Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line. This is the last review.
The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer
This is Georgette Heyer's very first book. The Queen of Romance wrote this fun rollicking adventure when she was just a teenager and I thought it was the perfect book to finish out the year and to finish up with Tuesdays Tomes.

Jack Carstairs is the eldest son of the Earl of Wyncham but he is disgraced and his place for all intense and purposes has been taken by his younger brother, Dick.  Six years earlier, Dick cheated at cards but Jack took the blame-this made him an outcast from society. So what did he do? He became a highwayman!-- but of the Robin Hood type.

Meanwhile, weak brother Dick has married a very spoiled but very beautiful woman. Her brother, the Duke of Andover, has far too much influence over her and Dick...influence that is not good for either of them. Is he truly a villain?

Enter the beautiful and sweet, Diana Beauleigh...will she change Jack's fate?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Set in the mid 18th century, Heyer already shows her wonderful attention to historical detail and one of the most interesting and fun parts of the book are the "moral lessons"...it seems that being  a card cheat was just about the worst thing you could be. (There are, to our sensibilities, far worse villains in this book!)

Delightfully read by Sibella Denton, you can download the free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf. e-Pub or Kindle format here.

Yes, this is the last Tuesdays Tomes weekly review. It has become harder to find interesting books, read well, than it used to be and I feel that after more than a year and half of weekly reviews, its time to call it a day. I will leave the links to the reviews on the sideboard and I will write reviews when I've read something that I want to share. I'll see if there are enough to make it a monthly feature or to just leave it as a sometime thing. I hope you've enjoyed reading the reviews and that they led to some fun books...I know I've enjoyed writing them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: A bit of holiday cheer: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and The Hanukkah Song by Adam Sandler

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line.

How about some traditional holiday cheer? You can listen to A Christmas Carol  beautifully read by Kyle M. (download here) or take it along on your phone or Kindle (download here.)

Here's a fairly new Hanukkah tradition but one that will be put a big smile on your face: Adam Sandler and his Hanukkah Song.

Happy Hanukkah and/or :-) Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Two more embroidery blocks finished

I haven't been posting much because I haven't been working much. I fell on the last day of our trip to Hanover back in October and I pulled a ligament in my ankle. Its finally getting better and I'm doing a little sewing on the machine but not much each day. I did have fun the other day at the physical therapist's: I played Wii baseball while standing on a mushy cushion! I was definitely a better hitter than pitcher-I lost to myself by giving up a home run!
I have been doing a some embroidery and some handquilting. I've now done 6 of the 12 blocks for the mystery quilt.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: The House by the Lock by Mrs. C.N. Williamson

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line.

The House by the Lock by Alice Muriel Williamson

Do you believe in love at first sight? I have to confess that I sort of do. Three days after meeting my husband, I told my sister that I would marry him-we’re married 33 years and still counting.

Noel Stanton, an adventurer and travel writer, has just returned to England from one of his adventures looking for a taste of home and a bit of quiet. He heads off to the theater and while at the box office meets an acquaintance from his travels in the U.S, Mr. Harvey Farnham of Denver. They sit in adjacent stalls and before the curtain goes up chat.

“Farnham explained to me that he had “run over” to England on business, intending to sell a certain mine of his, which though vastly profitable, was the one thing in which he had lost interest.

‘I’ve had a good offer’, he said; ‘indeed, I’m visiting the house of the man who has made it—a wonderful fellow, only one degree, perhaps, less interesting than you. His name is Carson Wildred.’”

Farnham explained that one of the reasons he came to the theater that night was that Carson Wildred had a previously made engagement to see the performance with some friends and he was extremely curious to see the woman whose beauty Wildred had been praising for days.

“’There’s Wildred and his friends just coming to the stage box. By Jove! what a pretty girl!’

I looked up, because I was sure the volatile American would give me no peace until I had done so; and then, having done so, I completely forgot the play…never I have I looked on a face so radiant, so bewildering.

‘Who is she?’

“A Miss Karine Cunningham.”

