Well here is another book that makes me go hmmmm... because it's supposed to be a Christian book yet there is so much contained in this story that is simply not biblical. However, the fictionalized character of Essie Mae is a delight to read. I think it's important to note that what the above description from the publisher doesn't mention is that the love baskets that Essie Mae "powerfully prays over" also has voodoo rituals attached, only she calls it hoodoo. Essie would weave the hair of people into the basket in hopes of matchmaking. And in this story the hoodoo techniques always worked.While I found some of her thoughts hilarious and her culture entertaining, this story contained quite a few weird theological moments...like when Essie thought they needed to help Jesus out when they were in heaven, and some of the things they did in heaven were "way out there". But this is a fictional story. So if you don't take it seriously and read it for mere entertainment you will enjoy the book. I'd love to believe that I will look young, beautiful, and get to make love to my husband in heaven, too, but that simply isn't so. And I found it odd that her voodoo practicing aunt was in heaven along with some other folks that practiced similar things. Like somehow that was irrelevant to their faith in Jesus? Hmmmm...I dunno.The writing and characterization of the story was excellent, however, and I commend the author for her creativity and ability to engage the reader, but I don't think it should've been marketed as Christian fiction by a Christian publisher. But I'm only one opinion. If you can get past the warped theology and you are seeking a book that is compulsively readable, you'll like this story.
South Carolina septuagenarian Essie Mae Laveau Jenkins sits by the side of rural Highway 17 as she has for decades making sweetgrass love baskets. The weaver insists to those who worry about her that she is not alone as husband Daddy Jim sits by her side though he died years ago. Essie Mae believes her "love baskets" helps those who buy them from her roadside stand though she takes no chances as she adds prayers for those in need just as her beloved Auntie Leona taught her decades ago.Now her loved ones want to place the seventy-eight year old weaver into a home. Daddy Jim tells her to join him in Heaven where Jesus awaits her coming. She does, but besides her beloved spouse and the Sonof God, she meets her recently deceased African-American relatives and ancestors from Africa making her feel complete and at home. However, back on earth her descendents are in trouble needing Essie Mae to return to give them the strength to come together.This deep character study will provide inspiration to readers as Essie Mae deals with mortality, deaths of loved ones, sacrifice, the radical changing of her world, and coming to heaven. She keeps the story line flowing on earth and in heaven as fans will be fascinated with how the sweetgrass basket weaver puts love into her work. Though local dialect adds a sense of locale and to a degree purpose, it also adds some difficulty to the read. Still this is a magnificent profound look at a person who has an inner strength few contain.Harriet Klausner