"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Thursday, March 1, 2018

February Books

A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander -- third in the Belmont Mansion series; This book is about Rebekah who wants to play in an orchestra, but is unable to because she's not a man.  She does, however, qualify to assist the maestro, Tate Whitcomb, whom she greatly dislikes because he is the conductor who refused to let her play in his orchestra. 

The Devil's Puzzle by Clare O'Donohue -- final book in the Someday Quilts Mystery featuring Nell Fitzgerald; the town of Archers Rest is planning a founders day celebration, and a skeleton is found in Nell's grandmother's garden

The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain -- after their friend Noelle kills herself, Emerson and Tara look for clues.  Emerson discovers a half-written note to "Anna" about a baby whom Noelle stole from a hospital over fifteen years ago. 

To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander -- a Belle Meade Plantation novel with some returning characters from previous books, and also Alexandra Jamison who leaves her family to teach at the black school in her area, Fisk University.  I enjoyed learning more about the Jubilee Singers through this book. 

Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet by M.C. Beaton -- another murder mystery featuring the lovable, quirky Agatha Raisin; book 2 in this series; I read much of this at the park while Sophie played with many "best friends"

Thirty Years in a Red House by Zhu Xiao Di -- "a memoir of childhood and youth in Communist China" -- a book I found at a free little library in Damascus, Virginia, last year

A Thread of Truth by Marie Bostwick -- I read this book about 9 years ago, but I recently read the first book in this Cobbled Quilt series and decided to reread this one.  It had many of the same characters as book 1, but focused more on Ivy who had come to New Bern, Connecticut, after fleeing an abusive husband.  The quilt club rallies behind her to help her fight her demons...or Demon in this case.

The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty -- a rather cute story about Evelyn Bucknow from Kansas; it starts with her around 10 years, growing up with a single mother who is rather immature about handling things.  I appreciate Evelyn's observations as she sorts through life and later gets through the middle school years.

The Very Thought of You by Rosie Alison -- Anticipating the danger of Germany bombing London, Anna Sands' mom makes the difficult decision to send Anna away to the countryside until it is safer in London. Anna, 8 years old, is taken to the home of Thomas and Elizabeth Ashton, a handsome, childless couple who host several children and open a school for them to attend during the war.  Initially Anna is attracted to the lovely Mrs. Ashton, but later realizes she much prefers Mr. Ashton, who teaches them poems and Latin and such things.  A good book, over all.  A bit weird towards the end.

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott -- At the last minute, Tess secures a spot for herself aboard a ship sailing for the United States as a maid for Lady Duff Gordon.  Tess wants to learn from the famous designer and get out of servitude.  Along the way, the ship sinks, but Tess and the Duff Gordons make it onto lifeboats, and come to the US with stories to tell of what happened aboard the Titanic.

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen -- This is book 2 in her first-ever series, Tales from Ivy Hill.  I liked it, but would have enjoyed it better in the beginning if I could have better remembered what happened in book one. It's been a few months since book one, and I've read a lot of books since then.  And, I guess the old memory just doesn't remember as well as I'd like.  But this book follows Rachel as she looks for a way to support herself and decides to run a subscription library (since she inherited her father's vast book collection.)  It continues more with other characters from Ivy Hill - Jane the innkeeper;  and Mercy and Matilda who run the girls' school at Ivy Cottage where Rachel lives with them.  Nice book.  (I jotted down a few notes which I put in the calendar in the kitchen drawer; that way when book 3 comes out, maybe I can remember a bit better.)

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate -- an interesting story about Riss Foss aka May who was taken to the Tennessee Children's Home along with her four siblings after her parents were tricked into signing over their rights; I looked up Georgia Tann, a truly wicked woman who stole and trafficked children for several years starting around 1939

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers -- Two adults with tough childhoods meet when Roman Velasco hires Grace Moore as a personal assistant from a temp agency.  Roman deals with his childhood, growing up with a mother who entertained men in order to support the family, and Grace dealt with her own issues dealing with her parents dying when she was 7.  Pretty good book; not my favorite from this author

A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott -- ever wonder what it would be like to be a personal assistant to a star?  And what it was like to be on the set of a movie so famous, such as Gone With the Wind?  In this book Julie is in Hollywood trying to make a name for herself as a writer. In the meantime she catches the eyes of Carole Lombard and becomes her PA during the time of life when the actress is hoping to marry Clark Gable.  This isn't my typical type of book, but I'd read two others by this author and enjoyed them so I read this one.  Pretty interesting. 