And so by page 10, we’ve met all the major characters and already I liked Stanton and Farnham and was suspicious of Carson Wildred to whom Stanton had a visceral and disgusted reaction…he felt he knew him from somewhere but the memory is allusive. And Miss Cunningham? Well, not having fallen in love with her myself at first sight, she’s still a mystery.

I like books that immediately get me into the story and combine romance and mystery. This book has an added allure. Written by a woman and published in 1906, there are many little peeks into what was considered propriety and convention in the relationships between men and women. Sometimes, these comments were so unexpected that they brought me up short.

Read by the always wonderful Roger Melin, you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf, ePub or Kindle format here or read it on-line here.ue

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: The Fair Reward by Thomas Beer

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line.

The Fair Reward by Thomas Beer

This 1923 novel gives us a look at the American theater from the end of the 19th century to the 1920s while telling us the story of Mark Walling: actor and producer. Mark is a truly sympathetic character and as we follow his life story, we can’t help but be moved by him…something we wish to shake him and tell him to wake up.

As the novel begins, we are introduced to Mr. John Carlson, producer of an imported play, Nicoline. He’s nervous about the opening. Mr. Fitch tells him not to worry.

“This’ll be a hit. It’s been a hit in London and Paris. The critics-the adapter smiled- won’t dare say anything worse than that it’s immoral. And Cora Boyle will make them laugh in the third act, so that’ll be safe.”

“Boyle? Who’s she? That black headed gal that plays the streetwalker, y’ mean? She’s no good…Common as dirt and no more sense than a turnip.”

And so we meet Cora Boyle. She and Mark Walling are a young married couple when the book opens-it is she that has gotten him into acting and a small part in the play.

Mark and Mr. Carlson eventually become partners in producing plays with quite a bit of success. And Cora…well, I’ll leave that to you to find out when you read this very interesting novel.

A 1922 review in the New York Times just stopped short of calling this novel brilliant. “…it has style and sophistication and personality, intermingled with a truly vivid show of imagination. It even borders on brilliancy…”

Read by Greg W., you can download this free audio-book here or read it on-line here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New embroidered mystery quilt beginnings

I've started on the new embroidered mystery quilt for the Redwork Club I lead at the Quilt Center quilt shop. The theme this year is butterflies so using vintage embroidery patterns as my inspiration, I designed the blocks with butterflies and flowers sprays. Here are the first 4 blocks completed.This will be a nice scrappy quilt and I've chosen 30s reproduction fabrics. I love these cute bright fabrics and how well they go with colorful 30s style multi-colored embroideries.l

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: The Young Ladies Cooking Club of Monroe, Michigan Cookbook

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line.

Cookbook: Young Ladies Cooking Club of Monroe, Michigan

This delightful cookbook was published by the Young Ladies of the Cooking Club of Monroe, Michigan in 1884.

I’ve found that small cookbooks published by organizations or clubs are often very useful precisely because they are not written by professionals. It’s more like having a chat and receiving a recipe from a friend or a friend’s mother or grandmother. This book is exactly like that…but this chat is across more than a hundred years.

What made these young women decide to have a cooking club and then to publish a cookbook

“In launching our little book on the turbulent waters of public opinion, we think some explanation of our audacious undertaking is perhaps necessary, therefore, kind friends, we are going to let you into the secret of its inception with the hope that our frankness may pave the way to a warm reception.”

“It is only fair to say that we started out as a very unassuming little Cooking Club, of only 10 members about two year ago, imbued more with the desire of having a good time together as is the well-known custom of Monroe maidens, than to burden our minds with culinary facts.”

As their membership increased (indeed, they “rose to the dignity of a Constitution”) they began to think about publishing a cookbook and dreaming of what they might do with the proceeds--a trip to Europe being everyone’s favorite idea. (I really like these girls!)

What they do at the Club

“Pray, what do they do at the club?”

T’is ever the question they ask;

But to answer it fully, I fear,

Were rather a serious task;

And yet, if you’ll listen to me,

And pardon my rhyming with “grub”,

I’ll venture a bit of a song

To tell what they do at the club.

