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Top Ten Tuesday: Places In Books I’d Love to Live

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The Houses

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Gatsby’s Mansion on Long Island. Yes, I too loathe movie tie-in covers, but this is like my copy–with Robert Redford in what was called an “ice cream” suit due to the colors. It’s a gorgeous movie. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

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I’d love to live in an amazing tree house like the one in Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss. Take my advice, read THIS translation and toss the Scholastic Book Club version. I am all for the Scholastic Book Club, but they did this one dirty!

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Glenbogle Castle in Scotland sounds good, if you can keep warm! I loved the t.v. show except for the awful last season. I started the book earlier this year but can’t find it. When I find it again I’ll finish it. Monarch of the Glen by Compton McKenzie.

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The family’s retreat in Texas sounded good. Was there a lake? BBQ goes well with a lake. I’ll take it. I’d love to live in THEIR White House or THEIR Kensington Palace, too, of course! Red, White, & Royal Blue: A Novel by Casey McQuiston.

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The actual house of this story doesn’t fare too well (no spoilers) but ANY Frank Lloyd Wright house would be a joy! This book was my very favorite of the year it was published. Loving Frank by Nancy Horan.

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I wasn’t impressed with the book, but I’ll take the Churchill’s country home, Chartwell, any day! Lady Clementine: A Novel by Marie Benedict.

The Community or Neighborhood

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Either the family home or the flat in London–both have a great community. The Switch: A Novel by Beth O’Leary.

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This neighborhood! These ladies get along and support each other! The Wildwater Walking Club: A Novel (Book One) by Claire Cook.

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Their rented townhouse might be a “tip” (i.e. a “dump”) but they have great neighbors–I’d love that! Heading Over the Hill by Judy Leigh

The Scenery

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Imagine how beautiful a home in the mountains would be! I loved being in the Rocky Mountains, the Blue Ridge, and the Smokey Mountains. The Eight Mountains: A Novel by Paolo Cognetti.

Why not join the fun next week? You can read the rules here.

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Women’s History Month Book Tag

Thank you to Nicole at Sorry, I’m Booked on whose blog I found this great tag. Thank you also to Mayu at Bookshelf Life for tagging me! Be sure to check their blogs out, pleases.

Rules

  • Thank the person who tagged you and link back to their post.
  • Link to the creator’s blog in your post Thank you, Margaret at Weird Zeal!
  • Answer the questions below using only books written by women
  • Feel free to use the same graphics
  • Tag 8 others to take part in the tag

My extra rules for me: No old favorites! No GWTW, no Anna Karenina, etc. None of my real life female role models that I’ve written about too many times! No Eleanor! No Jane Addams.  Newer ones! And all must be newer-to-me books!

Book With An Intelligent Female Character

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I’m using this one “anyway.” She IS a character in the book because she is writing about her own experiences. Yours, For Probably Always: Martha Gelhorn’s Letters of Love and War 1930 to 1949 I I have only read excerpts from this, but hope to buy it this year.

An Award-Winning Book That Deserves The Hype

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The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom. An excellent memoir that deserves the awards and the hype.

A Book About a Female Character Who Doesn’t Do As She’s Told

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A book about a prison full of women who didn’t do what they were told! Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison: A Memoir by Piper Kerman (scroll down in the linked post to the review which displays a different cover for the book).

A Book About a Female Warrior

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The Shadow King: A Novel by Maaza Mengiste which I am still reading. She’s written some of the world’s best battle scenes though. Wow.

A Book Set in Space

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A Wrinkle in Time in Time by Madeline L’Engle which I first read as as an adult. I don’t read sci-fi so I’d have to look through the astronaut books if I couldn’t use this one!

A Book About LGBTQ+ Characters

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The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth. The story of a lesbian teen sent to a faith-based gay conversion therapy center was my choice for Banned Books Week a few years ago.

A Book About a Woman in a Position of Power

I could not decide between these two. Twice in American history, a woman has been both the wife of a U.S. President and the mother of one. Abigail Adams is as much a Founding “Father” of our nation as her husband, John. Barbara Bush, was one of the most likeable First Ladies in my lifetime. No one knows just how much of any successful man is the wife behind him. The power the President’s wife wields is not to be underestimated.  Dearest Friend by Lynne Withey and Barbara Bush A Memoir.

An Underappreciated Book

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Ok, ONE Roosevelt book. This is a lovely novel, even if it is about a love affair that destroyed a marriage. Lucy: A Novel by Ellen Feldman is a book I wish I’d written. The tone of this novel inspired the tone of my work in progress.

