Sunday, September 16, 2012

The American Heiress-For the Love of Money

by Daisy Goodwin

Cora Cash is the beautiful and very rich heiress to the Cash Finest Flour fortune. Her mother Nancy Lovett-Cash is the social climbing mother who lost her beauty when her light enriched dress and veil, meant to impress, at her daughter's come out ball, bursts into flames disfiguring the left side of her face.

Mrs. Cash arranges to go to England where Madeline Wyndham, the American connection in Europe to meeting and marrying titled aristocrats (for a nominal fee).  Cora, and her mother, are discreetly introduced to Ivo Maltraverse, Ninth Duke of Wareham, tall, dark and looking for a rich heiress.  They marry and on their honeymoon fall in love. 

Wareham's flamboyant mother, Fanny aka the Double Duchess, plays the evil mother-in-law.  She is now remarried to the Duke of Buckingham, but still carries on with the Prince of Wales.  Cora has to fight her at every corner for control of her own home.  Adjusting to the old world ways would be fairly easy if only the rules were spelled out, but they are not.  Cora is in a constant state of confusion and embarrassment and her husband, although forgiving, does not help.  Wareham has the typical English gentleman affliction of not being able to open up and share himself, even with his wife. He leaves no question that he loves her but does not help her adjust, and in some cases he aides in creating obstacles, and he uses his temper to control her...but he does appreciate her money.  Luckily her father allotted him a set amount upon their marriage but left her fortune in her control.

Her closest friend,  Lady Charlotte Beauchamp neice of Lady Fanny, is a wolf in sheep clothing.  Her husband, Lord Ido, nephew of Ivo, is the drunkard and letcherous teller of tales who imposes his slimey self on Duchess Cora.  Charlotte avails herself to the Duke Ivo at every opportunity while setting Cora up for humiliation at the hands of the infamous artist Loudain.  Then again at a dinner given for the Prince of Wales, where the new Duchess learns there is more to her husband's relationship with Charlotte.  It is then she realizes she is a pawn for her mother's social climbing and for her husband, who profits from her fortune and the son she gives him.  No one seems to truly care about her except the Prince and her childhood friend, Teddy Van Der Leyden, who finally declares his love for her and reveals he saw Charlotte and Ivo together at the station when he was leaving to sail to America to marry her. They seemed to be in a romantic haze together.  He talks her into running away with him to London.  Ivo intercepts her enroute and finally opens up to her about his past, Charlotte and his dead brother, Guy.  At last the barriers are down and the love flows in.

This is a charming book that is slow at first but opens into a romantic mystery.  It is well written,  the characters and story line develops in an interesting manner.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Ties That Bind

The Ties That Bind


Rarely as adults are we fortunate enough to carry on the commradmanship of our fellow high school classmates as a collective group. Certainly one might have one or two lifetime friendships.  I am lucky enough to be amongst a large group that spans the six years from junior high through high school in the 60's.  The era of music and the feeling that life offered endless possibilities.  And now with the social networks we have the opportunity to renew old friendships temporarily put on hold, and have a cyber meeting place to reunite. 

Most of us went through elementary and high school together, and it was the 60's, a true bond formed.  I think one way we are unique was how the grades did not segregate ie: seniors hung around with seniors, juniors with juniors. Citizens of our school said hello to you even if you were in a lower grade.  We conversed with one another, we all joined clubs and did things together. 
After the initial reintroductions via the social media, we don't see the physical changes brought on over the years.  One's education and vocation are of little importance.  Now there are no judgments, no peer pressure.  The once handsome, popular quarterback now chats with the wallflower.  The most popular girl sends an email to the guy who used to sit in the corner of the cafeteria with his nose in a book, asking about his mother's health and sending her prayers.  We talk about our lives, our families and our opinions.  We congratulate successes and are truly happy for the good fortune of our fellow "Matadors". We still have school spirit.  It is reassuring to be secure with these old friendships, it is healthy.  These kids, these fellow classmates are here for one another whether it be some light advice or a shoulder when life becomes a little trying.  To know that this group will worry when there is an illness, or one of us is experiencing the terror of sending our child to war...we are there together with support and love through the decades.  How unique we are, such a large group, to still be in one another's lives.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Nothing But Time

