Quote of the Week

Mother and me in 1977.

“They are all gone into the world of light,
And I alone sit lingering here;
Their very memory is fair and bright,
And my sad thoughts doth clear.”

“They Are All Gone” Stanza 1.

Henry Vaughan [1622-1695]

Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations.
Published by Little, Brown and Company 1955. Page 272.

To read the full poem: Poetry Foundation.

[Review] Beany Malone, Book 2 in the Beany Malone series by Lenora Mattingly Weber

Publisher and Publication Date: Image Cascade Publishing,1999. First published in 1948.
Genre: Young adult fiction. The series was written for young girls.
Pages: 260.
Format: Kindle e-book.
Source: Self purchase.
Audience: Readers with an interest in mid 1940s America. Readers who enjoy a family story.
Rating: Excellent.

Link @ Amazon.

To read a biography of Lenora Mattingly Weber: Image Cascade.

And at Goodreads, another biography plus a list of her books: Goodreads.

Summary:

In the first book in this series (total of 14 books), Catherine Cecilia Malone or Beany is the youngest sister and a secondary character, but in this book, she is the principal character.

In the first book, Meet the Malones, I learn their mother died, their father is a journalist, there are two older sisters, followed by one brother, and Beany is the youngest.

The second book continues the Malone story:

The year is 1945 and the war is over. It is the fall of the year. The place is Denver, Colorado.

Elizabeth is the eldest sister; she has a young son and she’s waiting for her husband to return home. He was overseas during World War II, and he has a serious injury.

Mary Fred is the second eldest sister. She is a college freshman but is held up taking one final course in high school to be a full college freshman, that course is Chemistry. She wants to be in a sorority. Her friend is Lila.

Johnny is a senior in high school. He is a writer, and he’s working on a nonfiction history story about an early settler in Denver.

Beany is 16. She’s a sophomore in high school with a heart-felt crush on a boy who is not nice. He actually hates the family. Beany’s dad shares information with her that will impact the whole family. He tells her first which is interesting because she is the youngest. In reading between the lines, I believe the father feels she is trustworthy and mature.

My Thoughts:

I am a member of a Facebook group for those who love Lenora Mattingly Weber’s books. Several in the group have remarked they love the early books in the series rather than the later books. The main reason for the later books is they dislike the male personalities and how they treat people. So, it will be interesting for me to read the further books. I feel a big reason for their feelings is the culture and society differences of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. People in history did not live like we do in 2022.

What I love about this book:

1. I love reading old sayings. For example: fiddle-faddle, fling, big shots.
2. I love the substory of Elizabeth and her husband. Towards the end of the story, they have serious struggles to overcome. This story gave me a lesson in what couples went through after World War II.
3. I love the internal and external struggle between Beany and Norbert. Despite how she feels about him, and his hurtful words, she does not change who she is to seek revenge and retaliation. I believe this shows the depth of her character.
4. Weber’s writing is excellent at setting the mood and tone of the various situations in the story.
5. I love the maturity of Elizabeth. She takes time from the serious stuff in her own life to share wise words to her family.
6. I love the hidden gems of wisdom and grace and love in the family.
7. The story weaves in a moral lesson in honesty. An adult who should be mature and honest is not. Instead, a young person marvels the family with honesty.
8. In the first book there is a theme about socio-economic levels of people. Those in the higher income versus those who are working class families who struggle to make ends meet. This book shares a bit of the same. Add to this sororities and popular kids at school and the struggle for those who try and become one of them.
9. Beany is a young girl who wants to take care of people-save-fix-make peace. She finds out not all people need or want her help and interference. She is actually remarkable in certain areas of maturity but as all people who have ever been a young person there are things to learn.

Themes: coming of age, family honor, romance, suffering, judgment, wisdom, trust, gratitude, charity, hope, dreams, acceptance, kindness, compassion, bravery, and honesty.

Quote of the Week

“All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
All are but ministers of Love,
And feed his sacred flame.”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge [1772-1834]

Love [1799]. Stanza 1.

Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett.
Published by Little, Brown and Company in 1955.
Page 423.

