Happy Canada Day!
There were the days in the 1930’s in England where there was no such thing as looking for a mate “online” – the system had not yet been invented. The result was many lonely people without means of meeting people. In this book, one young woman, a farmer’s daughter in England, visited her uncle in India where he ran a tea plantation and employed a number of young men from England to help him. The daughter was attracted to one of these men but in the end did not marry him. She saw first hand, however, how these men and hundreds like them in Britain’s other colonies, got very lonely because there were no women for them to marry. The visiting niece listened to her uncle’s suggestion that she set up an office in London where these men could meet a wife while on leave.
She knew another girl, also living in London, who was prepared to help her. They cleared the idea with legal authorities and the rest of the book tells the touching story of London in 1939, some few months before heading into World War II. Many men and women were longing to find a happy marriage.
The author, Penrose Halston, had used the Marriage Bureau herself and made a happy marriage. Later in 1986, she became the owner of a new bureau which had in fact merged with the original one. Halston had worked as a teacher and writer and handles these cases with sensitivity. They make for amusing as well as optimistic reading. In ten years the girls who ran the original Bureau created over three thousand marriages and only heard of two that ended in divorce.
Reviewed by Anne McDougall
Local author Miriam Bloom will be here on Saturday, June 17 from 1:00-3:00pm to sign copies of her beautiful new children’s book An ABC of Ottawa. Bright, beautifully illustrated, and featuring some of our Nation’s Capital’s most iconic sites, this ABC book is sure to be enjoyed by all readers, both young and old.
To learn more about Miriam and her lovely book, check out her website: http://www.miriambloomart.ca/#1
Spending his time off in villa on Sant’Erasmo, one of the largest islands in the laguna, Brunetti is enjoying days of rowing a boat alongside the caretaker Davide Casati, who was also an excellent navigator. When a sudden and violent storm one day upset Casati’s boat at the landing, drowning its owner, Brunetti finds himself once again on the job, trying to solve a case complicated by other men’s actions at the time of the accident.
Brunetti is the starring detective in 26 stories in this beloved series by Leon. She has lived in Venice for most of her life (now dividing her time between Venice and Switzerland) and gives readers an up-close picture of the ancient city, the charm of the vaporetti rides through the lagunas, and details and rhythms of everyday life. Alongside the charm, however, lie problems from the huge influx of tourists as well as government corruption.
We have gotten to know and love Brunetti as he tracks down some of these crimes. He does it in a low-key manner, always allowing time to be with his own family, wife Paola and two children whom he loves and who become friends as we read the series.
Earthly Remains is a powerful new addition to this celebrated series.
Reviewed by Anne McDougall
In this one, he introduces Paul Stuart, a well-known food writer in London who has written some popular books on food and wine in different parts of Europe. He was starting a new one, when his girlfriend of some time left him for her personal trainer. His editor, Gloria, suggested he travel to the part of Italy he was going to write about, for inspiration and cheer. He has already had success with books such as Paul Stuart’s Provencal Table, and Bordeaux Table, as well as books on Portugal and Spain.
Tuscany turns out to be a beautiful spot, as he settles into a charming village called Montalcano. His adventures start when his car-rental could not produce a car, and he is given a bulldozer which he proceeds to drive gingerly from place to place, getting attention to his own project along the way. The village people prove fun and competitive. A young American woman has particular appeal. In the end he finds happiness close to home in one of McCall Smith’s happy ever after endings. It makes for another of his irresistible loving books.
Reviewed by Anne McDougall
P.E.I. author Bruce McCallum will be in the store on Thursday, May 18 from 5:00-7:00pm to sign copies of his new mystery novel Death in the Doach Woods.
About the book:
“What happens when ordinary people get swept up in a murder case?
Death in the Doach Woods is a murder-mystery set in south west Scotland, in the wild heart of Dumfries and Galloway. Derek and Kirstie Finlayson, a couple from Prince Edward Island, have recently retired from busy jobs in Canada. They’re spending six months in the region—reconnecting with Kirstie’s family who still live nearby.
They enjoy hiking and biking in the Scottish Forestry Commission’s extensive forests. But one afternoon in January, they make a startling discovery at the lookout, high up on a mountain in the Doach Woods. From that moment on, they find themselves caught up in a whirlwind that takes over their lives, especially for Derek, the nosy Canadian. He can’t stop thinking about the case and looking for clues that might solve it. Why would someone kill a 75 year-old man? Who could benefit from such a crime? The story climaxes when a surprise player draws attention to a possible culprit. In a strange twist, the hunters then become the hunted.
Many of the story’s colourful characters speak in the rich dialect of south west Scotland—a language made famous by the poet, Rabbie Burns, as he is known to the Scots.”
Margaret Kell Virany of Aylmer, Quebec looks forward to a visit to Books on Beechwood on Saturday, May 13 from 11:00am to 1:00pm to sign copies of the WWI-era story of her parents, Kathleen’s Cariole Ride.
About the book:
“It is full of love and promise. They were an unlikely pair. She was a city councilor’s daughter from Portsmouth, England and he was a Canadian sailor from a farm 40 miles north of Toronto. They met in 1917 when her father invited some colonial servicemen home for Sunday tea. They did not start writing until nine years later, after war losses had taken their toll. They were lonely, reaching out for love. One reviewer writes, ‘More than just a northern adventure story, this is the hard journey of two souls seeking to create a better world after the trauma of the war.’ The courtship is conducted on onion skin stationery back and forth over 5,000 miles. She asks him to come over again before she decides and he does, twice. In a tremendous leap of faith she comes out to the snowy expanses and frozen lakes of the Oxford House Swampy Cree mission field in Manitoba to be his lifelong helpmeet although she’s seen him for only three weeks out of 27 years.”
About the author:
“Margaret is a graduate in English ‘Lang & Lit’ from the University of Toronto. She worked as a professional YMCA secretary, freelance journalist and was editor and co-owner of the Aylmer Bulletin. With honesty and intimacy, she combines the discipline and breadth of a classical education with the flare, brevity and compulsion of a newspaper.”
Margaret’s earlier book, A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void – her parents’ story followed by her own story of growing up as a minister’s daughter -will also be available.
Find out more about Margaret and her books at www.margaretvirany.com.