THE HURRICANE SISTERS by Dorthea Benton Frank

THE HURRICANE SISTERS by Dorthea Benton Frank,(c) 2014. This book has titled chapters, something I don’t see very often anymore. I wonder if Frank’s other books I read had titled chapters? This one takes place in South Carolina. It involves beast friends and cousins Ashley Anne Waters and Mary Beth Smythe. They are both 23 years old and live rent free in Ashley’s parent’s Carolina, Lowcountry beach house on Sullivan’s Island. Ashley is a art gallery assistant and greeting card painter who aspires to be a full time artist. While Mary Beth works as a caterer while searching for a teaching job.  Now the girls have got the idea to rent out the house for beach parties and soirees. Something seems to be looming in the future to upset their lives.

FAIR DAY, and ANOTHER STEP BEGUN byKatie Letcher Lyle

FAIR DAY, AND ANOTHER STEP BEGUN by Katie Letcher Lyle (c) 1974. This is a real old paperback! 42 years to be exact! In November of 1974 I turned 16 years old. This little novel is unusual to say the least. The writer claims the story is taken from an old English ballad called CHILDE WATERS. It’s about a 16 year old free spirited girl named Ellen Burd who considers herself a “mountain person” a person who grew up and lives up in the mountains surrounding the town.  She learns about animals and plants from an old man who lives nearby as she helps him collect ginseng and other medicinal plants to sell.

One day Ellen comes into town and see’s John Waters an older and financially well off college boy who was a camp counselor at a local camp Ellen attended. They begin to talk and go on a boat ride. Next thing they knew they were making love. Here he is about 21 years old and making love to a 16 year old. Now here it is months later and Ellen seeks John Waters out to tell him she’s pregnant. He tells her to get rid of it but she says “No!”

NOTE: I don’t want to give away the rest of the story, so IF you can ever find it in some old book swap joint maybe you can read it too.

Here’s the old English ballad I found on YouTube:

MORNING LIGHT by Catherine Anderson

MORNING LIGHT by Catherine Anderson, (c)2008. Here’s another story about a psychic  named Loni MacEwen and cowboy named Clint Harrigan who fall in love while they search for a missing 8 year old boy who happens to be the son of the cowboy. The thing is the Clint didn’t even know the child existed until the Loni searched him out. Of course he thought she was crazy and his Catholic upbringing warned against psychics so they had a rough beginning. Of course they fall in love. Need I say more?

NOTE: It was enjoyable but predictable as most romance novels are.

FRIENDSHIP BREAD by Darien Gee

FRIENDSHIP BREAD by Darien Gee, 2001/2010. This is a novel about the friendships of several women in the small town of Avalon. First there’s Leon, an elderly widower. I’m not quite sure he has to do with the other characters in the book. There’s Julia a depressed mother who’s only son died of some allergic reaction 6 years earlier, she’s living in a fog of sadness and neglecting her family it seems. Then there’s her sister Livvy who hasn’t talked to Julia since Julia’s son died. We also met Julia’s husband Mark and her daughter in an earlier scene. Why aren’t Julia and Livvy speaking to each other? I have yet to find out. Then there’s also Hannah Wang an American Asian wife and concert cellist, who’s perfectionist, violinist husband Phillipe de Brisnay is divorcing her. And last but not least 70 year old Madeline who owns the runs a Tea Salon, where two of the other characters have just walked into and seem to be settling into a fragrant Portobello mushroom and spinach quiche with a wonderful sounding salad on the side.

Have you ever made Friendship Bread and passed out the 4 bags of starter for your friends? Well there’s a recipe for the starter and bread in the back of the book if you care to start up another friendly bake off. I’m happy to see recipe variations for the starter which I would seriously enjoy better than the original I made a few decades ago. There’s also recipes for Brownies, Pancakes and Biscuits using the starter. I admit I already have a wonderful recipe for Yeast Pancakes which I make since I usually have no pancake mix in the house, so I imagine that recipe is one I’d like to try.

NOTE: So far I’m enjoying the book.

I actually went to a local short lived tea room once. I enjoyed the chicken salad sandwich on a nutty 12 grain type bread, and the cole slaw served in a 6 OZ tea cup. None of the fancy China dishes matched, and the mismatched chairs were so cute! I loved the place! I was so inspired I created the owners a Folk Art sign. It had the name of the tea room and had a tea pot and tea cups around the lettering. It was fun to make. Wish I had a photo to show you!

WHEN IN DOUBT, ADD BUTTER by Beth Harbison

WHEN IN DOUBT, ADD BUTTER by Beth Harbison, (c)2012. As you may have guess food is involved in this book! Yes it’s a story about Gemma Craig a thirty-seven year old personal chef, who leads a very busy life cooking meals for 5 clients during the week and has a catering business on the weekends. Here I am on page 50 in the book and I just found out she got pregnant at the age of 17 and gave the baby up for adoption, and NO she doesn’t want to meet the child for some odd reason. At least not right this minute. Gemma recently got fired from her Friday cooking job because she backed up over the client’s peacock, but honestly she didn’t know it was gripping her car’s bumper in a love lock. Meanwhile her Tuesday client sounds like a very likable man, although we have not really met him yet. Well this book is a “coming of age” story for the adult woman. Gemma still has a lot to learn, (don’t we all) about her past and her future.

NOTE: I’m sorry to say that no recipes are included.

THE QUEEN OF WATER by Laura Resau

THE QUEEN OF WATER by Laura Resau, (c) 2011. A novel based on a true story. So this one isn’t exactly a biography, or autobiography, but most of the facts are correct as remembered, but the memory is a flawed thing. Why does it seem most memoirs are so sad? Awful things have happened to almost everyone, but an occasional person will have had a magical childhood and life. I think they are few and far between. Sorry to get so sidetracked! Here’s the story line from the back of the book:

Born in an Andean village in Equador, Virginia lives with her large family in a small earthen walled dwelling. In her village of indigenous, it is not uncommon to work in the fields all day, even as a child, or to be called longa tonta -stupid Indian- by members of the ruling class of mestizos, or Spanish descendants. When seven year old Virginia is taken from her village to be a servant to a mestizo couple, she has no idea what the future holds.

Virginia quickly grows accustomed to the conveniences and luxuries of mestizo life. But promised pay and visits to her family are quickly forgotten, as is her bosses pledge to send her to school. Beaten and told that the sole purpose of indigenous girls is to serve, Virginia must fight to hold on to her spirit and humor. She teaches herself to read and write and performs science experiments in secret.

When Virginia’s only friend betrays her, she must gather her courage and escape. But once she’s found her freedom, will Virginia- now a teenager caught between cultures- also also find a place where she belongs?

Maria Virginia Farinango collaborated with Laura Resau to write her own life story.

NOTE: I am quite sure this would make a great movie. I’m enjoying the book so far.