A Book With Beautiful Writing

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4 full pages of quotes in my Commonplace Book! The Professor’s House by Willa Cather.

A Book That Inspires You

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While it has it’s precious and preachy moments, this book inspires me. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver, the best but one to come out of DePauw! Scroll down in the linked post to my review from my old blog.

Do you like book tags? Or Women’s History Month? Then consider yourself tagged!


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One-off Novels Set in Small Towns and Villages

This article Top 10 Novels Set in Villages by best-selling author Claire Fuller, is from The Guardian and is the inspiration for this post. Here are a few of my favorite small town or village books. They are not in any ranked order. I deliberately left out some of my beloveds though–series such as Jan Karon’s Mitford, or Miss Read’s Fairacre, or Three Pines in the Chief Inspector Gamache novels by Louise Penny or James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small in the Yorkshire villages, Patrick Taylor’s Irish Country Doctor in Ballybucklebo, Philip Gulley’s Harmony books, and Fredrik Backman’s Beartown are all excluded. Even Chocolat and dear old Payton Place are series!

I probably should have done a Part I and Part II, but decided a Part II should be nonfiction. What do you think?

My Choices

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Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler shows realistic small town life in today’s America. I could picture every scene, hear every voice perfectly. This is my world. The America of the Rustbelt and the formerly-farmed belt.

The Truth According to Us is is an historical fiction novel–set in the 1930’s in a small town in West Virginia. My review is here. I decided to put these two together to show how book marketing works–this is just such a good visual on the topic. Annie Barrows Wrote Truth on her own, but she co-wrote Guernsey. Guernsey set in a village on the Island of Guernsey,is now a beloved runaway hit with book clubs, so the marketing department reused the cover. Slick. Nevertheless, I loved both books. Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

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When the village is an island things get really interesting–especially when it is a real island with homes owned by Mick Jagger and, formerly owned by the late Princess Margaret. Murder on Mustique is a look at life where the people are either wealthy, white hedonists, or the poor natives who wait on them and provides services to them.  Regardless of socioeconomic status, race, or nationality, everyone is into everyone else’s business.

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A small town on the North Carolina coast is home to “The Marsh Girl.” School teachers, social workers, grocery clerks–they all see her, they all go through the motions of officially caring and then leave her to raise herself. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

 

 

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. Ove’s neighborhood is a village to me. Whether it is in a city or not, I cannot remember. But there is a village life going on in that neighborhood. Brit Marie Was Here ) takes a job in a rustbelt sort of town where she tries to help the kids stuck in that town. [Notice the marketing?]

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Small town, small city–same thing. Everyone knows everyone’s business. Working at the nursing home, working at the town’s one remaining industry, farming–it’s all small town life. The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal.

 

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The Shipping News portrays the type family you do not want in your village. Even more so if your village is on an island. There was so much bad in this place you couldn’t pay me to go there.

 

Both of these historical novels portray life in the hills and hollars of Appalachia. Christy is set a generation or so earlier in the Smokey Mountains of the part of Tennessee that gave us Dolly Parton. It gives a much stronger taste of local folk lore–a liver-sprung child, for example The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is set in East Kentucky during the Great Depression.

 

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Edgecombe St. Mary is a Sussex village, complete with a snooty and culturally tone-deaf country club,  that is home to Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali–a favorite couple of mine. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: A Novel by Helen Simonson.

 

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Great Depression & Dust Bowl-era Kansas is the setting for this tale of a women’s quilting club in small town Kansas. The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas.

 

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A former Peace Corps volunteer goes back to the village he served many years ago.  What he finds is not good. From Peace Corps most famous alum, Paul Thereaux, Lower River a novel set in Southern Malawi.

This one IS ranked. It is my favorite!

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While it is massive by today’s standards, it is worth the time! Multiple generations of the same families in the same town. I loved every word and have read it multiple times. “…and the Ladies of the Club” by Helen Hooven Santmyer.

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Review: The Writer’s Library: The Authors You Love on the Books That Changed Their Lives by Nancy Pearl and Jeff Schwager

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My Interest and The Story

Nancy Pearl is America’s Librarian. She even has an action figure toy! She may not be as cool as Katherine Hepburn in Desk Set, but she’s the coolest librarian going in this country. Jeff Schwager is a playwright whose favorite book is Dennis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son-which he brought to the stage.

