"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Friday, September 2, 2011

Review: Conversations with a Moonflower by Christine T. Hall

Conversations with a Moonflower
Author:  Christine T. Hall
Publisher:  Bonneville Books, an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc.
Copyright:  2011
Pages:  120
Genre:  Inspirational/Non-fiction
Includes: Table of Contents and How to Care for Your Moonflower 
Source:  A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

(from the back cover) "Chris' life is anything but peaceful when she returns to Cattaraugus County to clean out her deceased grandmother's home.  But her life changes forever when an Amish woman invites her to watch a moonflower open.  Chris never would have believed that a simple plant could lead her on such a remarkable journey -- a journey that would remind her of truths she had long ago forgotten.

This touching debut by Chris Hall is guaranteed to uplift and inspire long after the story ends."

Conversations with a Moonflower takes you by surprise.  It comes to you in the guise of a small book, a beautiful moonflower in full bloom dons the cover, but it's what's inside that is unexpected.  The narrator of the story, Chris, joins her siblings at her deceased grandmother's home to go through items of varying degress of sentimental value, divvying them up amongst themselves.  The night before they are to leave for home, Chris and her family visit some neighbouring Amish friends to watch in amazement the opening of moonflower blossoms at dusk. The little plant that could be mistaken for a weed, that is, until it blooms, tantalizes all who see it.  What is the magic of this plant?

At first we think, it is a beautiful plant and unique in its flowering, but why is everyone so enamoured with it?  As the story develops we find the secret behind the plant and the changes it evokes in everyone's lives, especially that of Chris.

"My heart was filled with emotion as we drove up the road, and I was having a hard time processing my thoughts and feelings.  What on earth had just happened to me?  It was a plant, for heaven's sake!  With the exception of the bright yellow flowers, it looked more like a weed than anything you would purposely put in a garden.  But this mysterious plant had captivated me, and I couldn't wait to tell the others what we had seen." (Page 28)
Upon sharing the ritual of the bloom with friends, soon to become almost a nightly event shared with many neighbours and friends, one friend commented:  "It's a gathering place...You brought a gathering place home with you from the Amish." (Page 42)

But it is so much more......

Conversations with a Moonflower is a short book, easily read in one sitting, that packs a powerful punch cloaked in subtlety.  Without realizing it, the reader recognizes so much more than the beauty of this easily overlooked plant.  The messages are subtle but enduring and enlightening and you too will want to add a moonflower or two to your garden.

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