To read the full poem at English Verse: Love.

[Cover Reveal] The Sign of the Weeping Virgin by Alana White

Publisher and Publication Date: Five Star. Kindle edition publication date, May 1, 2022. Paperback publication date, May 2, 2022. First published in 2012.
Genre: Historical mystery/fiction.
Pages: 399.
Format: Available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle.
Audience: Historical mystery/fiction readers.

Series: The Guid’Antonio Vespucci Mysteries, Book 1.

Link for the Kindle edition @ Amazon.

Link @ Barnes and Noble.

Link @ IndieBound.

About the Author:

Alana White is the author of the Guid’Antonio mystery series set in Renaissance Florence, Italy. The next title in the series, The Hearts of All on Fire, is coming soon. Like Guid’Antonio, Alana loves dogs. While he dwells in 15th-Century Florence with his brave cane corso Italiano, Alana currently lives in Nashville, TN with her husband, their cat, and two boisterous schnauzer boys.

For more information, please visit Alana White’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Goodreads.

Summary:

Florence, 1480: Guid’Antonio Vespucci is back in town. One man. One clue. One last chance to save the Republic.

Florentine investigator Guid’Antonio Vespucci returns to Italy from a government mission to find his dreams of peace shattered. Marauding Turks have abducted a young girl and sold her into slavery. Equally disturbing, a revered painting of the Virgin Mary is weeping in Guid’Antonio’s family church. Are the tears manmade or a sign of God’s displeasure with Guid’Antonio himself?

In a finely wrought story for lovers of medieval and renaissance mysteries everywhere‚ Guid’Antonio follows a spellbinding trail of clues to uncover the thought-provoking truth about the missing girl and the weeping painting’s mystifying tears‚ all pursued as he comes face to face with his own personal demons.

“Color, intrigue, and elegant prose bring the 15th-century City of Flowers to life.” —Brenda Rickman Vantrease, Bestselling Author of The Illuminator and A Far Horizon.” -Historical Novels Review Editor’s Choice

Giveaway:

Enter to win a paperback copy of The Sign of the Weeping Virgin by Alana White!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on May 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Direct Link for the giveaway.

[Review] The Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray

Publisher and Publication Date: Vintage Books/Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. May 3, 2022.
Genre: Historical Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Austenesque.
Pages: 400.
Format: eBook.
Source: I received a complimentary eBook copy from Austenprose, NetGalley, and Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers of Austenesque.
Rating: Excellent.

Link @ Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Link @ Amazon.

Link @ Audible.

Link @ Barnes and Noble.

Link @ Book Depository.

Link @ Bookshop.

Link @ Goodreads.

Link @ BookBub.

ADVANCE PRAISE:

“Had Jane Austen sat down to write a country house murder mystery, this is exactly the
book she would have written. Devotees of Austen’s timeless novels will get the greatest
possible pleasure from this wonderful book. Immense fun and beautifully
observed. Delicious!” —Alexander McCall Smith
“What a splendid conceit! . . . Gray provides plenty of backstory and enough depth to
her characters that even those who mix up their Pride and Prejudice with their Sense
and Sensibility will delight in the Agatha Christie–style mystery. . . . There’s so much fun
to be had in this reimagined Austen world—and the mystery is so strong—that one can
only hope, dear reader, that more books will follow.” —Ilene Cooper, Booklist (starred
review)
“[An] enchanting mystery. . . . Gray perfectly captures the personalities of Austen’s
beloved characters. This is a real treat for Austenites.” —Publishers Weekly
“Who would NOT want to read a book in which one of literature’s most notorious rakes
meets his final demise? . . . A delightful Agatha Christie meets Jane Austen
romp.” —Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Author Bio:

Claudia Gray is the pseudonym of Amy Vincent. She is the writer of multiple young
adult novels, including the Evernight series, the Firebird trilogy, and the Constellation
trilogy. In addition, she’s written several Star Wars novels, such as Lost
Stars
 and Bloodline. She makes her home in New Orleans with her husband Paul and
assorted small dogs.

