Quote of the Week

“Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day.”
By Robert Caspar Lintner.

I have had this quote in a little journal I keep for quotes and poems for a while.

When I think about Thanksgiving, I don’t think about the Pilgrims. I don’t think about the history of that period at all. Instead, I think about the things I am personally thankful. I also think about all the times in the past when not all my family was present to celebrate the day together. One of my children was in another part of the world and fighting in a war. I think about those loved ones who are no longer on this earth, and I only have the memories of Thanksgivings when we were together.
Thanksgiving and all holidays can be a sad time because of serious health problems, the loss of a loved one, the loss of a marriage, the loss of a job, and the constant battles in this life that weigh down a soul.
I’m sorry for the readers of this post who are in a serious battle in life, or they are at a crossroads in life and don’t know the direction to take. I’m praying you will have strength for whatever journey you are on and for the journey you will take.

Thankful list:

1. A comfortable, cozy, and warm bed to sleep in at night.
2. A good stock of teas and books.
3. A husband who works hard at his job.
4. Friends who are like family.
5. Parents who loved me and still do.
6. Children and grandchildren who are in a good place (physically and mentally.)
7. A church home that is like family.
8. Time spent with the grandkids. For example, coloring with three-year-old Charlotte while watching cartoons.
9. A recent good report for my best friend, Kerri, who has stage-four metastatic breast cancer.
10. Despite the bad in this world, there are still people who are kind and compassionate.
11. Warm fuzzy house shoes because I don’t like cold feet.
12. Birds that are so tiny but are enjoyable and relaxing to watch.
13. A huge assortment of lip balms and lotions for dry skin.
14. The changing of the seasons.
15. A quiet home.
16. A place in my home where I can just do what I want. I can read or do art or I can sit and think.
17. Laughter. I cannot imagine living in a world where people do not laugh. And, I enjoy hearing different ages of people laughing. A child who laughs always puts a big smile on my face. I have noticed that laughter is unique with people: the sounds and types of laughter.
18. My parents who modeled strong life skills. They didn’t just preach it. They lived it out in their daily lives.
19. Excellent Tex-Mex food at a favorite restaurant. A savory bowl of charro beans is simple but important.
20. The ability to read and read well.

Charlotte coloring. She can color for hours with good concentration.

[Review] Miss Eliza’s English Kitchen: A Novel of Victorian Cookery and Friendship by Annabel Abbs

Publisher and Publication Date: William Morrow Paperbacks. October 26, 2021.  
Genre: Historical fiction.
Pages: 400.
Format: E-book.
Source: I received a complimentary e-book from NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers of historical fiction.
Rating: Good to very good.

Link @ Amazon.

Link @ Barnes and Noble.

Annabel Abbs’s Goodreads author page.

Summary:

Victorian time period. 1837. England.

A heavy responsibility and burden falls on Eliza Acton. Her father has left the family and country to escape his debt. Her mother takes control and plans a marriage prospect for Eliza. Eliza wants to write poetry. And, she enjoys a new endeavor in learning to cook.

Ann Kirby is a young woman who is employed in the Acton home. Ann and Eliza create interesting dishes in the kitchen. They work together to create a cookery book.

My Thoughts:

Both women take turns being the narrator. I read the word “I” often. “I must”, “I stand”, “I loathe”, I want to be”, “I rise, and dress myself.” This is my least favorite form of writing in a story. I don’t like this point of view. Further, I don’t want to be told the minutiae details of the characters. Those two reasons are the only tidbits I dislike.