I liked the whole premise of the book–finding out what books influenced writers along the way in childhood, high school, college, grad school, in adult life, in their writing life.

Each author was asked basically the same questions–a few different or unique ones were thrown in along the way, of course–these were interviews after all. (Although due to scheduling problems Donna Tartt was an email interview).

The one discordant note was no fault of the authors or their interviewees. At first I thought “this is stiff and pretentious.” Then it hit me–this is a recorded book, not a recorded interview. The authors being “interviewed” have been interviewed, their words edited and published in a book. They, and their interviewers, are reading their words, not speaking them. That cleared up, I went on to devour this book.

My Thoughts

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The Book Club I Would Join

“I decided to focus on reading books that were so accomplished, so rich, you would benefit from reading them at the age of twenty and forty and sixty and eighty.”

Amor Towles and three friends have had a book club based on this for sixteen years. The go to a restaurant and discuss over a good dinner. They’ve tackled Proust. done a study through great writers of “the American voice,” and did another study through great novels of “19th Century Wives Under Pressure” that included Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, Middlemarch, and Portrait of a Lady. Wow!  My kind of guy, my kind of friends. This book club idea shamed me for throwing back Towles’ book in the audio version. (It was the reader, not the book). To atone I’m going to buy it in a print copy and read is slowly.

Towles was the best of the book, but if one more person had gone on and on about how amazing Watership Down was I’d have wrecked the car. I have tried three times to read that book. It’s like The Hobbit–not on my wavelength. I do not doubt the quality of the writing and story, it just isn’t for me. Incredibly, The Chromicles of Prydain was also beloved. I read it as an adult and would never have touched it as a child. Tobias Wolff was also mentioned to death but to be fair, I’ve barely read him (yet). Childhood favorites and childhood reading habits brought up an interesting side to their lives–Dave Eggers loved Corduroy while TC Boyle loved Lad A Dog and Lassie.

Some of My Favorites Mentioned

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Jeff: We were talking before…about two we both love. This Boy’s Life

Dave [Eggers] Well, [Tobias] Wolff was the one for me.

Jeff: And the other was Stop-Time.

Nancy: Frank Conroy’s Stop-Time.

Dave: Yeah, never read it. Is it good?

Nancy: Yeah, it is good. Really, really good.

Jeff: It’s great. When I read This Boy’s Life, I thought he’s obviously reading Stop-Time because there’s a direct line there from Stop-Time to This Boy’s Life.”

That was a fascinating exchange.

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One of the few books at home was Marjorie Morningstar [by Herman Wouk]…I saved Herman Wouk’s obituary, because, I thought, You started me, Herman, you started me.”

That quote is from Louise Erdrich, but it sums up my reading and writing life as well. After all, Margaret Mitchell wrote only one book and while I’ve read that one, flaws and all, too many times to count, Herman Wouk was the first author I devoured.

I did love hearing some of my favorites come up though. Marjorie Morningstar got one mention. Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow, The Raj Quartet by Paul Scott, Anna Karenina, and a few others.

Dave Eggers being put on the spot about Frank Conroy’s Stop-Time, mattered so much to me becuase it was one of my favorite books read at Indiana University. Susan Choi couldn’t read John Reed’s Ten Days That Shook The World, the only book I stayed up all night reading at Indiana University. Anna Burns’, Millkman, a rare current-day award winner that stunned me with it’s excellence won a mention. Andrew Sean Greer shared my sense of terror in reading Muriel Spark’s The Driver’s Seat. Amazingly, I don’t think anyone mentioned To Kill a Mockingbird, but Catcher in the Rye and Jack Kerouac’s On The Road as well as a few other “stalwarts” were not really praised. No one brought up The Awakening by Kate Chopin–that truly surprised me. Lolita got a new look from a few in light of #MeToo. There was a good discussion of authors whose work is largely forgotten, like John O’Hara. The entire set of interviews was shockingly NOT-p.c., only a tiny nod to the woke, too.

I was pleased to hear how they all approached reading while writing their own books and how various books had influenced (or “informed” in today-speak) their writing. Their use (or non-use) of public libraries, college or school libraries and friendships or mentorships with other authors was another topic that I found fascinating.

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The final surprises were Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King (which I have stalled on reading due to laziness or quarantine brain–take your pick) and author Charles (Chuck) Johnson’s views on Uncle Tom’s Cabin was very enlightening.  Johnson and author Russell Banks were brand new names to me. I will check out their work this year. I may or may not read their books.