The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden -- I nearly put this book aside in the first few pages because I was distracted by the slave dialect as they talked among each other, but I kept at it, and found this a pretty good book.  The ending confession was a surprise.  

Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams -- a gift from a friend about "rediscovering the lost city one step at a time;" Peru seems like such a fascinating country with strenuous hikes and gorgeous views and so much history!  What a way to learn more about it. Now I'd kind of like to go!

Masquerade by Nancy Moser -- When Charlotte Gleason and her maid Dora leave England to meet the Tremaines of New York, they devise a plan where Charlotte gets to go on an adventure while Dora becomes Charlotte with the hopes of marrying the wealthy Conrad Tremaine.  What could go wrong?

The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti -- A small Pennsylvania town with economic troubles + a thousand dead starlings falling onto a high school baseball field.  An accusation of an affair between a coach and his student. What is up with Lucia and all those other teens? Friends or foes? 

The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman  -- Josef and Lenka were married around the time things were greatly deteriorating for Jews living in Europe.  When Josef's father secures passage for his family and Lenka to escape to New York, Lenka chooses to stay behind with her own parents and sister with hopes that Josef can sponsor all of them later. Soon after Josef's family leaves, Lenka's family is moved to TerezĂ­n where Lenka and her family struggle to survive with thousands of other Jewish people. 

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake -- This book was just okay to me. Parts were somewhat exciting, and I did like the message of it as it pertains to immigrant populations today, but I didn't really love any of the characters except maybe Frankie, the American lady who was in London reporting on the war, and somewhat Otto, who was watched because folks in this small town thought he might be a German spy.  The author's final sentence in "the story behind the story" on page 326 was thought-provoking, though!

The English Wife by Lauren Willig -- I saw this in the new books online and decided to try out this author.  I enjoyed this book about Bayard Van Duyvil's trip to Europe and his chance meeting with a struggling actress, Georgie Evans.  The book goes back and forth from Bay and Georgie's meeting to their eventual marriage and coming back to New York as "Bay and Annabelle" where Bay's family is a prominent member of society.  The circumstances surrounding their deaths is a mystery. Was it a murder-suicide?  If so, who killed whom? And why?

Sunday, February 11, 2018

DNA Player Cards

Ancestry offers these cool "cards" now so I figured I'd share my family members' cards here.

First Andrew.  As far as I know, not related to me except by marriage. Hahaha.

Me. With a stingray a few years ago; Oak Island, North Carolina.

My dad.

My mom.

My nephew (sister's son).

About that Slovenian last name, though

Note: when we got our results a year and a half ago, Europe South was called Italy/Greece. Since then they have renamed it Europe South, but when you click on it at the Ancestry website it says, "primarily Italy and Greece."  I think back then Ireland was separate, too, but now I see Scotland and Wales paired with it.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January Books

The Double Cross by Clare O'Donohue -- book three in the Someday Quilts Mystery series; I read the first two last year.  This is about Nell who loves to get involved in solving crimes although she's not a detective.  In this book, the Quilt Club leaves Archer's Rest so Susanne can teach a class at a new bed-and-breakfast establishment.  What they find is a run-down place, weird locals, and a murder!

Beauty for Ashes by Dorothy Love -- book 2 in the Hickory Ridge Romance series; I read the first book from the library, and liked the story so I put the next two books on my Amazon Wishlist since the library didn't have them.  Problem is that I kind of forgot what book 1 was about, but I think I remembered it somewhat as I read this book about Carrie Daly as she is pressured into taking care of her unkind sister in law and her two unruly sons while her brother Henry goes to Chicago to find work.

The Carpenter by Jon Gordon -- "A Story About the Greatest Success Strategies of All"  ; instead of being told in a regular way, the strategies are told in a story.  Basically a carpenter or craftsman giving advice to someone hiring him to build an entertainment center. I would not have chosen this book, but Andrew read it (someone from church let him borrow it) and he said it was good. It was an easy read so I took the time to read it. 

The Secret Life if CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain -- As this book begins CeeCee is a 16 year old, high school graduate working at a coffee shop in Chapel Hill, NC.  When a graduate student named Tom pays special attention to her, the parentless CeeCee is ready for his attention.  Her positive outlook and eagerness to please is perfect for what Tom has planned for her.  This involved a plot to get the attention of the governor of NC in order to negotiate his sister's release from death row.  And it goes from there...