What I like about Miss Eliza’s English Kitchen:

1. I love cooking and baking. I love recipes and cookbooks.
2. I love the story taking on a different type of love: friendship. If you read other reviews I write, you will remember I enjoy reading about other types of relationships and not just romantic type love.
3. Eliza’s mother is selfish and annoying. She causes strong internal and external conflicts in the story. Eliza does not have a loving bond with her mother. Her mother is not a person she can depend on to have the best intentions for Eliza. Her mother is about her own life and their financial situation. Her mother is a person who waits for others “to do something for her.”
4. I love the plot. And I love the form or structure of the story that advances towards the plot’s conclusion.
5. Eliza and Ann are of different ages. They are from different socio-economic backgrounds. They are two people who shouldn’t be friends. Yet, a love of a common interest creates and bonds their precious friendship.
6. The story is mainly chronological. At the start of the story, there is a future date where the character remembers the past and how the events brought about the gift of today.
7. I love Eliza’s bold personality. She draws a line in the sand so to speak. She will tolerate only so much and then that’s it! She speaks plain. I love this in a personality.
8. I love Ann’s kind personality. She has a sad background with what has happened to her mother. In this era people who had a mental illness were not taken care of well. They were often abused. They were often cast aside and forgotten. Ann has not forgotten her mother. She does not understand all the details with her mother’s illness, but she loves her. Ann is kind. I wish there had been more about this in the storyline. I understand there is only so much room in a book for the whole of a story, but I think about the importance of this subject.

Themes in the story:

Friendship, cooking, perseverance, honesty, acceptance, kindness, sacrifice, hospitality, judgment, injustice, dreams, grief, charity, and tolerance.

[Review] Three Words for Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Publisher and Publication Date: William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. July 27, 2021.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Pages: 395 total pages with written material. I counted!
Format: Paperback.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Historical fiction readers. Readers who have an interest in World War II stories, travel, relationships, and romance.
Rating: Good.

Link @ Amazon.

Link @ Barnes and Noble.

Link @ Book Depository.

Author pages @ Goodreads.
Hazel Gaynor.
Heather Webb.

Summary:

1937. The story begins in New York state.

The matriarch of the story is Violet. She has cancer. She has one daughter, Celestine Sommers. Celestine is a widow with two daughters. The two daughters are Clara and Madeleine.

Clara and Madeleine are in their twenties. Their personalities are as different as night and day. Clara is an artist. Madeleine is a writer. Clara is engaged. Madeleine doesn’t want a relationship to tie her down.

Violet asks them to travel together to Europe and deliver three letters. Violet has arranged all travel plans. The sisters will travel to Paris, Venice, and Vienna.

The sisters do not like each other and they usually avoid one another. Traveling together for an extended trip causes immediate angst. Their grandmother assures them all will be okay. She has arranged everything.

My Thoughts:

I have mixed feelings about the story. Over-all I enjoyed it. Over-all I read the book in two days because I couldn’t stop reading it. However, there are some things about the story I don’t like.

What I like about Three Words for Goodbye:
1. The story is about two sisters who are polar in personality. Their differences create internal and external conflicts. Their differences create a background and current circumstance. Their differences bring added drama to the story. Their differences bring satire to the story and to the dialogue. Their differences bring a strong interest for me to keep reading.
2. Violet is a strong character. Even though she is in poor health, she is a strong and interesting character. She is unlike most females of her generation.
3. I love the travel itinerary. I love the cities they visit.
4. I love the strong descriptions of the three cities. Whether they travel by ship, train, or air ship, I am there. I too am traveling with them. Plus, Clara has an eye for art. Her perspective is as an artist. Madeleine is a writer. Her perspective is as a writer. Both of them bring their perspectives of what they see and experience.
5. There is a transformation of the sisters. In the beginning, each see their own viewpoint and feelings. As the story progresses, they begin to understand their way has been one-sided.
6. I love stories that share what the characters think. When a story only shares the dialogue that is audible to others that’s not enough for me. I want to know how they feel that is not expressed audibly. I want to know their fears, insecurities, hurts, doubts, and anxieties.

