. But now that it’s happening for some of them, Ms. Ely is starting to feel left out, especially with Christmas coming up. Her cousins say it’s time for her to relocate to Arizona and to start her own new life in a senior community in Ms. Ely’s Christmas Wish: A New Life Tabernacle Short Story by author LaShonda Bowman.
First off, this “short story” isn’t as short as that. It’s possibly on the low end of a novella, but I’m sure it’s a novelette, at least.
Secondly, I’ll admit I haven’t read any of the New Life Tabernacle novels, or anything else by this author, for that matter. So I wasn’t sure how it would feel to jump into this story so blind.
Turns out, it felt great! This is really a beautiful tale. Now, it’s not a sugary-Christmas-corny kind of beautiful, as some of the people Ms. Ely deals with are terrible, toxic folks, and Ms. Ely isn’t a sugary, sweet-old-granny type of heroine. Don’t get me wrong—I like my share of Christmas corn for the holidays, but Ms. Ely’s sauciness and snap add some kick (and humor!) to this read. Her brand of snark didn’t put me off, since her love and faith are still evident, even minus the sugariness.
This story managed to break my heart in places without becoming a depressing read. The time or two when I didn’t agree with Ms. Ely’s sentiments or choices, I still understood. And I liked how I couldn’t predict every turn the story took, whether major or minor.
I’d be happy to go back to read more about Ms. Ely earlier in the series and to treat it like “prequel” reading.
Note to my blog readers: this book contains a couple of mild instances of language I wouldn’t use.