The book’s recipes are combined together as menus for entertainments :“Lunch Party” , “High Tea”, “Refreshments for New Year’s Day” includes 3 different menus, “Supper”, “Breakfast”, “Coffee”, “Supper”(2 more menus), “Tea”, “Supper” (6 more times but I really like the first menu in 3 courses: First course-Strawberry Shortcake!. As my son is fond of saying, “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.”), “Hallow e’en Party”, “Coffee”, and another “Supper”. The last group of recipes are classed under “Miscellaneous” which includes everything from roast goose to Boston Baked Beans to Lemon Drop Cookies… these just didn’t seem to fit into the categories-you’ll notice there was no “Dinner”. On page 36 there is an index.

Some reflections on the recipes: lots of gelatin in use here (they have a recipe for Coffee Jelly!), lots of canned seafood (well, they are rather far from the ocean!), lots of mayonnaise type salads, and cakes.

Here are a few of the recipes-exactly how they appear in the book.

“VEAL CROQUETTES --Take one veal cutlet, cook and chop very fine, four potatoes boiled and mashed hot, one onion chopped, salt, pepper, butter and a little parsley; mix with the veal adding the juice of one half lemon. Roll in the shape desired, dip in egg and crackers and fry in hot lard.—Miss K. Chapman”

(I never would have thought of adding the lemon juice. And yes, just about everything is fried in lard. I think there was 1 recipe that called for frying in butter.)

“FROZEN PEACHES—One quart of fresh peaches crushed fine and added to one quart of sweet cream all made very sweet; or you can freeze the cream partially and then add the fruit.—Miss Mollie Morton”

(Mmm! And you don’t even have to bother putting this into an ice cream machine.)

You can see in this little cookbook how recipe styles are changing: some of the recipes are given in the “old” way that are common in 19th century cookbooks and some are given in the “modern” way that is more familiar to us though they’re still not quite there. Take a look at these two muffin recipes and you’ll see what I mean. (The italics are mine.)

MUFFINS No. 1—Mix one teaspoon of baking powder and a little salt, into one pint of flour; add to the beaten yolks of two eggs, one tea-cup of sweet milk or cream, a piece of butter (melted) half the size of an egg, the flour with baking powder and salt, and the well beaten whites of two eggs. Beat well, bake immediately in gem pans in a hot oven. -- Miss Hattie Harvey.

MUFFINS No. 2—Half cup of sugar, half a cup of milk, half a cup of water, two and half cups of flour, two heaping teaspoons baking powder, two heaping teaspoons butter. Mix and bake about fifteen minutes. -- Miss Sadie Noble.

You can read this lovely little time-travel cookbook free on-line here. If you would like to look at other vintage cookbooks free on-line, check out this page …there are over 185 cookbooks to look at…have fun!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Celebrating Thanksgiving is a bit different here...Thursday is football but dinner isn't until Saturday when all our guests are off work. You could say we take "Thanksgiving week-end" literally. :)

I ordered the turkey last week and picked it up today. Oh my! It has to be the pin featheryest bird I have ever seen!
But a pair of needle nosed pliers came to the rescue.
Have a very Happy Thanksgiving and May All Your Turkeys be Featherless!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: The Chestermarke Instinct by J. S. Fletcher

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line.

The Chestermarke Instinct by J.S. Fletcher

John Horbury, bank manager at Chestermarke’s bank in the small English town of Scarnham, walks out of his house one Saturday evening and disappears. His ward and senior clerk at the same bank, Wallington Neale, cannot imagine where he has gone to and worries that he has had an accident. When Gabriel and Joseph Chestermarke, uncle and nephew and owners of the bank. declare that securities are missing, Neale refuses to believe that Mr. Horbury took them and fled. When Lord Ellersdeane arrives at the bank and asks the owners to please give him his wife’s jewels that he had left with Mr. Horbury, they insist that not only are there no jewels but that they know nothing about any jewels being deposited for safekeeping with the bank and since Lord Ellersdeane is not a regular customer of the bank, the bank is not responsible. When he gave the jewels to Mr. Horbury, it was a personal transaction with Mr. Horbury, friend and not with Mr. Horbury, Bank Manager.

Neale and even Lord Ellersdeane do not believe that Mr. Horbury took the jewels as well as the securites and fled. Only the bankers do.

