February In Review

It’s March first as I’m working on this post and still we have had no winter here in my corner of Texas. Yesterday the temperature hit 86 degrees, squelching my dream of reading books beside the fire with a hot cup of cocoa. Time to make lemonade and dig out my flip flops. Jake, too felt the hotter days and wound up with a nasty hot spot that required a trip to the vet. Happily he’s on the mend.

img_2840This week we spotted the first of the bluebonnets, our state flower. Our wildflower experts say we should have a good showing of all our spring flowers, thanks to some good winter rains and now these warm temps.

I didn’t let the hot winter interfere with my reading, though. Last month I read a few books for research for a forthcoming book, and rewarded myself by digging into the books of two authors new to me. I wanted to introduce you to them in case you haven’t met:

Colm Toibin is an Irish writer with a resume a mile long, but because I specialize in writing about the 19th century, and most of his books are closer to contemporary times I was unfamiliar with his work until I saw the movie trailer for Brooklyn and discovered his novel by the same title. Set in 1950’s Brooklyn it’s the story of Eilis Lacey, a young Irish girl who comes to America to find work as a bookkeeper and assimilates into American culture,  including falling in love with Tony, an Italian boy. But just as they plan for a life together, Eilis is summoned home to Ireland, changing everything. Toibin’s spare prose and masterly evocation of mid century Brooklyn held me spellbound. I can’t wait to read more of his work.

Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams is the story of a 1960’s family that bears a striking resemblance to the Kennedys, Christina “Tiny” Hardcastle is married to Frank, a rising star in Massachusetts politics, a handsome and charismatic man who showers Tiny with jewels and beautiful clothes even as he becomes more emotionally distant. Frank’s father is a ruthless manipulator who will do anything to ensure his son’s rise to power. But both Tiny and Frank are hiding explosive secrets that could ruin everything. Williams does a great job of evoking the details of life in America during the mid 60’s. But I had a hard time caring about Tiny’s problem, and the author left a couple of loose ends but perhaps this was by design; Tiny Little Thing is a sequel to an earlier book. Perhaps she’s planning to write more about the Hardcastles. If you enjoy books about the glitz and glamour of life in the spotlight you will find this book fascinating.

Foodie Fix: We wanted to explore a different cuisine last month. Here in Texas the temptation is to stick with the familiar which means an endless supply of Mexican food. So we visited two Thai restaurants. At a place called Lemongrass we tried the curries and I had a shrimp dish that came with a wonderful ginger sauce that had that gingery bite I love. The next week we went to Pacific Moon. Honestly there was nothing on the menu that jumped out at me, so I ordered a salad that came with grilled chicken, apples, grapes, and brown rice wonderfully flavored with sesame oil. We didn’t order dessert at either place. Maybe next time.

Wishing you a beautiful spring wherever you call home. Till next time,