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier -- When Osei Kokote's family moves to Washington, D.C., he is the new kid in school. And amazingly, he is the only black kid in the sixth grade (this must be a private school or something because D.C. has no other black students?).  Dee, teacher's pet and pretty white girl, is instructed to show him around.  This book was an interesting look at playground-and-lunch dynamics. 

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck -- an honor book at a local library; I'd read a few others from this author so I decided to read this one about Charlotte who owns a wedding dress shop in Birmingham.  She goes to an estate auction and buys a battered trunk that is welded shut.  When she finally gets it open, she discovers a wedding dress and seeks to find out more of its history.

A Blue and Gray Christmas by Joan Medlicott -- the final book in the series that I started last year about Amelia, Hannah, and Grace who live in a small community in Madison County, NC; the ladies discover a tin with old Civil War-era diaries and letters and seek more information about the descendants of these two soldiers

The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor -- Are you familiar with the Cottingley fairy pictures from over 100 years ago? I wasn't, but I learned about it in a fictionalized way in this book. I read a book by this author late last year, and enjoyed it.  This was good, but I liked the other better (due to preferred subject matter.)  But if you enjoy fairies...this one may interest you.

Every Perfect Gift by Dorothy Love -- final book in the Hickory Ridge Romance trilogy (at least I think it's the last one); this one deals with Sophie who was introduced as the little orphan girl in book one.  She went to Texas with the couple who took her into their home, but now as an adult woman, she returns to Hickory Ridge to take over the newspaper. 

The Lake House by Kate Morton -- a great book with an ending that may have been just a little too neat, but still...I really enjoyed this book about Alice Edevane's family in Cornwall, and the modern-day detective Sadie who was visiting her grandfather there while on forced leave.  This was the last of her books at my library, but maybe she'll have more sometime!

The Three Mrs. Parkers by Joan Medlicott -- a book about three women Winifred Parker who came to live with her daughter in law Zoe, and then Zoe's daughter Kathryn moving in with them after her disabled daughter's death

The Bay at Midnight by Diane Chamberlain -- I discovered this author last year, and have enjoyed most of her books.  This was no exception.   It takes place in New Jersey (where the author is from), and I love the character of 12-year-old Julie reading her Nancy Drew novels, collecting assorted items and keeping them as clues.  As the book opens, Julie is now 53 years old and writing her thirty-third novel in her Granny Fran series.  But a knock on the door changes everything...and reopens wounds from the summer when Julie was 12, and her sister died at the Jersey Shore. 

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton -- I read a short series by this author last year that takes place in Edwardian times. This one is more contemporary and a much longer series.  I got the first from the library to give it a go.  And for the most part I liked it!  The proofreader didn't do well...at times they had Angela instead of Agatha and a few other quibbles were noted by someone who read the book and decided to ink in the correct name or quotation marks.  But the story was rather cute if not great.  I'll likely read more of these for some light reading. 

A Single Thread by Marie Bostwick -- After her divorce Evelyn takes a long trip from Texas to Connecticut to see the fall colors, as that is something she always wanted to do. While there, she discovers an abandoned store for rent, and decides to try out a dream of opening a quilt shop.  Eventually she becomes friends with some local ladies and an Irish gentleman who run the popular Grill.  A rather cute story about the importance of friendship.

The Dressmaker's War by Mary Chamberlain -- The story of Ada's war.  The young lady with a flair for designing and creating lovely dresses. Who was foolish enough to take up with a guy who led her to Paris just as War was coming to the world.  What was Ada's war like as a dressmaker in Munich?  And what happened after the war?  Was her story believable enough for English society?

Austenland by Shannon Hale -- ho hum.  Jane is gifted a trip to Austenland where she put on the dress and character of a Regency-era lady and tried to make heads or tails of what kind of man she wanted.  I got rather bored of this book after awhile; I'm glad it was under 200 pages.

Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron -- "Being the First Jane Austen Mystery" ; a series I discovered at a local library about a journal of Jane Austen who was detecting in the murder of the Lord

The White Garden by Stephanie Barron -- "a novel of Virginia Woolf" -- Jo Belamy goes to England to research the White Garden because she is hired by a rich fellow in the States who wants it replicated.  While there, Jo searches for clues about her grandfather Jock who killed himself the day after Jo told him that she was traveling there.  She didn't realize her grandfather had once been the gardener at Sissinghurst Castle. What did he know about the death of Virginia Woolf? 