What I do not like about the story or what I found lacking:
1. I know who Celestine is (the name) but she is like a ghost in the story. I know Violet. I know Clara and Madeleine. I know their deceased father. I know their deceased grandfather. But what is Celestine like. I feel she should have been completely dropped from the story. Let her be dead like the father and grandfather. She is unneeded. Her name takes up space.
2. I read one reference to Madeleine smoking. I read a few statistics about smoking in the first half of the 20th century. From the 1920s to 1950s, 70% of men smoked. In the 1920s females who smoked were rare. But smoking became more common as advertisements encouraged smoking. My mother was born in 1926 and she did not smoke. Her mother was born in the early 1900s and she did not smoke. Both my grandfathers smoked. My point in all of this is a story in this time period should reflect people and their common habits. It should reflect a lifestyle similar to that period and to the people themselves. Several references are made to drinking alcohol and gambling, but why only one reference to smoking?
3. The story is predictable. It is predictable from the first page to the last page. The romances are predictable. The direction of the story period.
4. I had hoped to read more of an emphasis on what is going on in Europe pre-World War II.
5. The biggest love story is between the two sisters. I feel this should be the primary focus with the theme of love and relationships. After-all, there are different types of love; there are different levels of love.

Closing thoughts:
1. I’m happy to state this is not a dual time period story. The story moves chronologically in time.
2. Madeleine is presented as a female trying to create a career in a male dominated world. Let her remain single. Let her write her own story about the trip or Violet’s life. People do not have to have a romantic storyline. It is an additional point to read. People do not have to be in a romantic relationship for life to be complete and enjoyable. Be a breath of fresh air and let them be focused on the joy of career and friends.

Themes in the story:

Love, relationships, family saga, romance, travel, acceptance, kindness, circle of life, injustice, conformity, beauty, and greed.

Quote of the Week

“I see my way as birds their trackless way.
I shall arrive! what time, what circuit first,
I ask not; but unless God send his hail
Or blinding fire-balls, sleet or stifling snow,
In some time, his good time, I shall arrive:
He guides me and the bird. In his good time!”

“Paracelsus” -Part I.
by Robert Browning [1812-1889]

Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations
Published by Little, Brown and Company, 1955. Page 566-567.

[Review] Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery

Publisher and Publication Date: Sourcebooks Fire. First published in 1909. This edition 2014.  
Genre: Fiction. Young adult.
Pages: 287.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Library.
Audience: L. M. Montgomery readers.
Rating: Good.

Link @ Amazon.

Link @ Barnes and Noble.

L. M. Montgomery’s Goodread’s author page.

Summary:

Anne is 16. She is a teacher for a year at the local school.

Marilla takes in twins who are relatives. They are age six.

Anne’s best friend, Diana, and a best friend who is a boy, Gilbert, are sources of comfort and encouragement.

In book two, Anne transitions from school attendee to teacher. During her process, she develops into a mature young woman ready for life beyond Avonlea.

My Thoughts:

I am reading Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy; and as a compliment book to it, I chose to read Anne of Avonlea which is book two in the Anne of Green Gable’s series.

When I was in middle school I read Anne of Green Gables. I do not remember if I read it again in high school or older. This is the first time to read Anne of Avonlea.

I love the second paragraph in the first chapter.
“But an August afternoon, with blue hazes scarfing the harvest slopes, little winds whispering elfishly in the poplars, and a dancing splendor of red poppies outflaming against the dark coppice of young firs in a corner of the cherry orchard, was fitter for dreams than dead languages.” Page 1.
The first reason I enjoyed reading this book is the crisp details of Avonlea. I love descriptions of what the characters in stories see. I want to see what they see and at least feel to an extent what they are feeling. It helps me become invested and swept up in the story.
A second reason why I enjoyed reading this story is the personality of Anne. She is likable. She is real. She is not presented as perfect. She is a person who has strengths and weaknesses. I love the fleshing out of who she is at 16. Dreamy and innocent. She has her whole life ahead of her and she is beginning to envision a life beyond Avonlea. In addition, I love her “Anneish philosophy.” See page 106.
In one of the final conversations in the book, Anne and her best friend contemplate what it will be like to be engaged and married. This is a common conversation for young women. The sighing and dreaminess of being in love and getting married makes me remember those days of my youth when I thought about the same thing.
I love the transformation of Anne’s awareness about life. In the brief year of this book’s timeline, I see a maturing Anne.