Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Killer cold....

Good title for a book...but not one I've read...I've lived it! I've had a terrible cold now for more then a week. I haven't even felt like reading.....or crafting....which is SOOO unlike me. I'm half way through Woolf's Voyage Out, so I will have a post for it soon. Just didn't want my faithful readers to think that I had stopped posting.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Independent Bookseller of the Year 2006

I've been meaning to tell you all about my favorite bookstore! It isn't one of the big chains with expresso machines (which I don't drink anyway) or too many books about stuff I'll never read! It is however the Independent Bookseller of the year for 2006. Where is this lovely store...well it is in my beloved's hometown of Much Wenlock, right in the heart of beautiful Shropshire and is called (appropriately) Wenlock Books. (With a blog at www.wenlockbooks.blogspot.com)

I've been visiting this book store for the last six year or so. Over time the owner, Anna Dreda, and I have developed a friendship that I value very much. She is so enthusiastic about books you can't help be comfortable in the shop. It isn't huge, but it is packed with all kinds of goodness. Upstairs they have good quailty used books. I always go right to the small hardback literature classics first and then to the travel (looking for that Dervla Murphy or Josie Dew I need). Then a peek at religion, biography, fiction, mystery and crafts. Then downstairs to see what is new and if lucky a cup of tea while I sit and browse the childrens department. I always find something for presents for friends, stuff for myself...and the cards....she has some of the most beautiful cards! Tired of those stupid cards with bodily function jokes and ugly pictures?? I even found a great card for my nephew that has cool beetles on it!

Much Wenlock itself is worth a visit. I highly recommend the Copper Kettle tea room, there are two wonderful delis, and a coffee room just off the beaten track a bit. You can easily spend a day just walking down the high street shopping at Twenty Twenty (art gallery) or Rainbows End (a gift shop with great clothes and kids stuff). Or you can visit Wenlock Abbey, the remains of the Abbey torn down by Henry VIII.

Can you tell I love this town?? I want to move back there! Hopefully one day we will.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Email notification...

I've added Feedblitz email notification in the sidebar. If you would like to know when I add a post, this should email you to let you know. Please let me know if there are any problems. I had some with the other notification I had, but fortunatley I hadn't told many people...so there weren't many already logged into it!

Thanks for reading my blog. I really enjoy writing the reviews and letting you all know about books you might not be aware of.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Silence is Golden – Jeanne M. Dams

I’ve been reading Dams work for several years now. When I worked at the Valparaiso Indiana library, she was a local author from South Bend. We had her to the library to give a talk and I had supper with her.

She has two mystery series that are set in totally different places and eras. The first series she wrote was the Dorothy Martin series. These are set in modern times mostly in England. The second series, Hilda Johansson, is set in South Bend in the early 1900s. Hilda is a maid working in the grand house of the Studebaker family, a real historical family that is famous for designing and building cars. Hilda and her family have come from Sweden to make their fortunes. In the first few books it is just her, her brother and two sisters. In this book, Silence is Golden, they have been able to have their mother and younger siblings come over to live with them.

The rest of the books in this series have been wonderful. Dams has done her research and knows what it would have been like for servants and their “betters” to relate to each other. She also covers the differences between the different immigrants that were coming over to the new world. Hilda is being courted by an Irish Catholic fireman, Patrick Cavanaugh, and this is a conflict for her Protestant family. You get a good feel for how difficult it was when America was still trying to find its footing with all the new people coming into the country. This book is good, but I did get irritated a bit with Dams forcing the mystery to work.

This book focuses on Hilda and her younger brother Eric who has just arrived from Sweden. Their mother is over protected and he is finding his new surroundings difficult to deal with. Hilda is understandably worried about him. A circus comes to town and his acrobatic friend Fritz, a German boy, goes to see it without permission. He disappears and is found later sexually abused and badly hurt. For some reason, Hilda gets it in her head that Eric is going to try and figure out who did it. There isn’t any indication in the book that he would or did try to find anything out. She also worries and frets that Eric will try to run away to the circus. With what happened to his friend, that wasn’t likely!

About half way through the book Dams finally sorts things out and we do see Eric run off because he is unhappy at this job. He jumps on a orphan train that came through South Bend and he was found and sent back hom. He then is hired to work with horses, a job that he takes to right away. When Patrick and Hilda decide to treat him to the circus and they run across people they think might have hurt his friend, Dams does it again! Eric runs after the people, gets lost in the crowd and Patrick spends the night and part of the next day looking for him. (This is after finding a young boy dead by one of the Circus wagons.) I just can’t see Eric running up to do…what…to this man that might have hurt his friend. Eric is young in the story and would not be able to do anything really, but get himself into trouble. Especially since he has his sister and her beau there also!

Anyway, the end of the story is good, though I had pretty well figured out who was kidnapping and abusing the boys. Do read Dams. She usually writes very well and her books are nice cozy mysteries.

You can find more information about Dams here.

Her Bibliography is:
Dorthy Martin

Hilda Johansson
Death in Lacquer Red (1999)
Red, White, and Blue Murder (2000)
Green Grow the Victims (2001)
Silence is Golden (2002)
Crimson Snow (2005)

I'm off target with my reading a bit. I've started reading Virgina Woolf's "The Voyage Out" and I am also reading Barnes' "Arthur and George". I read part of "Gardening with Love" by Elizabeth Lawrence. It was full of latin names for plants and telling of the different plants that she swapped with other in the States. I read the bits about the people's letters she recieved but found the rest a bit difficult to get through, since I'm not into plants like that. Do try it if you are a real gardener!