The Excellent Lombards by Jane Hamilton -- a somewhat interesting story about Mary Frances Lombard and her extended family who lived in Wisconsin and worked in the family apple orchard and in the sheep pens.  MF (as she refers to herself later in the book) holds steady in her desire to work the farm and orchard one day, but has trouble with her brother's changing ways - going to college - and other changes around the place. 

The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott -- a good story about Alice's arrival at the cotton mill in Lowell, Massachusetts, around 1832.  Her time with other mill girls and the circumstances surrounding her friend Lovey's death: was it suicide because of Lovey's fallen state or was she murdered?  I liked this book. 

Mozart's Sister by Nancy Moser -- my mom read this book a few months ago, and I put it on my to-get-eventually list; well that day happened recently, and I enjoyed learning more about Nannerl Mozart through this first-person account some of which is fiction, of course, but much of which was gathered through the family's letter-writing (and saving of those letters) tradition; a good book

Gone South by Meg Moseley -- When Tish decides to check out the ancestral home in northern Alabama on her way back from moving her mom from Michigan to Florida, she had no idea that she'd decide to purchase the thing!  But, she does, and finds it's a bit hard to plug into life with a name like Letitia McComb.  Something about her grandparents being unkind carpetbaggers 100 years prior. In the meantime, Tish takes in Mel - that's Melanie Hamilton - who recently arrived back into town. A local 20 year old on the outs with her family and most of her hometown. A decent book. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Local Germany

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed The Local Germany Facebook page was looking for people who had applied for and received German citizenship.  I sent the link to Samer in case he was interested in being interviewed.

They ended up running a broad article a few days ago, and today they posted "...the first in a series of profiles exploring the experiences of people who have gained German citizenship and the impact it has had on their lives."

And it featured Samer who became an EU citizen nearly two years ago. 

This month marks 9 years since Andrew and I left North Carolina to visit Samer in Syria - and meet him in person for the first time!   Those were incredible days!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Bike, Blob, Beautiful Beast: Snow Day Happenings!

We've had at least three other snow events this winter, but I didn't even bother to photograph them.  They were rather lame.  I figured eventually we'd get several inches, and THEN I'd take pictures.

Today was that day.

Andrew was out nearly from the get-go.  First he tried out his fat-tire bike.

Then he got to work on the yearly snow blob.

Usually when he makes it, the snow has nearly stopped coming down.  Not today. 

A few hours after I posted Snow Blob (above) on Facebook, it looked like this due to more snow falling on it.  Somewhere in there is a blue scarf.

Later, I bundled up and we walked to the park

and then I came home and took pictures in our yard and in my inlaws' back yard.  (Did y'all know I lived beside Andrew's parents?)

I took several pictures of Flash.

 In fact, he watched me, and later Andrew riding his bike,

and then he decided to come out from under the shelter so I could photograph him. I thought my phone pictures turned out rather well. 

My real camera had melting snow on the lens at this point.   Flash still looks pretty good in the snow.  

I am for sure a warm-weather-loving person, but I must admit that snow is charming, and I enjoyed my two walks with Andrew today. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

December Books

The Proving by Beverly Lewis -- I hadn't read any Amish-themed books lately so when I saw this on the New Books shelves, I got it.  I read these books very fast and this was no exception.  Five years earlier, Mandy left her Amish community after a rift with her twin sister.  Now she's back in town because her mother left her the family-run B&B.  She only has to make it profitable for a year before she can sell it and buy her own florist.

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier -- a novel about Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, English ladies from different classes who formed a friendship over fossils.  This was a pretty interesting read, and I enjoyed learning more about these ladies and their work.

Two Days After the Wedding by Joan Medlicott -- more adventures in Covington with Hannah, Amelia, and Grace

Murder on the Cliffs by Joanna Challis -- When Daphne du Maurier escaped London for a holiday to Cornwall, she never expected to happen upon a teenager standing over a dead body; yep, another English murder mystery find at the local library.  I'll look for others by this author as I enjoyed this story pretty well!

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton --  I'll admit that this book took me awhile to get into, but once it hit around page 188, I got MUCH more interested in this story as told from the perspectives of Laurel and her mother Dorothy, and also the two women Dolly and Vivien who were friends (of sorts) during the war.  And then there is sweet Jimmy.  Whatever became of him? 

An Unexpected Family by Joan Medlicott -- this novella mainly deals with a young woman and her small child who show up at Hannah, Grace, and Amelia's house claiming to be a relative of Amelia's late husband, Thomas.  Miriam and Sadie are on the run from Miriam's abusive ex-husband. 

