Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 3/22/2016
My Rating: 4 Stars
A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Wade Rouse delivers THE CHARM BRACELET a heartwarming story in tribute to his special grandmother, Viola Shipman--Beautifully written, rich in character, history, memories and infused with lots of love. Where each charm holds a story, fond memories, and a key unlocking a secret part of her life.
A magical tale of things, people, and places, important and dear to our lives, we often take for granted. The simpler times, of our previous generations and their powerful voices of wisdom.
Three women discover the importance of family and forgiveness--- as charms take a part in changing their lives.
Misunderstandings, unsaid words, guilt, and resentment get in the way of life. When sometimes the smallest things are the greatest gifts. Finding your way back. A story that celebrates family and love in their many forms.
From July, 1953 we meet Lolly. Her mom had a story for every charm. Lolly’s birthday fell on the Fourth of July—a child of summer. Every year she received a charm from her mother on special occasions; from Christmas, trips, school accomplishments, and every birthday. This year it was half a heart. She had the other half, they would always be a part of one another.
With a poem:
“That every step along the way,
I have loved you so.
So each time you open up,
A little box from me
Remember that I really all
Began with You and Me.”
She promised she would always tell the story to the next generation. Then her mom was gone.
We flash forward to July 4, 2013, and even though her mother took half her heart, Lolly kept all her charms. Her mother was right-- the charm bracelet is always a constant reminder of her love. She had vowed she would share the stories with daughter.
However, her daughter, Arden had left and moved to Chicago. She never visited. Her life was busy and time was slipping by. She has to remind her of history and traditions but she seemed to shrug off the gesture. Every year on her birthday, she can feel her mom speaking through the charms. Through time and space, they are connected by lucky charms, representing love.
Flashbacks to 1901 (my favorite part); we learn about the sewing machine charm--Mary worked alongside her mother Marian O’Connell in Ireland, as a seamstress making specialty dresses for the wealthier families. Then she is on her way to America, alone for a better life—where she received the worn silver charm.. She misses her family, left behind.
The charm was given to her by a special lady, to represent a life bound by family. No matter how far away they may be. She was promised as long as she wore it, they would always be near. She was making her way once again from New York, to Michigan to her aunt and uncle’s home. It is here she meets a fellow Irishman. Her life begins. Sometimes not always an easy journey--loss, love, and life.
We meet Arden, 2014, Lolly’s daughter, now grown, living in Chicago five hours away with granddaughter, Lauren, in college. She grew up visiting their grandmother every summer in Michigan at her cabin on Lost Land Lake where Lolly still lives. Every day was an adventure with her grandmother. She had taught her so much, to believe anything was possible. Her grandmother always encouraged them to dream; whereas her mom, was always throwing out caution, be sensible, and plan. There was a chill between Arden and Lolly.
As Lolly grows older, her mom and dad are long gone--she has celebrated her birthday alone for years. She knows it is time for reconnecting with her daughter and granddaughter. Their family history has to live on. Now seventy and starting to forget things, Lolly knows time is running out.
A story behind every keepsake —a charm, unlocking hearts with beauty, peace, faith, happiness, friends, and fond memories. The strong and powerful bonds between mothers and daughters. As the author mentions, we may not be aware of the stories of our grandmothers and mothers. It may be time to listen to the stories from the past.
An inspiring story, intertwined with nostalgia and heirlooms, reminding us life is short—we need to unhook and spend time, and get to know those special people in our lives, before it is too late. Treasure our friends, family, and passions in life.
Fans of Debbie Macomber, Sherryl Woods, Mariah Stewart, and Susan Wiggs will appreciate the idyllic setting, nostalgia and the warmhearted gem-- of family and love. Would make an ideal gift for Mother’s Day. Looking forward to more from the author!
Charms have been a part the human experience for thousands of years. Early man would pick up an interestingly shaped or colored stone and carry it with him as a talisman of protection or good luck.
As the story expresses, today charms are worn to express ourselves or commemorate special occasions and can still evoke strong feelings. They represent our passions, interests and hobbies, making wonderful personal and cherished gifts, lasting for generations; reminding us of special people, places or events.
When I read stories such as this, wish we all could rewind and go back to earlier simpler times, with real conversations--No devices. The lazy glorious summer days at the lake with picnics, and fun-filled days, with nowhere else to be.