Can you really go home again? While our memories of childhood, teenaged years, and college may be bittersweet or even deep dark chocolate delicious, going back in time is a difficult task to attempt. Dare we even try? In Barbara Elliott Carpenter’s novel “The Wish I Wish Tonight,” the drive to move forward and hang onto the past is a struggle many can relate to. Letting go of the past is sometimes a better option.
This concluding book in Carpenter’s Starlight Trilogy is a completion of certain chapters in the main character’s life. Sissy Bannister has gone through some challenging times and her character has been a joy to have known. Readers who are new to the series will be able to enjoy this book and all three in any order, but for those who have witnessed her growing up in the trilogy this last title is a satisfying conclusion. Following Sissy in her career to New York City is exciting and fulfilling, and witnessing her homesickness for West Virginia is something we can all relate to as we make our own lives away from family. The emotional roller coaster of her high school reunion is again a familiar encounter with poignant moments to recall in real life. Some lingering questions are answered, some new ones are addressed. In this stage of her existence, Sissy faces some of her demons, some of her family’s demons, and is attacked by yet another one along the way. The result is a growth that only time and experience can provide.
This work of fiction reaches out to readers on many personal levels. The issues are ones that are familiar, and so the reader can relate to the characters and plot. It is an entertaining work but also a thought provoking one. Getting lost in a fictional world is delightful and coming away from a book with some lingering thought to goals, life lessons and family is a blessing. As always, Carpenter presents a polished and well rounded offering. She has a true gift for evoking emotion, showing her plot like a well loved home movie, and depicting real life, even when it is a made up one. With hope for from this author, I heartily recommend her works.
The Wish I Wish Tonight
by Barbara Elliott Carpenter
Review by Heather Froeschl