An Irish Christmas by Melody Carlson -- a small book that was on display at the library due, I expect, to its Christmas theme; an easy read. A story about a widow who took her college-aged son to Ireland to talk to him about his father

The Winter Guest by Pam Jenoff -- When Helena's mother is hospitalized, Helena and her twin sister Ruth take charge of their younger siblings. It's a tough time in Poland, but it gets more interesting - and dangerous - when Helena discovers a wounded soldier in the forest not too far from their cabin.  Sam turns out to be an American Jew hoping to get in touch with the resistance, but how can he do anything with his hurt leg?

The Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummins -- a look at Irish Travellers or Pavees through the life of nearly-twelve-year-old William Christopher Hurley or Christy.  A rather good book as I didn't know anything about this culture or that it existed. 

Slow Medicine: The Way to Healing by Victoria Sweet -- my mom read this book and recommended it so I put it on hold and soon received a copy from the library; I enjoyed reading this doctor's account of Slow Medicine vs. Fast Medicine, and, for that matter, Medicine vs. Healthcare.  I especially enjoyed tales of former patients and diseases she dealt with during her work in California. 

The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier -- stories about Isabelle back during the time of John Calvin, and Ella Turner or Tournier as she becomes when she goes to live in France for her husband's work.  Ella starts researching her family,and finds a connection with Isabelle - and uncovers a secret connected to a nightmare she keeps having.

Peril at Somner House by Joanna Challis  -- When Daphne du Maurier agreed to spend a few days with her sister at her sister's friend's house, she didn't expect to be trapped on the island for the winter.  Well, at least there are other interesting guests around and a fascinating tower on the grounds.  Still, the Lord of the place winds up dead and most everyone is suspect. 

Promises of Change by Joan Medlicott -- nearly the end of this series; it's interesting to see how the ladies have changed since coming to Covington all those years before.  Figured I might as well see how this series ends . . .

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty -- When Louise Brooks' parents plan to send her to New York City for several weeks, they look to hire a local lady to accompany their daughter.  Cora signs up for the role and seeks to learn more about her own history.  No one - except her husband Alan - knows that she came to Kansas on an orphan train.  Pretty interesting story. 

Bound by Sally Gunning -- When Alice was brought to America with her family at the age of 7, she looked forward to life with her mom, dad, and brothers in Philadelphia where her father told the family they were headed.  Unfortunately, she lost most of her family on the ship, and they landed in Boston where her father sold her into service in order to pay his debts.  This book was quite interesting though maybe a bit too drawn out.  But mostly I enjoyed it, and the fact that I was not born into such a time. 

The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase -- I saw this in the new books section, and decided to give this author a try.  I enjoyed this story of the four Wilde sisters - Flora, Pam, Margot, and Dot - and the memorable summer of 1959 when they stayed a few months with their aunt and uncle.  The story also follows Jessie and her family's move to Applecote Manor, and how the two families' lives connect.

Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier -- I rather enjoyed this story told from a variety of voices and which centers around a cemetery in 1901 England.  Maude Coleman and Lavinia Waterhouse meet there and later are neighbors and best friends. 

The Villa of Death by Joanna Challis -- another and final (for my library anyway) Daphne du Maurier mystery.  I rather like these books for some light reading. 

The Good Father by Diane Chamberlain -- a story told with the alternating voices of Erin, the thirtysomething pharmacist who is living separately from her husband as she deals with her grief; Travis, the young 20s fellow who recently lost his mother in a house fire; and Robin, engaged to the future mayor of Beaufort. 

The Baker's Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan -- Life in a small village on the coast of France as the people survived an occupying army and near-starving conditions.  Emmanuelle does her best to keep people alive, all without thinking the Allies will ever rescue them.  This book takes place a few days before the D-Day invasion.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November Books

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith -- I'd seen this book recently at the library and wrote it down to get eventually. Then I read a Kate Morton book last month, and a character in the book had been reading this book before she died!  Weird!  So, I went ahead and got it at the end of October, and finished it in two days.  I enjoyed the story of Francie Nolan and her life in Brooklyn about 100 years ago. 

The Spirit of Covington by Joan Medlicott -- more adventures with the elderly Hannah, Grace, and Amelia in Madison County, North Carolina.  This time they have to deal with a fire consuming their house.  More than that, too.