When lovely, independent Miss Fosdyke, Mr. Horbury’s niece arrives as she and her uncle were to begin their vacation trip together and discovers her uncle is missing, she has no patience with her uncle’s employers. If they don’t want to call in the police “just yet” as they are more worried about a possible run on the bank when word gets around that the Bank Manager is missing, well she does. She too does not believe any rubbish about stolen securities and is simply worried about her uncle.

This is a rousing good mystery with lots of questions, a few clues, a tinker, a moor to roam around in, a Scotland Yard detective and a bit of romance. And best of all, it was kind of fun to read a book in which the bankers are clearly somehow off. I’m not going to give anything away but believe me when I say that every character in the book is sympathetic except the bankers!

Charmingly read by MaryAnn (at one point, you can hear her children in the background :), you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf, ePub or Kindle format here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: A Gothic Romance: The Thing From the Lake by Eleanor M. Ingram

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line.

The Thing from the Lake by Eleanor M. Ingram

“The Thing from the Lake”-does the title make you think of a 1950’s Roger Corman film? It did me but in truth this delightful 1921 story is more romance than horror.

Roger Locke, a New York composer of popular music and Broadway shows, decides he needs a country house as it is too hot in New York to work during the summer.

“There, Mr. Locke, is a bargain,” the agent called back to me, where I sat in my car.

I nodded, surveying the house with an eagerness of interest that surprised myself. A box-like fairly large structure of commonplace New England ugliness, it coaxed my liking as had no other place I had ever seen; it wooed me like a determined woman.”

He of course buys the house…indeed, he decides that he wants to sleep in it that very night -a bit of “camping out” in the partially furnished house. He gets a bit of a surprise. He’s suddenly awakened during the night. A woman is in his room-she tells him a tale of magic, witches, death and evil-and slips away as mysteriously as she entered.

Locke leaves the next day for New York, after contacting various workmen to set the house to rights.

His cousin, Phillida, has been called home from college by her parents-to be berated for not doing well in her exams and he has agreed to meet her at her train and travel home with her. When her train is late, he calls her parents and telling a small fib says that her train will arrive too late for the connection and that he will take her out to dinner and home later. When he meets Phillida and sees how downcast she is, he offers to let her choose the restaurant. She surprises him by stating she wants to go to a nightclub with an ice dancing show.

There she really surprises him: she introduces him to her secret husband, Ethan Vere, one of the ice dancers. Roger is shocked but he realizes that Phillida has not fallen for some fly-by-night and that Vere is a serious young man who grew up on a farm in Maine and took to ice dancing as the only way he could make a living after returning from the War and that he loves Phillida deeply. Roger offers them the management of the farm and house in Connecticut so they can finally begin their married life together. What he doesn’t realize is that he has won a valuable friend in Vere.

Soon it is summer and Roger Locke is up at the Connecticut house with Phillida and Ethan. ..and the mysterious woman! Who is she and why does she whisper to him to leave the house.

Bright and sunny by day, mysterious doings and chills by night, this Gothic Romance is very entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed the last chapter-a chapter with an alternate explanation for all that has happened throughout the book! Eleanor M. Ingram wrote several novels-I’m definitely going to read another and I'll report back.

Wonderfully read by Roger Melin, you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf., e-Pub, or Kindle format here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: The Survivors by Tom Godwin

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line.

The Survivors by Tom Godwin

A little over 4,000 people, men, women and children, are left on an unknown planet after their ship has been boarded by earth’s enemy, the Gern –and left to die. The first night, about a quarter of them do die-killed by a terribly swift lethal disease and by the wild animals that inhabit the planet. But by the second night, they have defenses in place.

Life is not easy on Ragnarok (a perfect name-it is a bit of a rag of a rock). There is a brutally hot summer and a brutally cold winter but over the years, the “colonists” learn to cope better and better. And they vow to someday get back at the Gern and defeat them.

This tale, while technically science fiction, is actually the story of pioneers who rise to meet the challenges before them and to conquer them. The story covers generations-something I really liked-and while its true that we don’t really get to know many of the characters very deeply, we get the overall flow of families establishing themselves in a former wilderness.

