Our annual retreat to Argyll in October is always a joy, this year however was slightly different. No driving the twisting roads in the gentle October weather with ‘Baby’s’ hood down. No visiting the vast amount of pre-historical sites. No trawling round the art galleries (much to Hubby’s relief). No photographs of the wonderful hues of gold and yellow and orange and red and silver and purple, which once more brought on my sigh of ‘Oh I wish I could paint’. No not even any castle exploring. This year despite the glorious weather it was a case of sitting in front of the fire with a glass of wine, or mug of coffee and a cream cake and reading, and what an assortment.
I can’t remember who it was that mentioned ‘A Wind in the Door’ by Madeleine L’engle. However it had been sitting waiting to be read for some time. Shame on me for taking so long it is an utterly charming book about a young boy who thinks he has seen a dragon, only to then discover that it is a cherubim. Not the toro-less one of art with just two wings and a cheery face, but a proper one covered in wings and eyes. The book is actually intended for children, well this child adored it. It is the second in a series of five books and even though I hadn’t read the 1st it didn’t matter. As Charles health deteriorates his sister with the help of one very unexpected, one other not so unexpected person join with the cherubim and Baljeny (read the book I am not going to spoil who they might be) to restore Charles back to full health, oh and Louise the snake helps too.
The Rose of Sebastopol by Katharine McMahon is most definitely an adult book. The majority of the book is set during the Crimean War, mainly in and around Balaklava and is steeped with historical nuggets. It is one of those books that jumps back in time to fill in bits of information but the jumping back in this instance isn’t as annoying as I sometimes find that particular style of writing as in the main it is only a jump back of a year. Florence Nightingale is always somewhere in the distance although we never actually meet her in the book, and it in part down to Florence that Mariella ends up after having lived a very secluded life in Victorian London immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of the Crimea. Rosa, Mariella’s cousin, wanted to be a nurse with Florence Nightingale helping the wounded soldiers, but Rosa isn’t one to follow rules and after Mariella visits Henry a life long friend who has also been affected by the war, Mariella finds herself taking the most unexpected and a life changing journey into the Crimea.
I also read The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. RevRuth has been telling me to read this book for what seems like years and now I finally know why she kept going on about it. Beautifully written, poignant with a real soul. It too is a story of discovery set in the American South during times of great change. Read it, I doubt you will be disappointed.
A while back I wrote on my blog about ‘A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg’ after someone recommended I read it, the same person also recommend that I read Standing in the Rainbow also by Fannie Flagg so that also accompanied us up to Argyll. It was an easy read and very enjoyable although it is very hard to actually convey what the story is about as it is about so much and yet as a book doesn’t really have a main theme or even main character. I started off by thinking we were going to follow one person’s life only to discover that person faded into the background and another person came to the forefront and so it continued. It is a great book for taking on holiday or reading if you are the kind of person who only reads in short spurts as all the chapters are short and you wont lose the plot, mainly because there isn’t one it is the story of life a collection of lives that somewhere along the way meet in the small town of Elmwood Springs, Missouri.
Finally I also delved into Meet the Rabbis by Brad H Young, not really holiday reading but while you might be able to take the priest away from her study you can’t stop her being a priest. Jesus was a Jew and a Rabbi of his time, this book traces some of the Rabbinic thoughts that were around then and on which Jesus drew shedding extra light on some of his teachings, it also tries to put the Pharisees in a better light from that which they are usually cast.
So lots of reading and tossing logs on the fire at the end of chapters and a very restful holiday, now with Advent under my belt before I left for Argyll it is on with Christmas and Epiphany.