While I should do some research, Dave Eggers’ claim that today all great books must be about 600 pages seemed wrong. It’s hard to find big books today. That was the only thing that stood out as odd in the entire book.

While listening, I was suddenly struck by how amusing it was that several authors use a first initial. W. Somerset Maugham, T. Coraghesaon Boyle (or TC Boyle), and F. Scott Fitzgerald were/are known to their friends as “Bill,” “Tom,” and “Scott.” Like finding out all over again that Ed Murrow was baptized “Egbert Roscoe.” That tickled me. Probably it is senility or quarantine brain.

My Verdict

4.0

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Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR Possibilities

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First, my apologies! I looked at the schedule and got the wrong topic last week. So, if you missed my

Funny Book Titles TTT post,

just click on the linked words to go to last week’s post.

Second, my Spring TBR. I’m reading seasonally this year as one of my reading strategies. A few of my books are on-going and will take all year as I read them in each month or season covered. I’m not listing those. I am, however, listing a couple of possibilities for the upcoming 1936 Book Club challenge.

Yes, I’ve listed more than 10 books. Inevitably something will disappoint or not come in on time or I just won’t be in the mood for one or more at the moment I start a new book. So “possibilities” rather than an exact TBR.

Some Spring Reading Choices

1936 Book Club possibilities

Read more about the 1936 Book Club event here.

Fiction Possibilities

Some new, and two from back lists Or I may not read any of these–too often when I do these posts I then don’t read the book!

Nonfiction Possibilities

I have received a few gifts of nonfiction and have bought some. Maybe I should read them? Or not!

Other Possibilities

Checklist Manifesto was recommended by the co-worker with whom I read Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez. Feasting Wild just caught my attention as an interesting sounding foodie book. The collection of essays called Laundry Love gets a try because a) laundry is the one housekeeping chore other than cooking that I’m good at and that give me satisfaction and , b) I’ve been enjoying essays for a change so I’ve kept looking for more. Matthew Mc Conaughey’s book is “out there” for me, but two very different people I know in person and one YouTuber I like, Christine of Frugal Fit Mom, have all recommended it so I decided to at least try it.

Why not join the fun next week? You can read the rules here.

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Review: The Daughters of Yalta: The Churchills, Roosevelts, and Harrimans: A Story of Love and War by Catherine Grace Katz

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My Interest

If you’ve read here before you know I collect books on the Roosevelt and Churchill families, and have read them all. I collective biography of most of three of the daughters of Roosevelt, Churchill and Averell Harriman, was bound to hit my radar. So, I bought it and took my time reading it.

Having visited Yalta and Livadia Palace in 2003, seen the conference rooms, the wax museum-type figures of the Big Three, and stood on Roosevelt Street, I thought I’d like to revisit Livadia through the eyes of these ladies. I admit all the conference negotiations were such a part of college that I wasn’t that interested in revisiting that part.

The Story

Anna Roosevelt, only daughter of Franklin and Eleanor, Sarah Churchill the second of four daughters(1 died as a toddler) of Winston and Clementine, and Kathy Harriman, the younger of two daughters born within one calendar year to Averill and his ex-wife. All three of the daughters were adults–Kathy Harriman at 27 was serving as her father’s full-time hostess at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Sarah Churchill, estranged from her much older, actor husband, was three years older and serving as an officer in WRAF and had accompanied her father before to the Tehran Conference. At 39, Anna Roosevelt was the eldest of the trio and the one with the biggest burden. As we all know today, her father was dying before the world’s eyes. Stalin’s daughter, Svetlana, was not included.

My Thoughts

Kathy, about whom I knew very little, was the most interesting. I couldn’t help reflecting on myself at 27 and trying to imagine doing the job she had to do for her father [whom she was never allowed to call anything but “Ave”]. She had to deal with the Soviets in the planning and execution of all “domestic” matters of the conference. From Generals having to line up for a toilet, to secret police and army sentries botching the guests, to everything else.

Sarah, like Kathy, had grown up in this life of Very. Important. People. to lunch, tea, or dinner. She’d been well schooled for her role. She had made her own bed by marrying a much older, Jewish actor. She “owned it” as we’d say today and did not divorce until after the war.It was Anna that I felt the most for.

