Author: Chick Yuill
Publisher: Instant Apostle
Available: 22nd October 2021 in paperback
Thank you to Rhoda Hardie at Rhoda Hardie PR & Instant Apostle for my gifted copy and for having me on the blog tour for this book. My review is based on my experience of the book and any thoughts expressed here are solely mine alone.
It’s half past four on Christmas Eve, 1976. Lori Bloom, aged three and three quarters, is leaving a busy department store with her mother when the tannoy announces that a child in reception is lost and crying for her parents. The impact on Lori is immediate. ‘Calippa Cumberland’, the mysterious girl with blond hair and a curious name, becomes her imaginary friend and a constant presence into adulthood. As one Christmas follows another, Lori finds herself confronting painful questions and in need of a companion in whom she can confide – and finds herself sharing her experiences and her innermost thoughts with Calippa. Will there ever be someone Lori can completely trust? And will Christmas Eve ever be about finding and being found, rather than losing and being lost?
Faith and Christianity have been a large part of my life; my lovely Daddy Two Spoons was a Vicar before he retired but rather like Lawyers and Doctors; his calling didn’t start or end with the life span of his career. Having a faith for me is about belief and attempting to follow biblical teaching and it is not the same as ‘being religious’ which is something I am often asked if I am, when people discover my dad’s job. Religion often has a bad reputation these days and sadly with good reason and for me Religion and Faith are not the same thing. So why am I telling you all this, well because it’s not often my book blogging/reviewing crosses over into my faith. However, this lovely, charming novel imbued with faith and festive tones sounded too good to miss and if you want a novel full of Christmas spirit, this maybe the book for you.
The story opens on Christmas Eve 1976 when our main protagonist Lori is a small child, and with her mother in a department store, when a tannoy announcement about a lost child changes her outlook and all the subsequent chapters are also set on Christmas Eves but over progressing time and this allows us to follow Lori Bloom’s life and all the trials and tribulations she faces. This is a character driven story and Chick has immense talent and insight in developing his cast of wonderful and empathetic characters, you cannot fail to warm to Lori her lovely personality and the way she sees the world. I also have a soft spot for Madge who is now in her twilight years and has been there and done it all in many respects yet regardless of what life has thrown at her, retains the ability to be wonderfully kind and I can’t help but admire that trait in a character. And Chick is absolutely spot on in his belief that a good story, well told, can encourage and change it’s readers perspectives.
I think one of the elements of this beautiful story that strongly resonated with me, was Lori interaction with Calippa Cumberland; because for 20 years of my life I wrote regularly in journal and like Lori addressed all my intimate thoughts and emotional reactions to my circumstances to an imagined friend (although mine was influenced by the name of woman in painting – Kisella) because it was sometimes easier and safer to express myself this way than it was to friends or family. I think Lori may feel this way too, as Calippa would never break her trust or lets her down. There is a great deal of poignancy to this novel and how through life we lose people we love; either because our lives diverge in different directions or through the ultimate loss, losing loved ones to death but to counterbalance this, Chick also directs his cast to hope, to strive to find or be found. Woven in his words are messages of encouragement, spirituality, faith, and the true meaning of Christmas. I will warn you this story has the ability to provoke an intense emotional reaction and I can’t possibly tell you anything about the end, as you need to read it for yourselves without me spoiling any of its impact.
If you are searching for a different type of Christmas read this year, I thoroughly recommend you embark on Lori’s journey as it may inspire you in more ways than you could imagine. This is a unique novel about one life but it has the ability to impact many lives. Ordinarily I am not a fan of Christian literature as it can be a little preachy, trust me, this book is nothing like that. It is beautiful and memorable story and I enthusiastically encourage you to read it as its essence and characters will remain with you long after you’ve turned the last page of the book.
Happy Reading Bookophiles…
About the Author:
Chick is a speaker, writer, and broadcaster with a passion to bring matters of faith into the wider arena of public life and discourse. He believes that nothing reaches truth or touches people’s hearts better than a well-told story. Talking to Calippa Cumberland is Chick Yuill’s 6th novel to be published by Instant Apostle
Please do read some of the other reviews on this blog tour.