Murder Most Persuasive by Tracy Kiely -- another murder mystery with our favorite heroine, Elizabeth. This time when her uncle's house is sold, a dead body is found buried under the pool.  Yay.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton -- This is the second book I've read from this Australian author, and I enjoyed this!  It does flit back and forth between women's lives to the early 1900s, to 1975, and to modern times (2005).  It has ties to England and Australia. A tale of Nell who arrived in Australia as a little girl, alone. And Cassandra, the granddaughter who lived with Nell.   What happened to Nell's family? What is her real name, and who are her parents? Why did they put her on a ship and have her sail so far away?  And how does the Authoress play into it all? Good story!

The Diplomat's Wife by Pam Jenoff -- Marta - whom we met as part of the Jewish resistance in a previous book - wakes up in a Nazi prison and later is freed by an American whom she later meets again in Paris. Later Marta is sent back into eastern Europe with hopes that she can persuade her former resistance partner to introduce her to someone who has a cipher needed for breaking codes.  Pretty good story.

At Home in Covington by Joan Medlicott -- more happenings with Hannah, Grace, and Amelia; this time the ladies take a trip to the US Virgin Island among other things

Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave -- There were some interesting aspects in this book -- people of London hiding out in bomb shelters, many of them still dying; a young teacher who instructed children not suited for or rejected by those in the countryside who kept some of London's children -- but overall, I was happy to finish this book.

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton -- a group of ladies met at a park on a Wednesday morning, and every Wednesday for the next several weeks.  They became friends who later branched out into writing (and critiquing said writing) and supporting each other through miscarriages and affairs and racism. 

A Covington Christmas by Joan Medlicott -- whereas the previous books in this series covered more months, this book focused on the weddings taking place in Covington on Christmas Eve. Of course Hannah, Amelia, and Grace were asked to help pull it off!

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton -- this is a long book, but like her other ones, a somewhat layered story that kept my attention. My niece is visiting so I read this throughout several days.  A story about Milderhurst Castle and the three old women -- Persephone (Percy), Seraphina (Saffy), and Juniper Blythe -- who live there.  Edie finds out more about her mom through visits to and delving into the mysteries surrounding the castle and the people who have lived there.

Murder Most Austen by Tracy Kiely -- another murder mystery with our favorite non-detective who is pretty good at finding out information, Elizabeth Parker.  This time Elizabeth and her Aunt Winnie are in England at an Jane Austen festival when the murder takes place. 

Almost Home by Pam Jenoff -- Jordan Weiss returns to England years after leaving this place she loved so much because of her boyfriend's drowning.  She goes back because her friend Sarah is fighting ALS, and she'll do anything for Sarah.  While in London, Jordan is contacted by a former friend about Jared's alleged drowning.  The book also follows Jordan as she does her work as a diplomat.

Walkin' on the Happy Side of Misery  by J.R. "Model-T" Tate -- we met Mr. Tate while in Abingdon, Virginia, in early October!  He and his friend were in the area for a yearly Appalachian Trail conference.   The conference is not always held in Abingdon, but happened to be this year, and we met the two at breakfast.  J.R. and his friend Noel DeCavalcante amused us with tales of their AT thru-hikes.  We asked if either of them had written about their trips, and were told of this book which I received for our anniversary. 

Lady Maybe by Julie Klassen -- I noticed our library had all of her books except this one. Apparently, she was given permission to try out another publisher and this is from the second one.  It's not the same quality as the original one, in my opinion, but it was still fairly interesting to learn about the Regency-era world. In this book Hannah Rogers leaves her home as a companion for Lady Marianna Mayfield.  On the way to their new residence, a carriage accident takes place and there is a big switch up in Hannah's role.

Another Woman's Son by Anna Adams --  a book I picked up at a free little library about a year ago and read now because it was the Thanksgiving holiday and I'd read all my library books. Thankfully it was a short, easy read because it wasn't very interesting

A Hidden Affair by Pam Jenoff -- the sequel to the above book about Jordan Weiss after she leaves State to search for a friend somewhere in Europe

Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman -- a look inside a young teen's life in the "foreign country" that is 1290 England by reading her journal entries. Corpus bones, this Newberry Honor Book was a free little library find that I read mostly when Sophie was in town in middle November.  But I just finished it last night.

A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor -- "a novel of London's Flower Sellers"  -- I enjoyed this look at the flower sellers who lived in an orphanage and village to make flowers; a rather good book about Tilly going to be a house mother at one of the homes for flower girls