The Christmas Pearl was a thrift store find that I have pre-read before adding to my Franklin Street Little Free Library. The story was set in Charleston, South Carolina and is the story of Theodora, a spry, 93 year old woman, reflecting on past Christmas celebrations while dealing with the chaotic, challenges of a dysfunctional, multi-generational family. As Christmas approaches, the family needs and receives some special help.
Theodora had lived in her family home for her entire life. As in generations past, her daughter and husband had also moved in followed by a separated grand-daughter and her son. Extended family were also visiting and the house was full with 4 generations. The family had forgotten the importance of the holidays and how to care for each other. Theodora recognized the loss of tradition and disrespect but did not know how to begin to fix the challenges.
Their helper who generally cooked meals was called away for an emergent situation and “Pearl” showed up to prepare the Christmas meals and ended up helping the family in more important ways. With a special ability to understand each member of the family, she prepared traditional Southern meals (including fruitcake – yuck!!) and decorated the home with classic style. While the family aired their differences on Christmas Eve, Christmas morning was full of new beginnings.
This was a very quick read and while pleasant, is not one that I would read every year. It seems inspired by Christmas favourites like A Christmas Carol or The Greatest Gift (It’s A Wonderful Life) yet with a Southern twist. The last few pages of the book include recipes for the traditional food that is savoured by the family in the book. Now that I am finished, I am adding it to the library for borrowing!