Unlike Anna, who, after all lived a world away in Seattle, Sarah and Kathy knew the goings on in the Churchill family and how they involved both the Chief of the Air Staff, Peter Portal, and, (and several other men) as well as (most importantly), Kathy’s father. Both Portal and Ave were sleeping with Churchill’s daughter-in-law Pamela–later the Grand Dame of the Clinton administration–U.S. Ambassador to France Pam Churchill, about whom one famous gentleman said “No one marries Pam Churchill,” but Randolph Churchill, Leland Hayward, and then Ave Harriman did just that.

It was Anna that I felt the most for. Her second husband, back in Seattle was running a newspaper while battling depression in a time in which there was little to be done about it. (He would later take his own life). She was burdened with knowing the state of her parents’ marriage and their personal lives and walked a tightrope in being gracious to both. FDR could have died at any moment. (Churchill’s doctor diagnosed his condition and confided to his diary that he was, obviously, very worried).

Anna had to fight the hangers-on that her father surrounded himself with for company, as well as put with Harry Hopkins who was often too ill to be of any use. (It should be noted that a large number if the British contingent was lost in a plane crash–everyone had to just go on). FDR had moments of obvious exhaustion and incoherence, yet Anna was forced to jolly him along when no letters arrived from Eleanor until the last days of the conference,  and do her best to fight for the bed rest he needed each day, all the while worried about her own husband back home.

The Churchill and Roosevelt children famously went through spouses like they did fashionable clothing. If I remember correctly, there were 19 marriages among the 5 (surviving) Roosevelt Children. And, at least 8 among the same number of Churchills–only Mary, the youngest Churchill, had a loving and stable marriage. Both sets of children dealt with alcoholism. The Roosevelts were basically abandoned by their father after polio hit, the Churchill children had regular contact with both parents, but neither family felt loved enough by a mother forced to focus on the husband.

Like too many books about first ladies, this one strayed to far for my taste in this type book into the negotiations. This, after all, had nothing to do with the daughters beyond what their fathers’ shared or the “causes” staff asked them to help win a father over to championing.

In short, while there is little new here, it is nicely pulled together and well-told. I thought the subtitle was too sappy for a serious book, but I doubt the author had any control over that.  I really couldn’t see a publisher putting a book on daughters written by a man out with such smaltz

My Verdict

3.75

One of my picky-picky title comments:

Adele Astaire Cavendish was known properly as Lady Charles Cavendish–NEVER as Lady Cavendish. Her husband is the younger son of a Duke. To be Lady Cavendish, he would have to be Baron/Viscount/Earl/Marquess of Cavendish or “Cavendish of Somewhere.” Or, he would have to be Sir Charles Cavendish.

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The Earl’s Lady Geologist Blog Tour

The Earl’s Lady Geologist by Alissa Baxter

Publication Date: February 28, 2021 Vinspire Publishing
Series: Linfield Ladies Series, Book One Genre: Regency Romance

