Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Coast of Maine Looks Good This Time of Year

So what am I doing on my second day of vacation you may be asking, of course you may not be, but I'm going to tell you anyway.  Well more thank likely I got up a little earlier than I would have preferred so I would be able to take in the farmer's market that is less than 10 blocks from my house, but never get to visit. I'll have perused the stalls picking out some produce and hopefully this wonderful cottage cheese bread that is to die for.  I may pick up some fresh pasta, depends on what they have this time around.  After the market, I'll be visiting the Wichita Art Museum, which believe it or not, has one of the largest collections of American art in the country.  Admission is free on Saturdays, and I never miss a chance to go.  As far as the rest of the day goes, who knows.  I may go visit my favorite graveyard in town, no judging, and read for a bit.  I may go shopping, though at this point in time that holds no appeal to me.  I guess I'll just take the day as it comes.

In the meantime, I would like to introduce (though I doubt introductions are needed) to the wonderfully brilliant Sheila of Book Journey.  What can I say about Sheila that most of you don't already know?  She is one of the friendliest bloggers I have ever had the pleasure to come across and when I think about the stalwarts of this community, she is one that comes to mind every time.  When I first came across her, within my first month of blogging, and realized she was from MN, my home state, I started following her.  Her blog quickly became one that I looked up to and though I'm not sure I asked her a ton of questions, I'm sure I asked a few, and she never brushed me off.  She answered them and gave me helpful advice when I needed it.  Three years later, I'm still following her blog, and I'm pretty sure I won't stop anytime soon.  So when you are done reading her wonderful summertime book recommendation, head on over and say hi.

Greetings readers of Wordsmithonia!  I come in peace…..


Of course I come in peace!  It’s summer my FAVORITE time of year!  I love to be outside on my deck reading, inviting friends over to grill, biking, rollerblading, boating, hiking, going to the cabin…. Did I mention I LOVE Summer?

When Ryan shot me a message asking if I would do a guest post while he took a little break and my subject was “summer” I jumped at the chance.  He pretty much left the “what” up to me.  I could write about summer activities, a book, a movie, a song....

I decided immediately I wanted to talk about a book.

Many years ago I read a book that screams summer…. It is called The Summerhouse by Jude Deveroux and to this day it is one of my all-time favorite books.  The Summerhouse is about 3 girls who meet at the DMV when they are 16 and discover they all share the same birthday.  The girls are all from very different backgrounds, but build a connection through this encounter.

Now, flash forward and the girls are all turning 40.  Their lives have not turned out as they had dreamed.  Leslie’s dream of marrying the perfect guy is pretty much snuffed out when she realizes that “perfect guy” is having an affair with his much younger assistant.  Her two children are snots and don’t even acknowledge she exists.  Where did that young strong willed girl she used to be go?

Ellie is a writer, but recent happenings in her life and a nasty court battle coming up has left her unable to focus enough to write a word. 

Madison was on the straight track to becoming a dancer, her long lean limbs were perfect back in high school…. But a call from an ex fiancé who was in a serious accident and left wheelchair bound pulls her off track and she instead becomes an exhausted full time care giver for an ungrateful man who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and believes the world needs to cater to him.

Ellie, who owns a cottage in Maine, decided to invite the other two women, who she has not spoken to in years to celebrate their birthdays together.  She sends out the invites, not knowing what to expect, if they even remember her, and is pleasantly surprised when both accept the invitation.  

The three women meet in Maine and over an evening of wine and horduerves catch each other up on how their lives have turned out, and not for the better.  The next day, while exploring the town to find gifts for one another, each separately receives an invite to a Madame Zoya’s future reading.  As a hoot, the girls decide to go and check it out. 

Madame Zoya offers this:  “What if you could go back to a point in your life when you made a decision that led you one way that set your life’s course.  What if you could go back to that moment in time and choose differently… how would your lives have turned out?”

Each of the girls is put into a trance that takes them back in time for two weeks to that moment they chose and the book shares their “new life” as it would have been.

In the end, each has to make a decision….

1.   Stay with what they have and keep the memory of what could have been.

2.   Choose the life they just envisioned by taking that road not traveled, but then everything changes from that moment on, if you had kids in this life, you no longer do… all your memories from this time are gone…

3.  Stay with what they have and erase the memory of what could have been

This book was amazing… if you have ever thought of the “what if”, I think you will love this book.  We read it for our book club in 2003 and we had one of our best discussions ever over the topic of if we could go back, what would we do differently, what time did we say no and it should have been yes?  

I highly recommend you find this book, a spot on the beach, a lawn chair, your deck, a hammock, a boat…. A spot in the sun, and spend a little time with Leslie, Ellie, and Madison.  I think, I will do the same.  

(I was going to link my review to this book, but realized, I have never reviewed it since I started blogging…. I think perhaps it is time)

Enjoy your time of relaxation Ryan!  And readers, The Summerhouse by Jude Deveroux… my summer book selection I recommend for you. 


Man of la Book said...

Thank you for the brilliant Sheila for the great recommendation. Have fun Ryan, Maine is on my "must see" list.

bermudaonion said...

I love Sheila too and have been lucky enough to meet her in person. She's exactly how you think she is. The book sounds great too!

Anonymous said...

I know that Jude Deveroux is a well loved author. I have not had the pleasure of reading one, but would like to give her work a try. Thank you for your review and recommendation for what sounds like a great summer read.

Anonymous said...

I need a good summer book. Right now I'm reading a bunch of nonfiction which, although fascinating, don't exactly translate to a perfect sunbathing read.

Simcha said...

Glad to see that day 2 is going better. I love the farmer's market as well.
This does sound like a great summer read. I'll have to see if I can find a copy of the book.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Hi Ryan! Glad to hear you are relaxing and that cottage cheese bread I want to hear more about that when you get back... and the museum... I hope you are taking pictures of your travels:)

I came over here today to razz you about posting while you are on vacation and realized what a goob (word I called myself on my blog this morning too when I realized I forgot about this post)I was for not popping in yesterday.

I hope people give this book a try. I just read through this post again and went "Dang, I really need to pull that off the shelf".

Teddyree said...

Sheila, if you think this book is amazing then I want it! Sounds like the perfect read for our cruise in 3 weeks, escaping winter LOL.

and have to agree with you Ryan, Sheila is pretty darn awesome!!

I love farmer's markets, would love to do most of my groceries at a farmer's market but that just wouldn't be practical. But a visit to the museum and graveyard appeals to me too ... have fun Ryan!

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Sheila. I've never read Jude Devereaux. Sounds like a good one.

Ryan, that art museum sounds amazing! I'm going to take the boys to the Tennessee State Museum this summer. It's always free admission.

Yvette said...

I remember reading Jude Devereaux's books a long time ago. Haven't read any in awhile. I'll add this to my TBR journal. Thanks for the great review.

Off the top of my head I think my favorite Devereaux book is one of her time travel romances, KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR. At least I think it was a time travel romance....Anyway, it lives that way in my mind. Ha!

Ryan said...

This will be another book I have to put on my wish list. It's nor normally what I woudl read, but if Sheila likes it this much, I may too.

Sheila, As I'm typing this response your picture is staring at me and it's making me laugh. I think it's the glasses. Thank you so much for being an aweseome person and doing this post.