Summer Meditations

Sunset birdAndrea here . . . meditating on summer and what it means to me. In the United States, today marks the unofficial start of the summer season. With COVID -19, we don’t really know what the next few months will bring—though it’s pretty certain that Summer 2020 will very different from those in recent memory. We’re all feeling our way through the challenges, trying to inch here and there toward 'normal', as we wonder what 'normal' will be like going forward.

As someone who writes romance, I believe in resilience of the human spirit, and the power of love and friendship to help us triumph over adversity. So I do think we’ll find a way overcome all the terrible things so many of us are facing right now. But I think it’s also part of human nature to be a little nostalgic, and as summer is traditionally a time of long, lazy days in which to slow down and reflect, I got to thinking about some of the things I’ll miss this coming summer.

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AAW—In Which We Muse on Silver Linings

SunriseWith the weeks turning into months as we navigate the uncertain road of coping with Covid 19, we thought we all use a little brightness, so in this month's Ask A Wench feature, the Wenches are are answering this question about silver linings within the dark clouds: “With the stresses of shelter-in-place, is there any silver lining you've found—time to do a craft you’ve always loved but hadn't had time for; rediscovered music or a genre of a book, found pleasure in cooking or baking, etc, or in taking walks in nature? Share the unexpected pleasures you have discovered.”

TentCubbiesAnne: Lockdown hasn't made a huge difference in my daily life — I work from home anyway, and I can still walk my dog. I have hermitish tendencies and I'm not really a social gadabout. Catching up with friends for dinner or a movie has been replaced by phone calls, and zoom get-togethers — in fact I probably have more contact with friends than normal, as it's logistically easier to organize. We even had our first-ever wenchly zoom get together, though the time differences made it tricky.

My neighborhood has changed though. Apart from there being less traffic, something has happened that I hadn't realized was missing — the kids are out, playing in the street. When I was a kid, all the kids in the street knew each other and played together. In all the years I've lived in this house, I never saw it happen here. Kids played in their own house, or watched TV or whatever — I don't know. I rarely saw them. But now, they're out every day, playing and laughing. They whizz past on roller skates or scooters, they boing around on pogo sticks, they race up and down. Kids who never played together — they attend different schools — now meet up every morning and play outside all day. Over the road two little girls set up their play area every day on the strip of grass in front of the house. There are "picnics" and dress ups, and all sorts, and we have a growing tent city that a patient dad packs up every night. 
These friendships are a lovely development that I hope continues long after lockdown is lifted.

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Maggie Osborne: A Romance Classic

Anne here. Recently I've been discovering some of the older style historical romances. Not rediscovering — discovering them for the first time. I came to romance novels later in life, and many of the US romances simply weren't available here in Australia, so I know I've missed out on some that are regarded by many romance readers as "classics of romance." The+Promise+of+Jenny+Jones

Some time back, on the wenches private loop, Jo Beverley mentioned Maggie Osborne's The Promise of Jenny Jones and out of curiosity I went looking for it. I bought it on line, read it and loved it. So fresh and original and good.

Jenny Jones is a rough, tough, fiercely independent Annie Oakley kind of western gal. When the story opens, she's been sentenced to death, but a desperate mother takes Jenny Jones' place in front of a firing squad in exchange for Jenny's promise to see her daughter safely to California. Jenny mightn't look like much, she mightn't have much, but she takes her honor seriously, and any promise she gives is solid gold.

Jenny and the six-year-old Graciela are chalk and cheese — or maybe burlap and satin. The battle of wills between her and the spoiled and indulged yet vulnerable Graciela are wonderful. A bunch of Graciela's cousins are in hot pursuit — for evil or for good, Jenny isn't sure— but add in handsome cowboy Ty Sanders, and you've got all the ingredients for a wonderful romance. But for my money, it's the relationship between Jenny Jones and Graciela that steals the show.

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