A Candle for My Mother: A Daughter's Journey Toward Gratitude Inspired by the Stories of Lorraine E. Newton
A Candle for My Mother is an inspirational story of a young woman from the Midwest, Lorraine Newton, who longed to travel the world despite being the mother of four young children. “I’m going to see places, come hell or high water!” Lorraine remarked, and she made it happen. Lorraine’s stories in the book are told in her own words from tape recordings she made before she died, and letters saved by a friend, detailing Lorraine’s family’s amazing experiences in Iraq and travels in Europe. Into the bubbling political cauldron of the Middle East in the 1950s ventured an American family. Iraq was not necessarily what Lorraine had in mind, but the country fit exotic to a tee. It conjured up “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,” markets filled with silks and gold, and travel in Europe on vacations. Lorraine was about to embark on a grand adventure. Pamela Newton never felt closer to her mom than when she was traveling, sometimes logging over 100,000 miles a year: “Mom’s adventurous spirit was with me on every trip, in every country, encouraging me to make the most of each moment.” The things that Pamela experienced on her business trips often triggered a remembrance of her mother and her childhood. Those memories became the reflections and gratitudes that Pamela expresses at the end of each chapter when visiting churches across the globe to light candles for her mother, a tradition she began in Westminster Abbey. For readers who may be reminded of exciting memories from their childhood, A Candle for My Mother has been designed with pages interspersed throughout for writing personal reflections. Here a son or daughter can add their favorite pictures, recount “Best Day Ever” times, write a thank you to their mom, or include poems, musings, or thoughts. It is designed to be a gift to oneself or one’s mom. Read it, write in it and then give it to your mother…with gratitude.
Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 9.00 out of 10
Plot: Lorraine Newton's stories of life in the Middle East are a fascinating close-up of history combined with the personal life of a mid-century American couple.
Prose: Lorraine Newton is a natural storyteller. Her descriptions paint a vivid picture of time and place, as well as show her consideration and acceptance of people as she explored the globe and encountered a diverse array of individuals. Pamela Newton's inclusion of her own travels and her candle-lighting throughout the world's churches makes a sweet connection between storylines.
Originality: Family letters and journals are rarely this interesting. Pamela Newton has successfully integrated her personal story within that of her mother's without overshadowing or competing.
Character Development: Lorraine, Don, and the people they met while in the Middle East are presented without embellishment or ego. Lorraine's personality shines through in these pages. Her descriptions of the men and women they knew and the people they worked with make readers feel as if they were right alongside the couple in their travels.
Date Submitted: August 30, 2018