Always wary of "chick-flicks" and what is dubbed "chick-lit" these days, this reader opened the cover of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood warily and not with a little bit of dread, unprepared for the surprise and delight offered by this exceptional book penned by Rebecca Wells.
Divine Secrets is at its heart a story about loyalty and friendship. Itís also a story of the elusiveness of love gained and lost, then found again. The story revolves around Sidda Walker; a stage play producer who has granted an interview with a theatrical critic whose article inadvertently stirs up old pain and regret between Sidda and her mother Vivi. Distraught and confused by the upheaval of subsequent emotions and memories of her oft-times difficult relationship with her mother and her upbringing, Sidda postpones her wedding and heads for the woods to reflect on her life and her inability to trust herself in love. A fact that is anchored in the past.
Planning a new stage production, Sidda tentatively asks her mother to send her the scrapbook she and her lifelong girlhood friends have amassed over the years, so that she can try to find what it is that binds certain women together in lifelong friendships. The scrapbook chronicles the history of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood in pictures, letters and mementoes. But it is in her exploration of the scrapbook that Sidda begins to see her mother in a new light. She sees her for the first time as a young girl, then a blossoming teenager who falls in love. She sees her motherís heartbreak for the first time. And through Vivi and the other Ya-Yaís; Caro, Necie and Teensy, Sidda discovers the true meaning of loyalty, friendship and undying love.
Wells has written two novel -- this one and its companion piece, Little Altars Everywhere, both of which made the New York Times Bestseller List. And itís obvious to see why. From the very first page, Wells draws the reader into a different world, a world of the past and present combined to create a history of one woman and her very dear friends. Through Sidda, one is able to experience a gentler time, though a time of uncertainty and heartache no doubt, but the merging of the two generations, the growth of understanding between a mother and her daughter which is at the core of this tale, is expertly woven. Itís easy to fall in love with the Ya-Yaís; theyíre quirky, funny, silly and yet so very loyal to each other. Theirs is a friendship to be envied. And it is through them that the main character, Sidda, learns to trust not only her own emotions, but the emotions of those she holds most dear to her heart.