Excerpt

Excerpt Three
Rothbury frowned. “Miss Linfield is sincere in her wish to remain unmarried?”
“She has no desire to go to London for the Season, even though I have told her it will be quite delightful. As it is, she will be all but on-the-shelf when she makes her come-out. She is already twenty years of age.”
At that moment, the subject of their discussion entered the room. Rothbury studied her without being obvious. Miss Linfield had transformed from an untidy schoolroom miss into quite a presentable young lady. Her light brown hair, no longer tangled, had been tamed into submission, and a grey ribbon threaded through her curls. She wore a muslin morning gown with long, full sleeves, and her face, streaked with mud earlier, was now spotlessly clean. Betty had wrought a miracle in a short space of time.
Miss Linfield’s eyes shone with defiance as she sat on the sofa opposite her cousin. Rothbury took his seat in an occasional chair upholstered in striped silk.
The butler followed the young woman into the room. He left a tea tray on the coffee table, and Mrs. Linfield poured the hot beverage and handed Rothbury a cup.
“Thank you.” He sipped his tea and glanced at Miss Linfield again. The flush in her cheeks and the way she nibbled at her bottom lip made her seem very young.
The girl’s slightly tip-tilted nose and too-wide mouth rendered her far from the ideal of classical beauty. However, her thickly fringed sapphire-blue eyes were lovely, redeeming a face he had initially dismissed as plain.
He finished the tea and placed his cup and saucer on a side table. “My mother sends you her warmest greetings, Miss Linfield. She wishes you to come to London next month.”
The young woman’s teacup clattered onto her saucer, and brown liquid splashed on her gown. She gazed at him in horror. “But I am still in mourning for Papa. I cannot travel to London.”
“Mama has informed me that you will live quietly while you are in half-mourning. You will not be required to attend any social events until the end of February, when your period of mourning ends.”
“But…but I do not wish to leave Lyme.”
He tapped a couple of fingers on the wooden arm of his chair. “Why is that, Miss Linfield? Most young ladies are eager to have a London Season.”
“I am not like most ladies. I shall not go.”
“Your uncle is your guardian and, until you come of age, it is he who decrees where you will live. This house will be closed up, and I shall send my coach to convey you to London.”
She raised her chin. “When I come of age I shall return to Lyme.”
“I trust you will listen to the wise counsel of your relatives before making any imprudent decisions once you reach your majority,” he stated calmly.
“I have an interest in both fossils and geology, my lord. I enjoy my work in these fields, and I can continue it only if I return to Lyme.”
“Your work? A woman’s place is in the home.”
Her eyes kindled. “I am pleased we are in agreement, Lord Rothbury. This is my home, and my place is indeed here.”
“Don’t fence with me, my dear.”
She straightened her back. “Very well. Let me speak plainly. What you really meant to say is that a woman’s place is in her husband’s home. That, my lord, is quite a different matter.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Why would any woman choose to remain a spinster instead of marrying and gaining the protection of a husband?”
“A woman of independent means does not need to marry. Still, that completely aside, marrying a man merely for his protection sounds like a dreadful idea.”
He sighed. “I cannot but think that you, like most young ladies, have romantic notions of marrying for love.”
“I do not have any such notions!”
He stared in response to her fierce voice. Her cheeks flushed red, blue eyes glittered. What had made her take the married state in such dislike?
Before he could question her further, Mrs. Linfield intervened. “Cassandra! You cannot speak so. It is quite improper. What will Lord Rothbury think of you?”
Miss Linfield turned her head in her cousin’s direction, but she did not seem to see her. She appeared to be locked in a world to which they had no access, and Rothbury, of a sudden, longed to pry open the door to that world. He frowned. There was nothing about this dab of a girl that should ignite such a desire.

Cassandra Linfield is a lady fossil collector who declares she will never marry as no man will ever take her studies seriously. When circumstances force her to travel to Town for the Season, Cassy infiltrates the hallowed portals of the Geological Society from which she has been banned. She is horrified when she comes face to face with her nemesis, the infuriating Earl of Rothbury.



Lord Rothbury is a gentleman-geologist with a turbulent romantic past. After a youthful disappointment he vows never to fall in love again, and makes the decision, instead, to seek out a convenient wife when he returns to England from his geological travels abroad.



Brought together by their close family ties, Cassy and Rothbury collaborate on a geological paper and discover a powerful attraction. Marriage, however, is the one subject they cannot agree upon. But when Cassy’s life is threatened, the two realise that love matters more than their objections.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Kobo

Praise for The Earl’s Lady Geologist

“A gentle Regency romance, full of sweetness and intelligence. Alissa Baxter’s writing is period perfect.” -Mimi Matthews, USA Today bestselling author of The Matrimonial Advertisement



“The Earl’s Lady Geologist by Alissa Baxter deftly weaves together the charm of a traditional Regency romance, fascinating information on scientific society of the time, with a quiet subtext about the challenges faced by women interested in pursuing science. This first book in a new series is wonderfully satisfying on many levels!” -Mary Jo Putney, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author



“While immersing the reader in the mores and life of the Regency era, Alissa Baxter manages to write strong, independent heroines whom modern-day women will cheer and root for. Plus the addition of little details that wrap around the plot and the characters make reading her books all the more special because you never know when you might land on a little Easter egg morsel in the beautiful and engaging prose. Historicals with heart and engaging characters that read real—that’s what you get in Ms. Baxter’s books.” -Zee Monodee, USA Today bestselling author



“A truly traditional Regency romance, with lots of witty banter, very reminiscent of Georgette Heyer. Recommended for anyone who likes a completely clean traditional Regency, with strongly authentic writing, historical accuracy and a satisfying romance. Baxter’s writing is excellent, and her dialogue, manners and settings are true to the era. A spirited heroine, a brooding hero, lots of sparkling banter and an authentic Regency setting—with added fossils! Great fun. From Lyme Regis to the drawing rooms of London, Alissa Baxter takes the reader back to the time of Jane Austen.” -Mary Kingswood, author of traditional Regency romances

About the Author

Alissa Baxter was born in a small town in South Africa, and grew up with her nose in a book on a poultry and cattle farm. At the age of eleven she discovered her mother’s collection of Georgette Heyer novels. The first Heyer novel she ever read was Sylvester and she was hooked on Georgette Heyer after that. She read and reread her novels, and fell totally in love with the Regency period and Heyer’s grey-eyed heroes! After school and university, where she majored in Political Science and French, she published her first Regency novel, The Dashing Debutante.

