Filed under: General
Posted by: Ann
@ 4:06 pm
February is quickly passing… I hope my readers had a nice Valentines Day, and that you all realize how much I appreciate you reading my blog. As well as a reminder that many others around you also appreciate you in their lives too. I like Valentine’s holiday because it’s a chance to share our appreciation to those who are special to us.
I just finished sweeping a couple inches of soft fresh snow off our sidewalks and front steps. The fresh snow cover is beautifully pristine, so much better than the barren trees and slush of the last week when temps were far above normal. The daffodils are already sprouting a few inches; I hope they’ll be hardy enough to survive the next two months! We’ve had strange weather patterns this winter in PA.
My daughter’s health is much improved; we are hopeful and expecting a full recovery. And our granddaughter ’s heart rate is almost within normal range, they’re thinking it may have been caused by Covid. She had the vaccination but also had Covid a couple times. Thank you all for your prayers.
We drove to Hilton Head, S.C. and were away almost three weeks. We spent three nights with my sister in Md. and three nights with our granddaughter who moved to Summerville, SC, (near Charleston). It was wonderful spending time with family we rarely see. Summerville is an amazing bustling ‘city’ in itself, the new Boeing facility is huge with dozens of finished ’sample’ planes parked in their secure lot with brightly painted international and USA airline company’s logos. The employees of that giant factory must surely use golf carts to get from one place to another- it’s that BIG! Our granddaughter is a mechanical engineer, and works for Curtis Wright. It’s also a very large facility, though not nearly as large as the Boeing building. We had lunch with some recently retired hometown friends who moved to Summerville last fall. It was so good to see them again too.
Our two weeks in Hilton Head were relaxing and wonderful. We spent a good amount of time with our hometown friends who live there for several months each winter. We always enjoy spending time with them, they are witty, wise and great company. Not to mention great cooks and gracious hosts. We miss them and are anxious for them to return north for the summer months.
The last two weeks I’ve been busy prepping for our tax man. My husband has done this for the last 32 years. Now it’s my turn, such tedious business it is. I’ll finish the tax preparations as soon as I complete this blog. Whew!
I read several books while on vacation. Brief descriptions follow:
Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner. 2021. Fiction/Thriller/Mystery. Dutton Publishing. This is a Franky Elkin series, but okay to read as a free standing novel. Frankie is a complicated though likable character, a middle aged recovering alcoholic with too many regrets. She’s made it her life’s work to search for cold case missing people. She’s street smart and refuses to give up, even when it seems she may become the next missing person. It’s a real page- turner. It was our book club’s choice for February and it generated a good discussion.
A World of Curiosities. by Louise Penny. 2022. MacMillan Publishing. Fiction. Mystery. This is her 18th novel with Inspector Armand Gamache, etc. The characters are part of a series but it’s possible to enjoy her novels as a stand alone. The plot is tricky and winds the reader through several suspicions before the puzzle is revealed at the end of the book. Her quirky characters are lovable and Three Pines is a wonderful little Canadian village most of her readers want to visit for themselves, albeit - can only be done through her mystery novels. This was a Christmas gift from my dear cousin, Maureen.
The Forgotten Affairs of Youth by Alexander McCall Smith. 2011. Fiction. Little Brown Book Group. This is another series novel that can stand alone. Isabel Dalhousieis a likable character, she is a middle-aged wealthy, (by inheritance), with a toddler son whom she adores and a much younger fiance who is the father of her baby. She’s the editor of the Review of Applied Ethics.
She’s surprised to find her feelings regarding parenthood grow more tender with each day. Complications arise when she searches for the Scottish roots of an academic who was adopted in Scotland and raised in Australia. Quirky plot twists and memorable characters make this another fascinating read by this author. This was another Christmas gift.
Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani. 2009. Fiction. Harper Publishing. Again this was the first in a trilogy and yet was a strong stand alone novel. An inside look into the lives of the colorful Roncalli and Angelini clans, with hilarious touching plots and characters. 33 year old Valentine Roncalli’s efforts to save the century old Angelini Shoe Company as she apprentice’s with her grandmother are valiant and entertaining. The family drama takes us from
Brooklyn to Greenwich Village to the Isle of Capri. Trigiani delivers as always with her wit, page-turning pacing and memorable family dynamics.
Mightier Than the Sword by Jeffrey Archer. 2015. Fiction. St. Martin’s Press. This was part of the Clifton series but was a strong stand alone novel. Though this book was written 8 years ago, it’s international drama is not far from the mark today. The plot goes from New York to London to Siberia and Moscow and all the way back again. It deals with the inner workings of Parliament, the British elections, to the intrigue of British society. Every member of the Clifton family is accomplished in their own right. They rely on each other and as the plot twists this way and that, it is impossible not to admire the adept writing style of the author. I hated to see the story end!
And now my most favorite book in a few years:
In a Field of Blue by Gemma Leviero. 2020. Historical Fiction. Lake Union Publishing. This is a complicated story beginning in England in 1922, it had been four years since Rudy’s older brother went missing in war-torn France. Rudy and his mother were still deep in mourning and grappling with unanswered questions when enigmatic Mariette arrived suddenly at the family manor claiming to be Edgar’s widow and with Edgar’s child, Samuel in tow. Rudy hoped they’d shed light on Edgar’s mystery. The characters were so richly described they almost walk off the pages. As the plot goes back to the earlier part of the 20th century pre-WW1 and then during the Great War. I learned things about the war that no other historical novel had brought to light. This was a book I bought in B&N a year ago while at Hilton Head because I liked the cover and the blurbs on the back cover! It was a wonderful book, one I will never forget.
We saw one movie worthy of sharing with you, A Man Called Otto. It’s based on the Swedish book, A Man Called Ove, that I read a few years ago.It was a wonderful movie.
Till next month, keep reading. Stay safe and well, my friends.