Summary:

A summer house party turns into a thrilling whodunit when Jane Austen’s Mr.
Wickham—one of literature’s most notorious villains—meets a sudden and
suspicious end in this brilliantly imagined mystery featuring Austen’s leading
literary characters.
The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a party at their country
estate, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved
by Jane Austen fans. Definitely not invited is Mr. Wickham, whose latest financial
scheme has netted him an even broader array of enemies. As tempers flare and
secrets are revealed, it’s clear that everyone would be happier if Mr. Wickham got his
comeuppance. Yet they’re all shocked when Wickham turns up murdered—except, of
course, for the killer hidden in their midst.

Nearly everyone at the house party is a suspect, so it falls to the party’s two youngest
guests to solve the mystery: Juliet Tilney, the smart and resourceful daughter of
Catherine and Henry, eager for adventure beyond Northanger Abbey; and Jonathan
Darcy, the Darcy’s’ eldest son, whose adherence to propriety makes his father seem
almost relaxed. In this tantalizing fusion of Austen and Christie, from New York
Times bestselling author Claudia Gray, the unlikely pair must put aside their own poor
first impressions and uncover the guilty party—before an innocent person is sentenced
to hang.

My Thoughts:

I first want to state this is a splendid book!
Further, it is a busy book-busy with characters with their own substories. If you are a Jane Austen fan this means you’ve read at least one of her stories, if not several. You will recognize the characters from her books in this one volume. It is amazing how the large cast is brought together under one roof for a house party. Some are related. All are known to the hosts, Mr. Knightley, and wife, Emma. And the wicked Mr. Wickham joins the group-uninvited of course, which sets everyone on edge, and is the start of the murder-detective-mystery.

Several reasons why I love this story!

1. I love how I hear the other characters remark on one another. Their perspectives and impressions of one another.

2. Mr. George Wickam is everyone’s nemesis. Even characters who have only heard about him or have had little interaction with him-they detest him. I believe he is true to form as his terrible character reveals itself even more in this story.

3. The characters are true to their original stories. Their personalities, and the parts of the story we know about (and don’t know about) are carried on in this story. The Murder of Mr. Wickham brings us up to date with how their lives have been since we knew them in the original stories by Austen.

4. I love the pace of the story. The middle point is a building point to how the characters respond to what has happened to Mr. Wickham, to suppose who is the perpetrator, and to reveal more about their own substories.

5. Juliet and Jonathan Darcy are the youngest characters. They team up to solve the murder mystery. They are the only ones who either did not know Mr. Wickham or did not know him well. Their personalities alone are fascinating. They are a twist on expected gender type roles. Juliet is an intelligent young woman living in an era when women were not expected to take on a role as a detective.

6. Most of the time I love the author interjecting her own thoughts. This is not how I feel in all stories, but in this story, I love it.

7. I consider The Murder of Mr. Wickham to be a character study. If you love characters and the differences in them and how they bring together a larger story. This is the book for you.

8. The mystery of the murderer is not completely a surprise. I love how many of the ones on the list as possible suspects are ruled out. It is logical and methodical in how they are ruled out.

9. There is a theme in the story of grief. It is interesting that many of the characters suffer from grief. An unresolved sorrow and bitterness.

10. The ending of the story is very satisfactory.

Further Thoughts:

1. If Mr. Wickham is an untrustworthy scoundrel, why is Emma the one who showed Mr. Wickham to the room he will be staying in? I’m surprised Mr. Knightly trusts their unchaperoned trip.

2. This is not a Christian fiction book, but several Scripture references are used.

3. A modern-day view of a topic is weaved into the story. I’m not convinced this is accurate of this era. What I mean is I believe that this occurred (of course), but I don’t believe people talked about it. It was an unmentioned topic even in most private conversations. Even in my parents’ generation, (they were born in the 1920s) this topic was not mentioned except in whispers or lewd comments. So, this part of the story I do not believe can be considered accurate for this time period. And yes, this is my opinion. But I do believe the substory is handled well because it is private conversations between a married couple. As well as their struggles with a difference of opinion.

Themes: grief, romance, family honor, ambition, jealousy, courage, compassion, self-control, charity, hospitality, greed, injustice, deception, and innocence.