Friday, June 10, 2016

The Charm Bracelet by Viola Shipman ~ My Thoughts

The Charm Bracelet

The Charm Bracelet

The Charm Bracelet by Viola Shipman
Print and e-book, 304 pages
Published March 22nd 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books

Lose yourself to the magic of The Charm Bracelet.

Through an heirloom charm bracelet, three women will rediscover the importance of family and a passion for living as each charm changes their lives.

On her birthday each year, Lolly’s mother gave her a charm, along with the advice that there is nothing more important than keeping family memories alive, and so Lolly’s charm bracelet would be a constant reminder of that love.

Now seventy and starting to forget things, Lolly knows time is running out to reconnect with a daughter and granddaughter whose lives have become too busy for Lolly or her family stories.

But when Arden, Lolly’s daughter, receives an unexpected phone call about her mother, she and granddaughter Lauren rush home. Over the course of their visit, Lolly reveals the story behind each charm on her bracelet, and one by one the family stories help Lolly, Arden, and Lauren reconnect in a way that brings each woman closer to finding joy, love, and faith.

A compelling story of three women and a beautiful reminder of the preciousness of family, The Charm Bracelet is a keepsake you’ll cherish long after the final page.

My thoughts about The Charm Bracelet ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first line.)

First line—'Fireflies blinked, illuminating the stepping stones to Lost Land Lake. "You see that Lolly?" my mom laughed in the twilight. 'Mother Nature is giving us a preview to the fireworks."'

I loved The Charm Bracelet! I was totally 'charmed' (tee hee) by the characters and the story. Seriously, though, I thought it was wonderful and I loved how the three generations of women shared their lives and bonded together.

Lolly, her daughter Arden, and her granddaughter Lauren end up spending part of the summer together. Arden really doesn't want to go home to see her mom but she realizes that Lolly is getting up in years and, out of daughterly obligation, she decides to go home for a little while. Lauren adores her grandmother and they have always been close so she is excited to visit.

Lolly has a charm bracelet that she wears all the time. Each charm is very special to her and has a significant meaning to some event in her life. As the three women spend the summer together, they learn the stories behind the charms. Arden and Lauren start to see the girl and young women that the older women was 'back in the day' and come to appreciate all that she has gone through.

Those stories and the relationships that are strengthened that summer made The Charm Bracelet a story that I was enchanted by. I came to love these three women just as much as they loved each other.

I loved the idea of the charms on a bracelet. I had one when I was younger but didn't keep up with adding charms to it. What a wonderful way to remember and treasure memories.

About the author

Viola Shipman

Viola Shipman is a pen name for Wade Rouse, a popular, award-winning memoirist.  Rouse chose his grandmother’s name to honor the woman whose charm bracelet and family stories inspired him to write his debut novel, which is a tribute to all of our elders. Rouse lives in Michigan and writes regularly for People and Coastal Living, among other places, and is a contributor to All Things Considered.  To date, The Charm Bracelet has been translated into nine languages. He is at work on his second “heirloom novel,” which will be published in 2017.


The Charm Bracelet is a tribute to my Ozarks grandmother, Viola Shipman, who I grew up alongside, the jangling of her charm bracelet as ever-present as the moan of the bullfrogs, the call of the whippoorwill and the hum of the cicadas.

It was through the charms on my grandmother’s bracelet that I got to know her. I found that each charm held a story, a key that unlocked a secret part of her life.

Through these charms, I got to know my grandmother not just as a grandmother but also as an incredible woman who had lived an extraordinary life filled with beauty, hope and tragedy.

My grandmother’s story and life jangled in my head for years, and I felt compelled to write a novel based on her charms and the lessons she taught me: That the simplest things in life – family, friends, faith, fun, love, and a passion for what you do – truly are the grandest gifts.

I couldn’t be prouder of this novel, which not only honors my grandmother, with the pen name Viola Shipman, but also all of our elders.

For more about the author, please visit Wade Rouse’s official website

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