Wonderfully read by Mark Nelson, you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf, Kindle, or ePub format here.

Published in 1958 (the photo above is of the dustcover to the hardback edition), this book got a title change to “Space Prison” when the paperback was published in 1960. I thought you’d enjoy seeing the 1960 and 1962 paperback covers.

LOL! Isn't the first paperback cover hilarious! A perfect example of Pulp Fiction style. Two years later, the cover returned more to the hardcover graphic style.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pastel Baby Coin Quilt

I'm having a bit of fun exploring the ever popular coin quilt...this flimsy has mainly 30s repro fabrics with some novelties. Next up-I'm trying plaids!I'm teaching a basic machine quilting class and thought this quick quilt would be a great one to get them started on free motioning quilting.

I'm linking to Can't I get a Whoop Whoop. Stop over at Sarah's and see all the wonderful finishes this week.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: The Sheridan Road Mystery

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line.

The Sheridan Road Mystery by Paul and Mabel Thorne

A shot is heard in the night! A man runs out into Sheridan Road, Chicago, in his pajamas looking for a policeman! The police arrive, search and search, but there is no body-only a blood stain on the carpet in an apartment whose tenants have been away for months! Was a murder committed? By whom? And who died? What a mystery!

Don’t worry, there are fearless and clever detectives on the case. Detective Sergeant Dave Morgan and Detective Tierney of the Chicago police with the help of the no longer pajama clad Mr. Marsh get their man in the end. On the way, there are twists and turns as the true identity of various characters is revealed and there’s even a bit of romance. Yes, Mr. Marsh has his eye on the young lady in the apartment across the hall, Miss Atwood.

This fun book was written by the husband and wife team, Paul and Mabel Thorne in 1921. It was their first collaboration-after that they wrote one more mystery together and then Paul wrote several on his own.

Delightfully read by J.M. Smallheer, you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf, e-Pub, or Kindle format here.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Fall 2011

Its that time again: the Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2011...and more than 350 quilts are on view at Amy's Creative Side. I'm coming a little late to the party but I just put the last stitch on this quilt.

I'm calling it, not very creatively, The Circle Quilt.
The circles are made from left-over cut-offs from my Drunkard's Path Quilt. (BTW, you can see a tutorial on using Marti Mitchell's templates for this quilt on my side board.) I actually hand-pieced the quarter circles last spring when I was visiting (and helping out a bit with) my new twin granddaughters in Boston. I machine appliqued the circles with a buttonhole stitch...you can see how I used iron-on interfacing to make this super easy to do here.

I used an overall free motion quilting pattern of simple round loops and I've really happy with the look...and it was quick too.

I love the bright yellow and white circles on this narrow red and white striped fabric. The stripes are about 1/8" wide. I used it in the binding and I'm enjoying the horizontal stripe in the narrow 1/4" binding.

Here's the back...a minimalist quilting delight!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: Oops! my iPod died

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line...but there's no review this week.

My iPod died and while my new one is ordered I haven't yet received it. Sooo, no review this week as I haven't listened to any book! Hopefully, Tuesdays Tomes will be back next week.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Happy Circle Quilt

When I was in Boston last spring, I hand pieced the quarter circles I had left over from cutting my yellow and white Drunkard's Path quilt but I hadn't done anything with the circles. I was thinking about it however.

I wanted to machine applique them but I didn't want to do raw edge applique. So I decided to use non-woven iron-on interfacing. I thought of the shiny (glue) side of the interfacing as the right side and I pinned the circles to a rough cut square of the interfacing-right sides to right sides.
Then I sewed with a 1/4" seam allowance around the circles, trimmed the interfacing, and carefully slit the back of the interfacing.
Then I turned the circles out...
and laid them on red and white striped square and pressed. The iron-on interfacing held well enough that I could sew them (using a buttonhole stitch) without any pins.

The circles were about 9" and I played around a bit with the size of the striped square until I decided I liked a square that would finish at 11". (Any bigger and I thought the red was too dominant.)

