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Good morning! It’s Friday and I am so excited, not for any reason other than the fact that I have no plans for the weekend. I love weekends like that, don’t get me wrong, I love trips to the beach, adventures, road trips and all of the rest but sometimes you just want to be at home. What are your plans for the weekend?
I hope that you enjoy my favorite finds this week.
|Image Broma Bakery|
Summer is not over yet and this Lobster Roll Pasta from Broma Bakery would be a delicious treat for the lobster lover in your life.
|ImageHow Sweet Eats|
Tomato pie is a favorite summer meal for many, this one with a Cheddar Herb Crust from How Sweet Eats is a great alternative to your regular recipe.
|Image and Recipe from Every Last Bite|
If you have a bevy of carrots from your garden these Roasted Carrots with Tahini and Mint look like a great side dish.
Banana Bars with Browned Butter Glaze are easy to make and a great lunchtime treat for back to school.
English Seaside Town Installed Benches to Combat Loneliness(love this idea)
Read this article for a good laugh.
These are the books I am reading this week. Have your read any of them?
Monticello by Sally Cabot Gunning
After the death of her beloved mother, Martha Jefferson spent five years abroad with her father, Thomas Jefferson, on his first diplomatic mission to France. Now, at seventeen, Jefferson’s bright, handsome eldest daughter is returning to the lush hills of the family’s beloved Virginia plantation, Monticello. While the large, beautiful estate is the same as she remembers, Martha has changed. The young girl that sailed to Europe is now a woman with a heart made heavy by a first love gone wrong.
The world around her has also become far more complicated than it once seemed. The doting father she idolized since childhood has begun to pull away. Moving back into political life, he has become distracted by the tumultuous fight for power and troubling new attachments. The home she adores depends on slavery, a practice Martha abhors. But Monticello is burdened by debt, and it cannot survive without the labor of her family’s slaves. The exotic distant cousin she is drawn to has a taste for dangerous passions, dark desires that will eventually compromise her own.
As her life becomes constrained by the demands of marriage, motherhood, politics, scandal, and her family’s increasing impoverishment, Martha yearns to find her way back to the gentle beauty and quiet happiness of the world she once knew at the top of her father’s “little mountain.”
The Bookworm by Mitch Silver
A stunning and surprising new thriller, Mitch Silver’s latest novel takes readers from a secret operation during World War II—with appearances by Noel Coward and Winston Churchill—to present day London and Moscow, where Lara Klimt, “the Bookworm,” must employ all her skills to prevent an international conspiracy.
Why did Hitler chose not to invade England when he had the chance?
Europe, 1940: It’s late summer and Belgium has been overrun by the German army. Posing as a friar, a British operative talks his way into the monastery at Villers-devant-Orval just before Nazi art thieves plan to sweep through the area and whisk everything of value back to Berlin. But the ersatz man of the cloth is no thief. Instead, that night he adds an old leather Bible to the monastery’s library and then escapes.
London, 2017: A construction worker operating a backhoe makes a grisly discovery—a skeletal arm-bone with a rusty handcuff attached to the wrist. Was this the site, as a BBC newsreader speculates, of “a long-forgotten prison, uncharted on any map?” One viewer knows better: it’s all that remains of a courier who died in a V-2 rocket attack. The woman who will put these two disparate events together—and understand the looming tragedy she must hurry to prevent—is Russian historian and former Soviet chess champion Larissa Mendelovg Klimt, “Lara the Bookworm,” to her friends. She’s also experiencing some woeful marital troubles.
In the course of this riveting thriller, Lara will learn the significance of six musty Dictaphone cylinders recorded after D-Day by Noel Coward—actor, playwright and, secretly, a British agent reporting directly to Winston Churchill. She will understand precisely why that leather Bible, scooped up by the Nazis and deposited on the desk of Adolf Hitler days before he planned to attack Britain, played such a pivotal role in turning his guns to the East. And she will discover the new secret pact negotiated by the nefarious Russian president and his newly elected American counterpart—maverick and dealmaker—and the evil it portends.
Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof
From debut novelist Martha Woodroof comes an inspiring tale of a small-town college professor, a remarkable new woman at the bookshop, and the ten-year old son he never knew he had.