by Angeline Fortin

In 1987, the Kim Basinger/Bruce Willis film "Blind Date" was a walk in the park when compared to the first date of Oxford biomed chemist Kate Kallastad and quantum physicist David Ferguson.  David bypasses dessert after their dinner for a ride in his new trans-space teleportation device.  Reluctantly she allows him to perform a little demonstration. Next thing she knows, she is in 1876 London.  David is thrilled, gets a house (including a room and wardrobe for her) and promises to build a new transporter to get them back.  Eventually she perceives David is not necessarily in such a hurry to get them back to the twentieth century as she is. He wants to get married and setup house. Kate decides to leave the house to work as a maid for the Earl of Harrowby, in hopes her absence will stimulate productivity of the transporter. The work is grueling. A few weeks into the job she is told they will be leaving London to go to Ramble House in Henly-on-Thames in Buckinghamshire, the country home of Brandon "Brand" Ryder, Earl of Harrowby.

Kate misses her parents and her sister, Ann, but works hard. One night, unable to sleep, she goes to the library to find something to read...and in he walks. Tall, dark, outrageously handsome. And so began a friendship, a passion that is taboo in this time, an Earl and a maid will never be accepted. Their chance meetings and conversations eventually lead to Kate becoming the nanny to the Earl's nephew, Nathan Ralston.  Her teaching methods baffle Brand but he can't argue with success, and he can't stay away from Kate. 

David has finally completed construction of the transporter and plans to leave within a week. Kate tells him she is in love and will stay with the Earl.  The day before he is to leave, Brand comes down with appendicitis.  In terror, Kate begs David to take Brand and she back with him immediately in order to save his life. He acquiesced and the transport was successful, the surgery was too.  But then the realization of being in the twentieth century becomes the focus for Kate and Brand.  This is a well written, charming and entertaining book that I recommend for a weekend read.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Foriegn Tongue-You Can Run But Why Hide

by Vanina Marsot

Where else but Paris could a woman, running away from a love betrayal, find comfort in the arms of old & new eclectic friends...accidently get a job translating a dramatic french, pornographic novel...and fall in love with a handsome theatrical producer!?!  Art imitating life, or life imitating art, either way our author and translator take us  through the streets of Paris not remiss of one taste of chocolat, pears or caffe, I enjoyed myself immensley and pay kudos for a well written novel.

If you're going to escape from questionable job security, and a Hollywood boyfriend who is unfaithful, then Paris is the place to go. And if you are hiding in Paris from said job and boyfriend...ex-boyfriend, then why stick your head in the're in Paris!  Do not be thwarted because you do not speak French, for if you do you will miss out on a fun adventure in the "city of lights". 

Anna is staying at her Aunt Isabelle's 11th Arrondissement apartment. She is comfortable here where she spent her summers as a child.  She allows the city to embrace her with the help of some local friends left over from when she studied at the University.

The memory and pain of Timothy is slowly pushed to the back of her consciousness as she takes a job translating a pornographic novel, by a mysterious author, and she meets Oliver Vallant, a theater producer currently in production with his current/former mistress. He patiently pursues her and in quickly, with the help of some french lingerie, she becomes the vixen, the minx, the sexual aggressor. As the sexually charged translation progresses, so does her sexual relationship.  But there is always the other woman, the star of his production, his muse.  There is also the mysterious publisher, Monsieur Laveau and the always illusive author.  