I wondered if the interfacing would act as a lining and not let the red stripe show through but it didn't, so I cut out the centers.
Then I started playing with them on my design wall and I liked them off-set. It just added to the fun.
So I sewed it all together with sashing that finished at 3", then added a 3" outer border in white too and a fun red and yellow 3" square outer border.
I'm linking to Finished for Friday at Lit and Laundry and to Can I Get a Whoop Whoop. Hop on over and see all the terrific stuff happening.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: The Calico Cat by Charles Miner Thompson

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line.

The Calico Cat by Charles Miner Thompson

Mr. Peaslee and his wife moved into town from their farm one year ago and ever since he has been tormented by a rascally calico cat who likes his hen house. He’s convinced that this calico cat is the smartest, most annoying cat ever: a cat that delights in making him miserable.

When he’s full of his good news-he’s been called to serve on the county Grand Jury and pictures himself serving with wisdom and great dignity, he sees that calico cat sitting on the fence. He’s certain that cat is mocking him and he goes a little crazy. He tries to shoot it!

Now don’t worry, the cat is fine but the ramifications of that shot go far.

This hilarious, generous hearted tale of a small American village on the Canadian border is filled with wonderful characters.

A first novel (1908) by Charles Miner Thompson with illustrations by F.R. Gruger, this story first appeared in The Youth’s Companion, a family magazine (1827-1929). BTW, Francis Bellamy who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance in1892 (it was adopted by Congress in 1942) was a staff writer at The Youth’s Companion.

Charmingly read by Allyson Hester, you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf., e-Pub or Kindle format here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: The Shadow of the Rope by E.W. Hornung

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly review of vintage books available free on-line.
(Sorry for missing the past two weeks but I just didn't have any time to read while we were away...too busy sightseeing! :)

The Shadow of the Rope by E.W. Hornung

Romance? Mystery? While its hard for me to assign this book a genre, it is easy for me for say how delightful it is.

Young Rachel, alone in the world, jumps at the opportunity to travel from Australia to England as a lady’s companion. On the long crossing, she meets Alexander Minchin. They marry as soon as the boat docks. At first, things go well but soon Mr. Minchin begins to drink heavily and to gamble more heavily. They fight. She finally determines to leave him and having packed her trunk, goes out looking for a hansom cab. On returning, she is shocked to find the police in her home. Mr. Minchin is dead-shot- and she is accused of the crime!

Acquitted of the murder by the jury but not by public opinion, Rachel finds herself penniless and alone. White-haired Mr. Steel, who sat everyday at her trial, offers his assistance. She is hesitant- why would this man, a perfect stranger, want to help her? She has heard of other women, acquitted of horrible crimes, that are later besieged by marriage offers…is this his intention?

She accepts his help because she truly has no other choice, and because he clearly states that she will have her own rooms at a respectable hotel. The next morning he does propose marriage-a completely platonic one. His explanation of why wants to marry her is one of the delights of this book.

I want a wife; or rather, my neighbors seem bent upon finding me one; and, if the worst has to come to the worst, I prefer to choose for myself. Matrimony, however, is about the very last state of life that I desire, and I take it to be the same with you. Therefore--to put the cart before the horse--you would suit me ideally. One's own life would be unaltered, but the Delverton mothers would cease from troubling, and at the head of my establishment there would be a lady of whom I should be most justly proud.

Take that, Mrs. Bennet!

What should Rachel do? Considering her last hasty marriage, you would think she would give Mr. Steel’s offer a pass but she is truly friendless. They marry and after a tour of Europe, they return to his large estate in Yorkshire. She lives in fear of anyone realizing who she is-her innocence and acquittal seem scant protection from the notoriety-and she lives filled with curiosity about Mr. Steel’s never referred to past.

The Yorkshire characters are truly wonderful. We first meet them in Chapter 9-now a favorite of mine: kindly Reverend Hugh Woodgate , his young wife Morna and the incomparable Mrs. Venables (who thought Mr. Steel barely 45 when she wanted him for one of her daughters but now thinks him 65 at the very least). Another interesting and important character is Charles Langholm, a fiction writer.

