Livie’s mama lies in a coma inside their little home near a Louisiana bayou. While Livie’s daddy and her sisters can help care for her mama, she can’t bring herself to touch her. And Livie holds a powerful secret inside herself about the day of her mama’s accident. When Livie starts a quest to find a way to heal her mama, she finds that she must first heal herself.
The Healing Spell by Kimberley Griffiths Little is a story of love and forgiveness and the complicated relationships mothers can have with their daughters. As one of three girls, Livie feels like her mother has always loved her sisters more that she loves her. That’s because Livie is more comfortable hunting and fishing and raising crawfish traps on the bayou with her daddy than she is acting like a young lady. She also doesn’t get along with her sisters for the same reason.
Mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged nine to 12 will find lots to talk about: how family members can find a way to appreciate each other’s differences, how parental love doesn’t have to be tied to compatibility, and what role faith plays in our lives.
It should also be fun for readers to learn about the bayou country of Louisiana. Knowing the book was set there made me both excited and apprehensive to read it. That’s because I grew up in southern Louisiana in a family that hunted and fished and spent a considerable amount of time on the banks of a few bayous. Many authors, especially ones who don’t live there, have a hard time portraying the place without relying on stereotypes that natives see through immediately. I’m happy to say that Little captures the spirit of the people and the place quite well, and I found myself wanting to be on the banks of Livie’s bayou pulling up crawfish traps right along with her.
The Healing Spell also gets the seal of approval from my mom and my daughters. That’s quite an accomplishment, as few books are well liked by all three generations of readers in my house. The Healing Spell is a delight, and I highly recommend it.