Monday, December 13, 2010
The Christmas Pearl by Dorothea Benton Frank
The Christmas Pearl by Dorothea Benton Frank is another of the several Christmas novels I’ve decided to give a try this year and lo and behold, I rather liked this one. Liked, not loved. The first person narrative voice is solid and the story itself takes place of a span of three days. I could easily see this being a charming little made-for-television holiday movie, full of family reconciliation, holiday magic, and just a touch of sentimentality. Most of the characters are two dimensional and, although they undergo a change, it is more extrinsic rather than intrinsic so the characters never evolve into realistic.
I will point out that I was halfway through the novel before I realized that the family wasn't Caucasian. Not sure what that suggests, except that the descriptions of the family were either vague enough or universal enough to be unnoticed. What I did notice is a personal discomfort with the stereotype of the titular character, from her speech to her personality. Oh well. I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that Christmas would come full of clichés, even if I continue to hope for more.
This one also has a few favorite family recipes, very traditional ones at that. Rum balls and pecan sandies (called sands) and even a fruitcake that the author promises will please rather than appall. Hey! My daughter likes fruitcake so no doubt she would LOVE this recipe!