The novels of Charles Langholm were chiefly remarkable for their intricate plots, and for the hope of better things that breathed through the cheap sensation of the best of them.”

I had to wonder if the author was thinking of himself but my favorite comment is yet to come.

"What!" he cried; "you call yourself a lady, and you don't look at the end before you reach it?"

Ahh, from now on, I will not feel guilty when I peek at the end of a book.

That’s it for now…you’ll have to read this 1902 novel to find out more about Rachel and Mr. Steel. This is the second novel by E.W. Hornung (brother-in-law of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) that I’ve read and I liked it even more than the first. (You can read that review here.)

Read by Christine DuFour, you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf., e-pub., or Kindle format here.

Some rather cheesy yet romantic illustrations

Friday, October 7, 2011

Home Again: views from Hannover and the Harz Mountains

We're back from our trip! We celebrated Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, at reform synogogue services in Hannover. Tonight is Yom Kippur Eve.

We had a wonderful time. Hannover has a "Red Line" walking tour (with guidebook) which was perfect for keeping me busy while Dan was at the conference during the day. I really enjoy this type of walking tour-I always go into all the buildings along the way so it takes me days rather than hours to finish. Here are just a few highlights plus photos from the wonderful trip to the Harz Mountains organized by the Leibniz conference.

This simple and elegant monument in the plaza of the Opera House (right behind the monument) is the Hannover Holocaust Memorial.
It is the most powerful Holocaust Memorial I have ever seen-each person's name, age or date of birth and place and date of death is inscribed on the sloping sides. They finally have a gravestone.
I think I went to every museum in Hannover-large and small. Here are just two of the wonderful things I saw that I wanted to share: a pair of antique dolls ( taken through the glass case).
Most evenings we went out to dinner with other conference participants-it was nice to finally meet many people that I've heard Dan talk about for years. We did go to the opera one night (The Marriage of Figaro) and this is the door knob of the Opera House! Pretty cool!
Saturday, the conference organized a trip to the Harz Mountains (bird seed, anyone?). I've discovered that the Harz Mountains are really a plateau of rolling hills and
beautiful forests.
We made a friend...isn't he gorgeous!
The trip was organized around Leibniz, of course. Besides math and philosophy, he was interested in industry and general problem solving. The silver mines in the Harz Mountains had terrible problems with water in the mines...the solution was to use water wheels to run the pumps to get the water out! Leibniz thought he had a better way-windmills-or at least a closed water system that then utilized the water pumped from the mines to run the water wheels. It wasn't actually put into practice at the mine he worked with but both were later used at another mine.

We saw a model of a water wheel...
sluice and pump house.
And a real water wheel...look at the size of it!
How did they get enough water to run the water wheels? They dug channels to bring water from higher, more distant mountains-these covered miles and miles-
and they created reservoirs to collect the water from local streams and creeks-creating lastingly beautiful places.
Now that we're back, Tuesdays Tomes will resume-I definitely had no time to read on our trip!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hannover: Gardens and Bricks

While DH was busy at his conference (this part of the trip was "part work" for him and all vacation for me :) I took a bus tour around Hannover. I had been there two years ago but there was still lots more to see. The tour took us to the Herrenhausen Gardens-Ducal Gardens that are done in the formal Baroque style.

Look at this wonderful vista and the two gorgeous fountains! Unfortunately the high spray of the back fountain blends into the sky but you can just see the spout behind the round fountain.
Here you can see one of the formal mazes-with two special Hannover differences: 1) flowers and 2) the maze is cut very low (those aren't mutant giant flowers!)
Our hotel was in the old quarter and right down the street was the Old Town Hall...the streets were too narrow for me to get a picture of the whole building so this is from the internet.
Isn't that quite an amazing brick building? I just love the crazy high frontage. This is the most southern building in Germany done in the North German Brick Gothic style. Parts of the building date from 1410.

I was able to get some fun close-ups...here you can see not only the inside of the Gothic entrance but see that round metal loop-that was for the pillory-punishment was public and right in front of the Town Hall.
Historians don't know why this was added into the brick work on the side wall...maybe this is how the townsfolk felt about the local government!