A Magical Place

Christina here. There are some places that definitely have a magical feel about them. Places that have inspired countless stories, and where you can easily imagine yourself transported through time. I can’t compete with Pat’s fabulous journey to the land of the Incas in the previous post, but I recently visited Tintagel – the village and its ancient ruins – on the north Cornish coast, and it made a huge impression on me. It’s not as exotic, but it is still awesome! Tintagel is located in a truly spectacular position. I hadn’t been there for a very long time, and …

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What We’re Reading in June

The Word Wenches have been reading the most lovely books.

Mary Jo's recommendations for this month include one of my own old favorites.

Mary Jo:

WwTheIvyTreeI've read some new books this last month, but the only stories that really grabbed me were two oldies.  The first was Mary Stewart's The Ivy TreeWe've discussed Mary Stewart here before–the Wenches are major fans and she shaped the writing for several of us, me included.

The Ivy Tree was the first Mary Stewart I ever read, in a condensed version in my mother's Ladies Home Journal.  I was riveted, and the big story twist was like being clubbed. (I'm harder to surprise now, but it's still one heck of a twist. <G>) 

Stewart is marvelous in her descriptions of story settings, and she makes a Northumberland summer come alive with sensual warmth.  Good suspense and romance, too.  (A lot of smoking goes on, as in most of Stewart's books, a sign of the changing times.)  It's still a wonderful story. 

My other favorite book is Sarah-Kate Lynch's The Wedding Bees, which I learned WwWedding Beesabout on an earlier WWR.  I think it was recommended by Anne Gracie and Pat Rice.  I was a little wary, not being over fond of stinging insects, but within a couple of chapters, I was hooked.  It's kind of magical realism with the heroine, Sugar Wallace, exiled from her beloved Southern home and each year moving herself and her bees to a new city chosen by her queen bee, one of a succession of Elizabeths.  (The current queen is Elizabeth the 6th.)

This time she's led to New York City in an apartment with a great views, a terrace for her bees, and a half dozen other units in the building occupied by miserable people.  Sugar is a healer with both her honey and her warmth, and by the end of the book, everyone in the building is happy, and they and her bees have healed her into happiness and love. A delightful story.


Susan brings us a most interesting mystery series and a rather famous book about writing itself.

WwdyingfallSusan:  This round, I read something new to me and something much-read (I won't mention the stack of to-be-reads, half-reads, meant-to-finishes, and forgot-I-hads that I didn't get through!). I'm leisurely making my way through Elly Griffiths' Ruth Galloway mystery series, picking one up now and then, and Dying Fall was a very good point in the series, about halfway through so far. Archaeologist and forensic bone specialist Dr. Ruth Galloway–single mom to a toddler she shares with Nelson, a local detective chief inspector–is drawn into a major archaeological discovery by an old friend who is soon murdered.

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An Apple A Day…

A few weeks ago Wench Joanna celebrated oranges and lemons in a blog post. Today, as Apple Day approaches in the UK, I thought I would talk about apples. Apples are like reverse oranges and lemons; they aren’t rare, they aren’t generally exotic although these days some apples have been developed especially for their exotic look and taste, and they will grow just about anywhere in the UK. Yet until the 18th century most eating apples were considered luxuries and sold mainly in London. It was the humble cooking apple that was a staple of the ordinary man and woman’s …

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Nicola here. Today I’m talking about sleep. Do you sleep like a log (like Rochester in the photo) or are you a light sleeper? An insomniac, even? I tend to sleep for about four hours, wake up, lie awake for a while and then go back to sleep. Until recently I had no idea that this might actually be quite normal and a throwback to the not so distant past. New research however suggests that as recently as the 19th century the idea of “first sleep” and “second sleep” was common. It was only with the introduction of artificial lighting …

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Cara/Andrea here, inviting you to come on another peregrination . . . Between the glittering elegance of London’s ballrooms, the bubbling charms of Bath’s Pump Room and the rugged splendor of Scotland’s Highlands, Wales—and the Welsh—tend to get overlooked in historical romance stories. I’m not sure why bucks of the ton and men in kilts get all the attention, for after a recent visit to the country, I came away utterly . . . enchanted! Really, how can one not fall in love with a country that features Y Ddraig Goch—the Red Dragon—on its national flag. Dragons play a big …

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