Sunday, November 18, 2012

Secrets of a Wedding Night BLG11.18.2012

by Valerie Bowman
I am so excited to read and write about this much awaited book.  Congratulations Valerie, it so reflects your vibrant, humourous personality!

Who knew a little pamphlet could become the Pandora's Box of this London season.  It is an informational booklet, written anonymously, about the horrors of marriage, specifically the wedding night.  It has spread fear in virgins throughout the city.  No one knows the author's identity...except Devon Morgan, newly crowned, Marquis of Colton.  He is sure it is his love of 5 years ago, the dowager Lady Lily (Andrews) Merrill.  Her one month marriage to Lord Merrill, 30 years her elder, was anything but happy and fulfilling.

Five years ago Colton and Lily had been in love and were planning to run away to marry in Gretna Greene.  Man-made circumstances prevented this from happening.  As a result, Lily was forced to marry Lord Merrill.  He died one month later and left Lily in financial ruin.  Meanwhile, Devon completed his education and silently made a fortune.  He is in need of an heir and decides to marry Miss Amelia Templeton, who cries off after reading Secrets Of A Wedding Night.  This infuriates Colton and he confronts Lily, demanding she write a retraction.  Lily did not fess up to being the author of this scandal rag.  Colton is sure it is her doing and "threatens" (for lack of a better term) that he is going to seduce her and show her how a woman is to be bedded and made satisfied.  He is tall, dark and insanely good looking, so why not!?!  Let's sit back and enjoy the ride.  So begins a colossal game of cat and mouse...but there is more than one cat in this game.  There is the interference and manipulation of both parents. 

Lord Merrill forgave Lord Colton (father) a large debt for his cooperation and assistance in keeping Devon from Lily, which he did by writing a note to her, as Devon, saying he was not coming to pick her up.  Lily's mother was so anxious for her to marry ($$$) well that she too wrote a note, as Lily, saying she had changed her mind.

Devon's best friend, Jordan Holloway, the Earl of Ashbourne does not believe in love and does his utmost to divert his attention away from marriage.  And Devon has a larger, more important secret.  All this deception, all these secrets create a light hearted, entertaining, sensual and fun read.  I am a Valerie Bowman fan and cannot wait for her next blossom on the bush.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Following the Senses BLG11.13.2012

Walking out of the kitchen door of my aunt’s farmhouse I am immediately enveloped in the cold dampness that preceeds the first snow of winter. I smell the ammoniated essence of pigs and cows. I do not smell the chicken coop as I pass by. Continuing towards the barn there is the sweet smell of alfalfa growing in the field on my right. The barn smells of rotting wood, oak a century old. It is full of hay that gives a fresh scent. During the twice daily milkings it smells of warm milk, like smelling butter. Achoo!

It is 5 a.m. and the cows are anxiously awaiting their turn to be milked, all mooing, some acpella others solo. The pigs are grunting contently as they munch on last nights leftovers. There is an occassional squeal as a youngster tries to nudge in on the eats. Some older, larger pigs are lounging in a mud puddle and I can hear them crunching corn off the cobs. A litter of kittens follow me as if I were the Pied Piper, with light mews in hopes I will give them some of the cows fresh milk. I hear a faint, high pitched “whir” and see it is the wind blowing through the oats. Out in the barn is the “putt putt putt putt” of the milking machines, one “putt” for each tete., as they relieve the girls of their heavy udders full of milk and the “clang, clang” of the stainless steel 50 gallon milk cans. Lady, the collie, is barking as she herds the cows in from the back pastures.

Growing up in the desert southwest I am accustomed to the dry atmosphere. Here on the farm the air is cold and damp, the snow flakes melt on my face leaving little water droplets. Lady is damp and her coat is matted after long days work but she always has time to run her sandpaper tongue over my face, the perfect exfoliant. One of the mother pigs allows me to pet her bristly hair, much coarser than a horse tail. Her babies are soft, warm and cannot stop wiggling. I can feel the little grunts through their entire bodies. I love how they snuggle up to my neck and put their nose up to my ear. In the barn I fall down into the hay to hold the soft kittens whose mews are continuous, knowing there is an endless supply of milk. One of the cows had a calf last night so I go visit the holding pen. She nuzzles her cold, wet nose into my hand, her hair is still damp.

This is my first day on the farm, the first time in decades since I smelled the animals, the earth…the first time I felt an animal (other than a horse)…the first time, since my early childhood, that I felt snow or produce waiting to be picked.  It was the beginning of a love affair with the life of a farmer, the simplicity, the naturalaity….and best of all, the warm, loving arms of my extended family.