July 2024
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Review: How Dolly Parton Saved My Life, Charlotte Connors

Four women at crucial times in their lives find themselves joining together to form a catering business.  Ellie is a Junior League wife and mother, confused about where her marriage is heading; Daisy is a vivacious, young single mother who has struggled along trying to provide for her clever, nerdy daughter; Cat, the only childless member of the group, has just been dumped by the boyfriend who previously defined her life; and Josephine, a woman looking to do her best at founding a business.  Together, these women form the Jelly Jar sisterhood and aim for success and happiness above all else.

I’ll be honest; this book was a bit of a perfect storm of things I didn’t like.  With that in mind though, it’s worth noting that I have recently liked books with large women’s fiction components (although I’d say this is a very light version of that), Christian characters, and set in the present.  So I can get on all with all the elements of this book, but set up like this it just didn’t work for me.

I can start by expressing disappointment with the characters.  The narration switches around between them and I can tell you that they are so indistinct that I didn’t notice until I realized one didn’t have kids and the others did.  They all sound exactly the same.  I didn’t pay attention to the chapter headings, but I never do, so I guess you could call it my fault, but that doesn’t fix the fact that only Daisy is at all different from the other three women in tone.  In fact she was the only woman who had anything close to an interesting life or personality.

I also didn’t really feel like the story went anywhere.  Jelly Jar stayed at about the same level; nothing was really gained by the end of the book except a friendship that was a little too, well, sweet.  It felt unrealistic.  Each woman had her own problems, but not much really changed by the end of the book.  Even the couple that was in serious relationship trouble merely goes to counseling, and we don’t even read about their decision to do so, we’re just told about it.

Then there was the Christianity, which was too heavy for my tastes.  I won’t go into detail, but I will say that I remember the last Christian fiction book I read, The Red Siren, with a lot more fondness than I’ll remember this one.  I’d happily read more in that series; I would prefer not to read any more in this one.

I hesitated to post this review because it is so negative.  Others have enjoyed this book a lot more than I have.  In the end I decided it was worth getting my voice out there.  If you do enjoy Christian fiction about women’s friendships, you may enjoy How Dolly Parton Saved My Life.

I am an Amazon Associate. I purchased this book.


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