Alissa traveled overseas and worked as a flight attendant in Dubai before she moved to England, where she did an odd assortment of jobs while researching her second novel, Lord Fenmore’s Wager, which she wrote when she moved back to South Africa. Alissa’s third Regency novel, A Marchioness Below Stairs, is the sequel to Lord Fenmore’s Wager.

Alissa has lived in Durban and Cape Town but she eventually settled in Johannesburg where she lives with her husband and two sons. Alissa is also the author of two chick-lit novels, Send and Receive and The Blog Affair, which have been re-released as The Truth About Series: The Truth about Clicking Send and Receive and The Truth About Cats and Bees.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 22

Feature at The Lit Bitch

Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Review at WTF Are You Reading?



Tuesday, February 23

Review at Probably at the Library

Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals



Wednesday, February 24

Review at Bookish Rantings



Thursday, February 25

Review at Gwendalyn’s Books



Friday, February 26

Guest Post at Novels Alive



Monday, March 1

Review & Excerpt at Bookworlder



Tuesday, March 2

Review at Robin Loves Reading



Wednesday, March 3

Review at Amy’s Booket List



Thursday, March 4

Excerpt at The Tea Queen

Review at Pursuing Stacie



Friday, March 5

Review at View from the Birdhouse



Monday, March 8

Review at Book Bustle



Tuesday, March 9

Review at Tangents and Tissues



Wednesday, March 10

Review at YA, It’s Lit



Thursday, March 11

Review at Older & Smarter



Friday, March 12

Excerpt at Hopewell’s Public Library of Life



Monday, March 15

Review at Jorie Loves A Story



Tuesday, March 16

Excerpt at Heidi Reads

Review at Madwoman in the Attic



Wednesday, March 17

Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit



Thursday, March 18

Review at Read Review Rejoice



Friday, March 19

Guest Post at Coffee and Ink



Monday, March 22

Review at Books and Zebras



Tuesday, March 23

Review at Novels Alive



Wednesday, March 24

Feature at I’m Into Books



Thursday, March 25

Review at Bitch Bookshelf



Friday, March 26

Review at Little But Fierce Book Diary

Giveaway

Enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!



The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on February 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.



The Earl’s Lady Geologist

Cassandra Linfield is a lady fossil collector who declares she will never marry as no man will ever take her studies seriously. When circumstances force her to travel to Town for the Season, Cassy infiltrates the hallowed portals of the Geological Society from which she has been banned. She is horrified when she comes face to face with her nemesis, the infuriating Earl of Rothbury.



Lord Rothbury is a gentleman-geologist with a turbulent romantic past. After a youthful disappointment he vows never to fall in love again, and makes the decision, instead, to seek out a convenient wife when he returns to England from his geological travels abroad.



Brought together by their close family ties, Cassy and Rothbury collaborate on a geological paper and discover a powerful attraction. Marriage, however, is the one subject they cannot agree upon. But when Cassy’s life is threatened, the two realise that love matters more than their objections.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Kobo

Praise for The Earl’s Lady Geologist

“A gentle Regency romance, full of sweetness and intelligence. Alissa Baxter’s writing is period perfect.” -Mimi Matthews, USA Today bestselling author of The Matrimonial Advertisement



“The Earl’s Lady Geologist by Alissa Baxter deftly weaves together the charm of a traditional Regency romance, fascinating information on scientific society of the time, with a quiet subtext about the challenges faced by women interested in pursuing science. This first book in a new series is wonderfully satisfying on many levels!” -Mary Jo Putney, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author



“While immersing the reader in the mores and life of the Regency era, Alissa Baxter manages to write strong, independent heroines whom modern-day women will cheer and root for. Plus the addition of little details that wrap around the plot and the characters make reading her books all the more special because you never know when you might land on a little Easter egg morsel in the beautiful and engaging prose. Historicals with heart and engaging characters that read real—that’s what you get in Ms. Baxter’s books.” -Zee Monodee, USA Today bestselling author



