THE SOLEMN LANTERN MAKER
October 27, 2009
Delta, an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group
$14.00 US/ $17.99 CAN
Rating: 3 cups
Noland is a ten-year-old boy who lives in one of the slums in Manila. He makes beautiful paper lanterns that look like stars, which he sells to provide for his mother and himself. He is also mute, so his friend, Elvis, works with him to sell these lovely creations.
Cate Burns is an American tourist. An accident in Manila leaves her without any memory of who she is or why she is in Manila.
Noland and Elvis are selling Noland’s stars one evening on the streets when a bicyclist rides by and shoots a reporter. Cate is with the boys when this occurs. She collapses and the two boys, believing she is shot, load her into Noland’s cart. Noland believes she is an angel that fell from the stars and he must take care of her. Noland’s mother does not want this stranger in her hut, but Cate is suffering a loss that only another woman can recognize. Tragedy helps heal the two women who appear to have nothing in common.
This is a wonderful story that will touch your heart. There is so much devastation and loss in this book, yet the love coming from young Noland is amazing. I was not quite prepared for the child sex slave industry that is discussed within the pages, but as it is part of Elvis’ life, I understand the need for it to be here. There is no graphic information, but it was a bit of a shock. Ms. Bobis has written this tale in such a genuine tone that it is hard to not feel the spirit of the holidays as you read. Noland and the cast of this book have left a mark on this reviewer’s heart.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More