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Friday, August 28, 2009

Snowflake Secrets by Lorna Collins, Sherry Derr-Wille, Luanna Rugh, Christie Shary

Snowflake Secrets by Lorna Collins, Sherry Derr-Wille, Luanna Rugh, Christie Shary
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Holiday
Length: Full (204 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

Can a simple crocheted snowflake contain magic? The Sullivan sisters think so. On Christmas Eve, 1958, Great Aunt Maude gives a unique snowflake ornament to each of them: Allegra—thirteen, Sonata—twelve, Melody—nine, and Carole—eight. Years later, they learn she might have crocheted a little something extra—a bit of magic and wisdom—into their gifts. In Snowflake Secrets, each sister, now grown, uncovers the magic of her unique ornament. As they confide their revelations to each other and their dying mother, they discover the secret they all share. Every narrative is unique and told in a different voice by four authors: Allegra by Lorna Collins; Sonata by Christie Shary; Melody by Luanna Rugh and Carole by Sherry Derr-Wille. Yet all their stories are woven together into the tapestry of Snowflake Secrets, an inspirational tale of family, love and finding that special joy that makes life worth living.

At times, SNOWFLAKE SECRETS is a delightful trip down memory lane with the Sullivan girls. At other times, a second chance at love with passion and trust fills the reader’s heart with a sense of joy and hope.

Allegra, Sonata, Melody, and Carole, the Sullivan girls, are loved and nurtured in a Christian environment that includes their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even a Great-Aunt Maude that give each girl something more valuable than material goods. She gives them a sense of self-worth and purpose that influences their adult lives.

Carole, the baby and tomboy of the family, born on Christmas Eve, flounders for months when she is widowed after 36 years of marriage. Feeling dejected after decorating the Christmas tree, she notices the starched, glittering crocheted snowflake that Great-Aunt Maude gave her the year she turned eight years old. She seems to hear Maude’s voice with a note in it that indicates the old woman is not pleased with Carole’s behavior. She urges Carole to start living again because something special is out there just waiting for her to notice it. Remembering the poem that came with the snowflake that Christmas, Carole takes her great-aunt’s advise and goes from a 55 year old moping widow to being an assistant to the manager of a prosperous company then moves on to a relationship that brings meaning and joy to her life. She learns to enjoy the moment.

Allegra, the oldest Sullivan girl, abandoned her college education to marry a gorgeous hunk studying to be a lawyer. Young and in love, she did not see his self-absorbed, manipulative ways. However, after years of being married and helping him gain wealth and social status, Allegra recognizes him for the liar and cheater he is and gets a divorces. With her self-esteem in tatters, she returns to Aspen Grove, Colorado to take care of her terminally ill mother. In the attic of her childhood home, she finds her starched glittering snowflake and its companion poem. Like Carole, she recalls her special times with Great-Aunt Maude. Life takes a positive turn. She realizes she has allowed someone else to define who she was and to abuse her. At church with her mother, Allegra meets Andrew McDonald, an acquaintance from high school. He helps to reaffirm Great-Aunt Maude’s message that Allegra is precious, beautiful, talented, and destined for special things.

Sonata, the different Sullivan girl, carries her starched glittering snowflake with her through her years in the Peace Corps and UNICEF as she ministers to the poorest of the poor around the world. It gives her strength, courage, and reminds her of the times with Great-Aunt Maude that truly understood her and her deepest desires. Sonata’s story takes the reader into heartbreaking situations as well as into experiences that are incredibly rewarding. The mystery of Sonata is compelling.

Melody, the family peacemaker and always like a song and ray of sunshine, lives with her husband Mike in California. Their children are grown with lives of their own so Melody takes up writing again—a talent and love she’d put aside for many years. When a package arrives for her that was mailed 29 years earlier, she is reunited with her starched glittering crocheted snowflake and its attached poem. It brings calm and comfort along with the memory of her mother saying she was like Great-Aunt Maude—a writer and a caregiver. With renewed courage, she overcomes the “empty nest” blues, pursues her writing, and builds a revitalized life.
As the four girls and the extended family gather at their old home in Aspen Grove for the Mother’s last Christmas, the girls reconnect in their maturity as they never had before. The resolution of many issues makes poignant reading.

SNOWFLAKE SECRETS, a gentle story chocked full of human failings, desires, new beginnings, and continuity of family strengths, takes the reader through some memorable times of the ‘60’s, ‘70’s, ‘80’s, and ‘90’s that many will identify with. This book has a special charm all its own.