TWO somethings, really. The first is a happy little announcement:
I've just launched a brand new blog...
It's called, "Of Cabbages and Kings" and while it's 100% thrift-free (and hypo-allergenic!) it's designed to tickle your funny bone. This last year while writing The Thrift Shop Romantic, I've had ideas for posts that wouldn't quite fit here. And rather than MAKE them fit-- like the way my grandpa used to try to put puzzles together (THAT was always interesting... Many a puzzle bit the dust that way, let me tell you)-- I decided to branch it off into a blog of its own. If you have a moment, I'd love it if you'd check it out:
Okay, NEXT! I have a Tag to fulfill from my "invisible friend" Ms. A. over at Livingwithoutmoney.blogspot. Actually, this is a pretty fun tag, too, because it's the first one I've participated in that's dealt with books. Also, I'm never not reading SOMETHING. This tag asks for the tagged blogger to share the book she's currently reading, and then enter a few paragraphs from it. Mine happens to be the Hotel Paradise by Martha Grimes.
For those unfamiliar with her, Martha Grimes is a mystery novelist with a knack for wit and an unexpectedly poetic turn-of-phrase. Though she's an American living in Maryland, one of her best-known detecting duos is British-- Detective Superintendent Richard Jury and his friend, the eccentric Melrose Plant.
This particular book, however, is not a part of that series, (though lovers of mystery, you might really enjoy it). Instead, in The Hotel Paradise, Grimes turns to small town America in the 60s and transports us to a time where gentility was still something people valued, and where the present is haunted by the mysteries of the past. The story follows pre-teen Emma, a precocious girl with a Nancy Drew streak, as she examines questionable events in town history which others have long forgotten or set aside.
The tone and atmosphere of the book is reminiscent of Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird," painting pictures of the small town folk and adult-sized problems from Emma's smart, sassy perspective.
Much of the book has the feel of the elegant or eccentric deep South-- and as a result, the descriptions are something I think any romantic decorator could easily get behind. Those are a couple of the passages I'll share with you today.
We join Emma as she visits Miss Flagler and Miss Flyte, two elderly ladies who run quaint adjoining shops within the town.
With her cat named Albertine and her comfortable kitchen with its smell of cinnamon and ginger, I imagine there are worse lives than Miss Flagler's... I am sometimes invited to share their morning coffee or afternoon tea (oh, those fresh cinnamon buns!) and could think of them as just putting up with me, but I don't. For some reason I feel at home with old ladies, as if I wear, in my ancient twelve-year-old soul, pince-nez and cardigans...
We sit on turquoise and buttercup-yellow painted wooden chairs (that have me revising my notion of a lack of gaiety in Miss Flagler's life) pulled up to the white kitchen table. In winter we are warmed in front of the black cast-iron stove into which Miss Flagler shovels fresh coals...
Soon, as an introduction to pumping her adult friends for information, Emma gets the older ladies to begin reminiscing about their youth and a particular social event of the time...
Miss Flagler's dress had been ice-green organdy, with a silk lining. She had worn it to a garden party, which she described to me as "all white": white dresses, white suits, white pumps, white roses, white-iced cakes.
I was momentarily carried away, or carried back, to this fairy world of garden parties and organdy dresses. I have personal experience of neither. I try to picture Miss Flagler moving airily around in her ice-green organdy, a punch cup in one hand and a plate of tiny sandwiches in the other. The color sounded both cool and delicious. I decided it must be the color of Albertine's eyes.
Those pretty bits of purple prose enchanted me while I was sitting at the car dealership recently, reading and waiting for my car to finish inspection. (Of course, most things seem romantic compared to emissions testing.)
Anyway, I guess I need to tag five people in turn. So here goes:
- Rose Mary at Life in a Cordwood Cabin (because I know she's always reading, too!)
- Rosemary at Rose's Petite Maison (because I play no favorites between my friends named Rose :) )
- Lidian at Kitchen Retro (because she's funny and I think would have something witty to share
- Vallen of Queenly Things (because this woman really knows how to write)
- and Lynn over at the Vintage Nest (because she's always up to something fun)