The Charm Bracelet

A small, summer resort town on the shores of Lake Michigan during Memorial Day week is where three generations of women reunite in The Charm Bracelet. Lolly, the aging matriarch, is in the early stages of mild cognitive impairment. Afraid she is losing her memory, Lolly seeks to pass down the stories of her life, recounting them via treasured charms on an heirloom bracelet. Each charm conjures significant events in Lolly's life, going back to her grandmother, who emigrated from harsh conditions in Ireland to the United States.

Lolly's daughter, Arden, is a jaded divorcée, a writer who works for a high-powered Chicago magazine. Arden is the antithesis of her mother, whose preachy, sometimes philosophical, approach to life has never appealed to her--e.g., "The only things we can control are our happiness, our destiny, our impact on others." It is Lauren, Arden's artistic college-aged daughter, who is inspired by her spirited, resilient grandmother. While Arden and Lauren strategize how to help Lolly, Lauren's reminiscences and interest in her grandmother's charm bracelet stories--along with her appreciation for the charms Lolly presented to Arden and Lauren over the years--offer stepping-stones between the past and present, ultimately building a bridge to the future that empowers all three women.

Viola Shipman is the pen name of memoirist Wade Rouse (America's Boy) who pays tribute to his own grandmother is this poignant, sentimental story honoring family lore and legacy. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

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