Tom Putnam has resigned himself to a quiet and half-fulfilled life. An English professor in a sleepy college town, he spends his days browsing the Shakespeare shelves at the campus bookstore, managing the oddball faculty in his department and caring, alongside his formidable mother-in-law, for his wife Marjory, a fragile shut-in with unrelenting neuroses, a condition exacerbated by her discovery of Tom’s brief and misguided affair with a visiting poetess a decade earlier.
Then, one evening at the bookstore, Tom and Marjory meet Rose Callahan, the shop’s charming new hire, and Marjory invites Rose to their home for dinner, out of the blue, her first social interaction since her breakdown. Tom wonders if it’s a sign that change is on the horizon, a feeling confirmed upon his return home, where he opens a letter from his former paramour, informing him he’d fathered a son who is heading Tom’s way on a train. His mind races at the possibility of having a family after so many years of loneliness. And it becomes clear change is coming whether Tom’s ready or not.
A heartwarming story with a charmingly imperfect cast of characters to cheer for, Small Blessings‘s wonderfully optimistic heart that reminds us that sometimes, when it feels like life has veered irrevocably off track, the track shifts in ways we never can have imagined.
The Forger’s Spell by Edward Dolnick
As riveting as a World War II thriller, The Forger’s Spell is the true story of Johannes Vermeer and the small-time Dutch painter who dared to impersonate him centuries later. The con man’s mark was Hermann Goering, one of the most reviled leaders of Nazi Germany and a fanatic collector of art.
It was an almost perfect crime. For seven years a no-account painter named Han van Meegeren managed to pass off his paintings as those of one of the most beloved and admired artists who ever lived. But, as Edward Dolnick reveals, the reason for the forger’s success was not his artistic skill. Van Meegeren was a mediocre artist. His true genius lay in psychological manipulation, and he came within inches of fooling both the Nazis and the world. Instead, he landed in an Amsterdam court on trial for his life.
Note: You can read this book for FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited.
The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan
1878 Paris. Following their father’s sudden death, the van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction from their lodgings seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opéra, where for a scant seventeen francs a week, she will be trained to enter the famous ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir.
Marie throws herself into dance and is soon modeling in the studio of Edgar Degas, where her image will forever be immortalized as Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. There she meets a wealthy male patron of the ballet, but might the assistance he offers come with strings attached? Meanwhile Antoinette, derailed by her love for the dangerous Émile Abadie, must choose between honest labor and the more profitable avenues open to a young woman of the Parisian demimonde.
Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural, and societal change, The Painted Girlsis a tale of two remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of “civilized society.” In the end, each will come to realize that her salvation, if not survival, lies with the other.
The Bad Miss Bennet by Jean Burnet
Picking up where Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice left off, The Bad Miss Bennettakes readers on a wild Regency adventure with Lydia Wickham, née Bennet, who finds herself in dire need of a new husband.
Lydia was never the most upstanding of the Bennet sisters, but who ever said that moral rectitude was fun?
At least she bested her elder sisters and was the first to get married. She never could understand what all the fuss was about after she left Brighton with her gallant. It is a shame, though, that Mr. Wickham turned out to be a disappointing husband in so many aspects, the most notable being his early demise on the battlefields of Waterloo. And so Lydia, still not yet twenty and full of enterprising spirit, is in urgent need of a wealthy replacement. A lesser woman, without Lydia’s natural ability to flirt uproariously on the dance floor and cheat seamlessly at the card table, would swoon in the wake of a dashing highwayman, a corrupt banker, and even an amorous Prince Regent. But on the hunt for a marriage that will make her rich, there’s nothing that Lydia won’t turn her hand to. In the meantime, she has no qualms about imposing on her sister Elizabeth’s hospitality at Pemberley. After all, what is the point of having all that fine fortune if not to aid a poor, newly widowed younger sister?
While Lydia rattles around the continent from Paris to Venice and to the home of the disgraced Princess of Wales in Italy and back again to Darbyshire, you, dear reader, will be greatly diverted by the new adventures of Jane Austen’s consummate and incorrigible anti-heroine, who never ceases to delight.
I hope that you share your favorite recipes, podcasts, books and more. Have a happy and safe weekend.