Friday, February 19, 2016

The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale

This novel is a good exploration of the importance of lifelong friendship. I really liked it. But I have to say that there is good news and bad news about the book.

The good news is that this book is wonderfully written and is captivating. I don't think I have read of a friendship between women written in such a wonderful way. Carrigan, Ella Rae, and Laine are crazy wonderful women. Their personalities are revealed very well and their actions are always entertaining. I loved that part of the novel.

But there is also bad news. This novel takes place in a small town in Louisiana and people in the south express their Christianity differently than in the Pacific Northwest where I live. There is frequent mild swearing in this novel. There is infidelity in a marriage and the general attitude is, “These things happen. Honey, you gotta get a hold of yourself.” There is no concern about the sin of the action nor asking for God's forgiveness. Also, when things get really tough, when the women need strength to persevere, there is no relying on God for strength. There is no faith that carries them through. Their “Christianity” is something for Sunday and wearing hats to church but has little or no meaning the rest of the week.

So, the good news is that this is a well written and captivating novel about a life long friendship between three southern women. The bad news is that while at least some of the women think of themselves as Christians (“I'll see you in heaven.”), there is really nothing fundamentally “Christian” about the book. The words and actions of the women, especially Carrigan, our narrator, do not reflect a saving faith.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Celeste Fletcher McHale lives on her family farm in central Louisiana. You can find out more at https://fletchermchale.wordpress.com/.

Thomas Nelson Publishers, 304 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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