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Charms for the Easy Life A family without men, the Birches live gloriously offbeat lives in the lush, green backwoods of North Carolina Radiant, headstrong Sophia and her shy, brilliant daughter, Margaret, possess powerful charms to ward off loneliness, despair, and the human misery that often beats a path to their door And they are protected by the eccentric wisdom and muscular love of the remarkable matriarch Charlie Kate, a solid, uncompromising, self taught healer who treats everything from boils to broken bones to broken heartsSophia, Margaret, and Charlie Kate find strength in a time when women almost always depended on men, and their bond deepens as each one experiences love and loss during World War II Charms for the Easy Life is a passionate, luminous, and exhilarating story about embracing what life has to offer, even if it means finding it in unconventional ways This book swept me into its fabric from the first page, mainly because the main character, Charlie Kate, is so unconventional and the stories of her turn of the century life in the South are so shockingly humorous, tragic and honest We all hope to know someone or be someone a little like Charlie Kate always knowing exactly what to do in any situation, dauntlessly moving forward and dictating the way our world will be Like a magnet, her character attracts people to her, and whether she is This book swept me into its fabric from the first page, mainly because the main character, Charlie Kate, is so unconventional and the stories of her turn of the century life in the South are so shockingly humorous, tragic and honest We all hope to know someone or be someone a little like Charlie Kate always knowing exactly what to do in any situation, dauntlessly moving forward and dictating the way our world will be Like a magnet, her character attracts people to her, and whether she is truly right or wrong in her unlicensed medical practices, she generally always prospers The one inconsistency I find is that the narrator Charlie Kate s granddaughter spends the entire novel praising and admiring her grandmother s courage, strong will and independence, and in the end decides her own future merely by asking Charlie Kate s opinion and meekly following through on it While Charlie Kate s persona is highly developed, her daughter and granddaughter are comparatively shadowy figures, revolving as satellites to the greater personality It was a very enjoyable read, and as comforting as sitting in the kitchen while a storyteller spins colorful tales, but I ended wondering what the overall point was Charms is a family saga The narrator, Margaret Birch, tells of her mother, Sophia, her grandmother, Charlie Kate, her no good father, her failed grandfather and a broad cast of characters that inhabit the southern towns of her upbringing It oozes warmth I was reminded of The Secret Life of Bees They are of a cloth The women of this tale, like the men in Lake Wobegon are all strong The matriarch, Charlie Kate, becomes a local legend with her broad knowledge of healing and her tenacity at ge Charms is a family saga The narrator, Margaret Birch, tells of her mother, Sophia, her grandmother, Charlie Kate, her no good father, her failed grandfather and a broad cast of characters that inhabit the southern towns of her upbringing It oozes warmth I was reminded of The Secret Life of Bees They are of a cloth The women of this tale, like the men in Lake Wobegon are all strong The matriarch, Charlie Kate, becomes a local legend with her broad knowledge of healing and her tenacity at getting the right things done She is an icon of courage Sophia is not quite the legend that Charlie Kate is, but she does well enough, surviving a bad, impulsive marriage to make a life and raise her daughter, the narrator, Margaret Kaye Gibbons from WN.comThe language of this novel is lush Gibbons breathes life into her characters, and is able to structure a plot However, I found the male characters thin, which I suppose is understandable in a novel that has such a focus on women Charlie Kate s husband is a willow next to her oak Sophia s husband is a cad, quickly disposed of Her boyfriend, Mister Baines, never felt to me to bethan a shadow, and on the other end of the spectrum, the man of Margaret s dreams, Tom, is such a dream, rich, brave, handsome, cool, as to make one wonder if there might be a large S on his underclothing But that s quibbling This is a great novel An interesting piece on Gibbons Novelist Gibbons Continues Uphill Battle by Martha Waggoner It s amazingly easy to read and grabs you right away In fact, it feels so effortless but it s the kind of writing that you know was slaved over, honed and perfected , that I questioned how I could have gotten quite so much from it Two lovely ideas from this book The grandmother, when she s young, gets this lucky charm, that s supposed to bring her an easy life Her husband leaves her, tries to con her, she works as a doctor in the early 1900 s when infection and poverty are rampant but she i It s amazingly easy to read and grabs you right away In fact, it feels so effortless but it s the kind of writing that you know was slaved over, honed and perfected , that I questioned how I could have gotten quite so much from it Two lovely ideas from this book The grandmother, when she s young, gets this lucky charm, that s supposed to bring her an easy life Her husband leaves her, tries to con her, she works as a doctor in the early 1900 s when infection and poverty are rampant but she is blessed with a wonderful daughter and granddaughter they re all three smart, good looking, admirable, love each other deeply and admired.The grandmother gives the charm to her granddaughter fully believing in its worth as a lucky charm as a gift to her granddaughter s future husband and tells her to tell him It s a charm for an easy life Just depends what your definition of easy is I love that The relativity of life and the difference perspective makes about how you feel about your life.There s another line I really like too where the grandaughter says of her grandmother I admired her energetic mind and her muscular soul Isn t that a great thing to have a muscular soul One that s strong, flexible, resilient After My Antonia and Here Be Dragons I wanted a light readsome chick lit if you will This book sounded intriguing Set in North Carolina during WWII it tells the story of three generations of unconventional Southern women Charlie Kate, Sophia her daughter, and Margaret her granddaughterthe narrator Charlie Kate is a backwoods mid wife healer and the adventures medical conditions that she encounters are unique to say the least This is a book of strong women who depend on one another rat After My Antonia and Here Be Dragons I wanted a light readsome chick lit if you will This book sounded intriguing Set in North Carolina during WWII it tells the story of three generations of unconventional Southern women Charlie Kate, Sophia her daughter, and Margaret her granddaughterthe narrator Charlie Kate is a backwoods mid wife healer and the adventures medical conditions that she encounters are unique to say the least This is a book of strong women who depend on one another rather than men during the trying times in their lives and the amazing bond between the three of them Margaret s love and admiration for her grandmother shines through the book.My problems with the book Is there a plot It is mainly just anecdotes of the amazing Charlie Katethe only fully developed character in the book Sophia is just a shadowy character and even Margaret lacks depth Problem 2 What was with all of the suicides at the start of the bookthey had no relevance to the rest of the bookthey were just weird and intriguing Problem 3 Margaret, our narrator, was an absolute bore Are we really expected to believe that the hottest catch in town from the best family falls for her after she stares at his back in the hospitalNOPE I just kept waiting for Margaret to stop following her grandmother around to get interesting but she never did Too bad In my opinion this book had a lot going for it at the beginning but then the author dropped the ball and let it slowly tank.My rating OKbut disappointing in many ways

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