Where else but Paris could a woman, running away from a love betrayal, find comfort in the arms of old & new eclectic friends...accidently get a job translating a dramatic french, pornographic novel...and fall in love with a handsome theatrical producer!?!  Art imitating life, or life imitating art, either way our author and translator take us  through the streets of Paris not remiss of one taste of chocolat, pears or caffe, I enjoyed myself immensley and pay kudos for a well written novel.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Living Canvas by Karla Brandenburg

A chance meeting on a train...or was it?
A painting that holds visions...of love or insanity?
A it the secret to her future or the answer to a missing girl two decades past?
Heart sore Audrey MacDougall, a PR event planner, meets the tall and handsome Greg Ellison, a freelance photographer, on a train from Manchester, England to Inverness, Scotland.  Both are from suburbia Chicago, Illinois traveling on business, but the similarity does not end there.  He approaches her with a familiarity that seems to have transcended time, and she feels it too.  But even her exceptional intuition will not explain the mysterious landscape painting that arrived upon her arrival home.  When she touches it she is enters the three dimensional world of the painting, and Greg is waiting for her, wanting her as much as she has wanted him.  In real life, when he does see her, the feelings are strong and heated followed by unexplained periods of absence. With the interference of her over-exuberant best friend and neighbor, Cynda, some signals are crossed that deter the progress of their romance.

 While on her trip her new boss, the pompous Braden Templeton, does a hostile takeover of Jefferson Jones and she is in constant turmoil waiting for her pink slip.  Meanwhile, he is showing interest in the necklace she wears, and so is Cynda's fiancee' Evan, who breaks into her home in search of it.  Templeton is also very interested in the B&B Audrey and Greg are purchasing. He has her followed.  Cold case detective Forbes is watching Audrey and the necklace also. He is waiting for Templeton to make a mistake that will implicate him in the 20 year old case of a missing girl.

I read this well written book in one sitting on a Saturday morning.  Our author presents us with a well constructed quilt that puts together pieces you would not expect, but present a beautiful piece of work.  Intrigue, time travel, mystery and romance and some dreams fulfilled for a cast of delightful characters. I am so pleased to be introduced to Karla Brandenburg.


BLG9.1.12 Virgin Tour

Although not a famous, published author (that I dream to be), I am one who thinks and writes every day. Truthfully, seldom do I have to make myself take time to write. I hear something on the television or read some idea or word that sets me off and I lean over to my bedside table and grab a journal. I have different types of journals for different types of writing I do. I have a pretty one for chronological lists of books by my favorite authors, and reviews of their books.
I have my green journal that has my research on the Jacobites and King James II, whom I fell a little in love with when I read Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. Their plight so inspired me that I now find myself looking up everything I can, drawing maps and making boards of the Tudor and Stuart/Stewart family trees. It has been fun, and yes, it is considered part of my daily writing. One should not compartmentalize writing to just sitting and writing. I feel the research and organization of thoughts as part of the process.
My pink journal is for writing about my life. The stories about time periods or relationships, but it is just about me. In order to craft my writing skills I felt that perusing myself and what I perceive of how I changed and grew through a time period and or with a person/persons was most familiar, or is it? It is so interesting to read how I look at the past now and what I got out of it, and still do. When I was out working there was never time to such intra-spection. It is not only enlightening but sometimes humorous. I have actually sent a couple of old boyfriends notes apologizing for being a needy, thoughtless child.
There is a blue journal that I have yet to begin but it is prudent to have an extra on hand. “We who write” is a mantra of mine. I am not classifying myself as a published author, I am referring to any of us who make the conscious effort to think, research and write if only for the pleasure of writing. One of the little things that I enjoy is writing longhand on paper but tonight I became inspired reading another writers blog and I turned on my computer (plus I like this font).
Lastly is my flower journal that is actually a sketch pad of heavy paper and I have applied flower vellum paper to the cover. This is on my dresser and I write books I want to read, various notes about different subjects. I write in pencil and when I have used the information I erase it and the page is ready for another tid-bit, drawing or book just waiting for my attention in the not to distant future.