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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Interwoven Biblical tenets from the muse of Austen!

A Jane Austen Devotional is certainly an unusual and pleasing work. It filters scripture through the eyes of characters and situations throughout Austen novels, and ultimately of course through Jane herself.
In opening scriptural direction and reflection for us via the understandings of Austen, her times and her characters, the publisher Thomas Nelson has combined two of the best of English literary achievements—the Bible and Austen to bring forth a bold and refreshing take on the nature of the Devotional.
I admit there are understandings and links that I would wish to challenge. For me that makes this such an interesting method of inspirational reading. I am able to dialogue with the work, to reflect and challenge my own scriptural explorations and understandings.
And I do this whilst revisiting my favorite Austen novels, characters and situations.
The devotional certainly tweaked my curiosity about Nelson’s other offering in this series, A Charles Dickens Devotional, Dickens being another of my favorite English Literature writers.
A fascinating new look at Scripture and Austen for Austen fans so minded.

A NetGalley ARC

Vive La France! ...and French cooking tips

I confess I have always been doubtful about slow cookers. I know people swear by them. But I’m a cook who loves to be in the kitchen stirring, tasting, adding this and that.
Certainly my experience of other’s Slow Cooking has been Mac ‘n Cheese, tough Chicken in some sort of Sauce, or beef gone wrong. Some good some bad all less than stellar!
In light of this, when the words ‘slow cooker’ surface, all I can think of is those horrific experiences, shudder and turn back to my trusty pots n’ pans.
But now! There is Slowing Cooking- a la gourmet style. Vive La France! (or in this case the French Cooks!)
My mouth watered as I read through The French Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone and I am almost convinced that this method will be for me. I say almost because I have to purchase the cooker. My slow cooker (that I used once and then it went the way of the Hard Rubbish Collection) had been bought at a garage sale and was nowhere near as swish and user friendly as those to be found in the chapter entitled Choosing a Slow Cooker.
The chapters are well laid out; explanations are great and recipes accessible. The lamb recipes, particularly Lamb Shanks are appealing (I am so…ooo a lamb lover). The other red meat recipes seem excellent also.
Had I had this book ages ago my household would have run differently and the children may have eaten before .  Now they all eat at so at least the grandkids aren’t starving or learning to snack or going to bed on full stomachs like they did.
This is a great book for those of us scared stiff by ‘The Slow Cooker’…Slow cooking with verve, panache and style. What more can one ask for.
A Netgallery ARC

Sunday, January 1, 2012

'the mist that had seemed a benevolent veil ... became a shroud, suffocating and dangerous.'

This early line sets the stage for the intricacies and complexities that follow in the captivating historical romance, The Price of Temptation by Lecia Cornwall.  That which is seemingly benevolent is malignant. Our heroine Lady Evelyn Renshawe is disgraced. She is an outcast in society through no actions of her own, but by those of her traitorous husband who has pretentions to the French courts and Napoleon’s friendship at a time when England and France are at war. Harassed on all sides, lady Evelyn contends with her society acquaintances’ disdain, her uncaring family waiting in the wings to dispose of her and her husband’s fortune, a despicable cad pretending friendship all the while seeking her wealth, and now the French wanting a flag, an important icon, stolen by her treacherous husband--as do the English! No wonder the hiring of Sam as a footman (in reality Captain Sinjon Rutherford who rescued her in the park), seems like a god send. Of course, Captain Rutherford has his own reasons for inserting himself into her household. Evelyn’s support until the advent of Sam has been elderly staff and one other friend whose husband it turns out is the King’s spymaster. The unraveling of the story surrounding this innocent woman, beleaguered on all sides, is a good let’s-get-away-from-it-all read. The storyline has nicely judged twists and turns, intrigues enough to take the book beyond the ordinary regency romance. Well read!
3 ½ stars!

A netgalley ARC