The Garden of Happy Endings

The Garden of Happy Endings - Barbara O'Neal Okay, a book set in So. CO? I found this book and contacted the author. I was curious and I had to read it.

This book is about crossroads and what we do when faced with one. It does center around a crises of faith but it also brings in other crises and choices that all the author's characters deal with. It does center around a Catholic church, but for those wary of things that are religious, you need not worry. It isn't preachy at all. In fact, the author includes a variety of faiths and view points. There is the Catholic priest, the Unity preacher, an agnostic, a Native American Shaman, and others not defined all coming together in a community rocked with financial hardship. I did like that the author included all of those faiths without anyone clashing on who is right.

The author also brings in elements that can be described as paranormal. Elsa has premonitions and visions. Father Joaquin has seen an angel who guides him. There are also ghostly elements sprinkled in toward the end, but those are not seen as scary, but as curiosities and and enhancement for Elsa's journey. Of course you know I enjoyed these elements most of all.

I have only a couple of criticisms which are both very personal in nature and will not affect the majority of people reading it. One is that although I could follow the characters when they came to a specific and real life place, it didn't quite have the color of the area. Some of the flavor was missing. However, no one but those that know the area well would pick up on it. And speaking of flavor... the food! Okay, you know it is a Catholic church at the center. Anyone who has been around a place like that knows it will be centered around food. Yes, my biggest complaint is that I became hungry for tamales. No matter what food she presented, I had tamales on the brain. Have you tasted tamales from the ladies at a church like that? They usually put out their best work for the church and they are delish! Someone get me a homemade tamale quick! *cries* Okay, not everyone will be upset as I was about the food, but it was my own personal quibble. ;D

I give this book 4 stars. It accomplishes what it sets out to be... a sweet book about people coming together at the crossroads of their lives. If you are hankering for a sweet contemporary book, this one is for you.