“A truly traditional Regency romance, with lots of witty banter, very reminiscent of Georgette Heyer. Recommended for anyone who likes a completely clean traditional Regency, with strongly authentic writing, historical accuracy and a satisfying romance. Baxter’s writing is excellent, and her dialogue, manners and settings are true to the era. A spirited heroine, a brooding hero, lots of sparkling banter and an authentic Regency setting—with added fossils! Great fun. From Lyme Regis to the drawing rooms of London, Alissa Baxter takes the reader back to the time of Jane Austen.” -Mary Kingswood, author of traditional Regency romances





Uncategorized

Review: The Children’s Blizzard: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin

My Interest

Having devoured David Laskin’s nonfiction account of the January 1888 blizzard, when I saw the announcement of Melanie Benjamin’s novel on the same storm, I knew I had to read or listen to it. I chose the audio and my first sitting with it was five full hours! It grabbed and kept my interest on a long, dull, car journey for work. I loved her books, Girls in the Picture, The Aviator’s Wife, and the fabulous Swans of Fifth Avenue.

The Story

At a time when weather forecasting was in its infancy, and the telegraph was the main means of sending urgent news, the blizzard chose a particularly cruel moment to hit. An unusually warm morning after weeks of cold too fierce to be out in had lulled people out of their homes, into town for supplies, children back to school–and mothers taking a chance to air woolens and bedding, wash long underwear, and other things that the bitter cold and cabin fever had prevented. It also decided to hit right as school was getting out–hence the name “Children’s Blizzard” for so many of its victims were under-dressed children walking home.

Raina Olsen, teaching school on this day, has to grow up and make choices well beyond the normal wisdom of 15 and 16 years olds. Raina is “boarding out” teaching school for the first time at age 15 having just passed the exam for her teaching licensee. Her students range from little ones of 5 or so to a boy a few months younger than herself. She must teach them and now, decide their fate in the blizzard, and go on living with the consequences of her decision. At another schoolhouse, her sister Gerta as well as teaching school is also in love for the first time. She too will decide the fate of her students and live with the consequences. Also in the mix is Annette, a girl so unloved her birth mother sells her to be a servant, a Black tavern owner in Omaha and his family, and the newspaperman Gavin who frequents the tavern and who well tell the world the stories of heroism on the prairie during the blizzard.

My Thoughts

The characters are well-developed, the story is as swiftly moving as the blizzard itself, and everything was believable. I could feel the tension and fear in their hearts and minds of those poor kids and their teenage teachers. I could feel the misery of some of those immigrants lured to the prairie by the “fake news” of a farming paradise now stuck in sod houses or uninsulated shacks they called houses. As a mother I thought of all the times my kids went off to the bus wearing next-to-nothing in winter (but happily lived through it).

I could not stop listening to this! I was exhausted from the long car trip, but came into the house, sat down, and listened for another hour–I had to know what happened!! Swans of Fifth Avenue is a hard book to top, but this one tops it! Plus, it’s hard not to like an author who is my age, who grew up in Indianapolis and attended IUPUI! (She is one of the authors I enjoy following on Twitter, too). What incredible success she’s had–and will go on having if this book is any indication of how well she and her editor work together. This was an inspired idea and she has done it incredible justice.

Yet again this year I am giving a book a rating

4.5

I almost never give 5–this is an outrageously good rating for an outrageously good book.

The Children’s Blizzard: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin

I listened to the audio voiced by the outstanding Cassandra Campbell.

Uncategorized

Review: The Survivors: A Novel by Jane Harper

My Interest

I’ve enjoyed Jane Harper’s previous books so of course I wanted to read this one! I like listening to the Australian reader, too. I do not read or listen to that many thrillers/mysteries so this was a step out of my routine too.

The Story

A hometown tragedy reasserts itself when Kieran and Mia come home with baby Audrey to help his mother cope with selling her seafront home and care for her husband with Early Onset Alzheimer’s. While there a new tragedy strikes the community. Old rivalries and jealousies flare. Is there a connection between the tragedies?

My Thoughts

This was a good story, but not as good as the other two books by Harper that I’ve read. I found myself getting confused–which might not have happened if I’d read it instead of listening to it. I could have flipped back to a past chapter and sorted it out. It is still a good read by an author I now consider a “must-read.”

My Verdict

3.0

The Searches: A Novel by Jane Harper

 

My reviews of other books by Jane Harper:

 

Force of Nature

 

 

 

The Dry