Thursday Book Feature: The Christmas Forest

Image contains: me, smiling.The Christmas Forest

by Rebecca Boxall

Copyright 2018.

 

After the tragic death of their parents, Enid and Bess are living in two identical cottages side by side on the island of Jersey, England. Enid meets Fred, who lives in Australia, through a Christmas card exchange. Fred is mourning the loss of his mother. After corresponding with Enid for a year, he invites her to visit him for Christmas. Because she has Aspberger’s, Enid is afraid to leave her comfort zone, but Bess persuades her to accept Fred’s invitation. The book has sub-plots involving other characters.

I felt a special connection to this book. It reminded me of the time my late husband Bill, who lived in Fowler, Colorado, proposed to me and then invited himself to visit me in Sheridan, Wyoming. Although this didn’t happen during the holidays, and I wasn’t expected to leave my comfort zone, I could understand Enid’s apprehension. You can read our story in My Ideal Partner.

With its surprising plot twists, The Christmas Forest kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading it. In the Audible version I purchased, the three narrators did an excellent job of portraying Enid, Bess, and Fred as they told the story from each of their points of view. I can’t think of a better way to start your holiday reading.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

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Song Lyric Sunday: Last Time I Saw Him

Image contains: me, smiling.This feature was created by Helen Vahdati. The theme this week is “last.” I like this song’s cheerful quality that undermines the sad story it tells. I’m thankful that after my baby left me on a bus, he returned three months later, and we were married. It wasn’t the last time I saw him. You can read our story in My Ideal Partner. Enjoy this song, and have a great day.

Last Time I Saw HimDiana Ross

Lyrics Courtesy of Google

Last time I saw him
He sweetly kissed my lips
Last time I saw him
He said: “I’ll be back for more of this”
Last time I saw him
We were crying at the bus
I knew he hated leaving
But he had to set us up
I gave him money
I know I invested well
Mamma doesn’t trust him
But he loves me I can tell
Each time the greyhound
Arrives at nine o’ clock
But I don’t start my crying
‘Till that last man’s gotten off
Last time I saw him
Last time I saw my honey
Last time I saw him
He was greyhound-bound
But I’m still waiting here
Without a fear
That bus will someday turn around
I had no letter
It’s been six months, maybe better
I try forgetting him
But I love him more then ever
I have decided
I’ve waited long enough
If there was nothing wrong
He would return right on that bus
There must be trouble
So I’m leavin’ on the double
If he can’t get to me
I know he needs me desperately
Last time I saw him
Last time I saw my honey
Last time I saw him
He was looking fine
And as he waved goodbye
He said don’t cry
I’m coming back, no rain or shineLast time I saw him
Last time I saw my honey
Last time I saw him
He was greyhound-bound
And as he waved goodbye
He said don’t cry
I’m coming back, no rain or shineLa de da, la da do
Do la da da, da da daLast time I saw him
He was looking fine
And as he waved goodbye
He said don’t cry
I’m coming back, no rain or shine
Songwriters: Michael Masser / Pamela Joan Sawyer
Last Time I Saw Him lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

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My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

Song Lyric Sunday: Listen to Your Heart

Image contains: me, smiling.This feature was created by Helen Vahdati. This week’s theme is “listen.” I featured this song a while back, but it’s worth repeating because it relates to my personal story.

When my late husband proposed to me, I wasn’t sure I wanted to marry him. A couple of months later, I listened to my heart and did not tell him good-bye, and I’m glad I did. You can learn more by reading My Ideal Partner.
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Roxette—Listen to your Heart

 

I know there’s something in the wake of your smile
I get a notion from the look in your eyes, yea
You’ve built a love but that love falls apart
Your little piece of heaven turns too dark
Listen to your heart when he’s calling for you
Listen to your heart there’s nothing else you can do
I don’t know where you’re going and I don’t know why,
But listen to your heart before you tell him goodbye
Sometimes you wonder if this fight is worthwhile
The precious moments are all lost in the tide, yea
They’re swept away and nothing is what is seems,
The feeling of belonging to your dreams
Listen to your heart when he’s calling for you
Listen to your heart there’s nothing else you can do
I don’t know where you’re going and I don’t know why,
But listen to your heart before you tell him goodbye
And there are voices that want to be heard
So much to mention but you can’t find the words
The sense of magic, the beauty that’s been
When love was wilder than the wind
Listen to your heart when he’s calling for you
Listen to your heart there’s nothing else you can do
I don’t know where you’re going and I don’t know why,
But listen to your heart before you tell him goodbye
Listen to your heart when he’s calling for you
Listen to your heart there’s nothing else you can do
I don’t know where you’re going and I don’t know why,
But listen to your heart before you tell him goodbye
Songwriters: Rolf Letekro / Tony Harnell
Listen to Your Heart lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Universal Music Publishing Group

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My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

***

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

Song Lyric Sunday: I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen

Image contains: me, smiling.This blog feature was created by Helen Vahdati. This week’s theme is “take/taking.” My brother Andy’s first wife’s name was Kathleen. I sang this song at their wedding, as she came down the aisle. You can click on the title to hear me sing the song the way I sang it over twenty years ago. As far as I know, no one is taking Kathleen home again now. Andy has a new wife and is happy.

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I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen

 

Lyrics Courtesy of Google

 

I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen

Across the ocean wild and wide

To where your heart has ever been

Since first you were my Bonnie bride.

The roses all have left your cheek.

I’ve watched them fade away and die

Your voice is sad when e’er you speak

And tears bedim your loving eyes.

Oh! I will take you back, Kathleen

To where your heart will feel no pain

And when the fields are fresh and green

I’ll take you to your home again!

 

Songwriters: James Carroll / Sean Gilroy / Myles Mooney / Trevor Peak / Paul Ryan

I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, Songtrust

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My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

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Like me on Facebook.

 

Thursday Book Feature: Sugar and Spice

Sugar and Spice

By Cara Wade

Copyright 2018.

 

Kaylan’s life is turned upside down when she learns she has inherited her deceased aunt’s bakery. Kaylan has a job and a life in the city, and the last thing she wants to do is move to the small town where she grew up and run the shop, but she agrees to try it for a few months. Along with flour, sugar, and other ingredients, add a resentful boyfriend, two dedicated employees,, and a handsome stranger named Jack to the mixture, and what comes out of the oven could be interesting.

This is a good story, but it’s not well-written. The author tells the story from Kaylan’s first person point of view, which is fine, but it’s in present tense, often slipping into past tense, which doesn’t work. I can understand using past tense to tell back story, but even when she’s in the present, she occasionally shifts into past tense. These instances could have been mistakes her editor didn’t catch. In any case, the story would have been more effective told in the past tense. Besides this, I noticed some grammatical errors and minor plot inconsistencies.

I also didn’t appreciate the detailed descriptions of love-making in this book. Unfortunately, many romance writers feel they need to include such scenes to show how their hero and heroine feel about each other. In most cases, descriptions of sex slow down a story. In this case, it was pretty obvious that Kaylan and Jack were falling for one another by their kissing, caressing, and cuddling. The bedroom action wasn’t necessary.

On the other hand, I like the way most of the character’s back stories come out in dialog and not in narrative. According to the author’s biographical information at the back of the book, Cara Wade is a new indie author. It looks like she has a lot to learn, and I hope she improves. As I said before, this is a good story, and it teaches an important lesson about relationships. Honesty with each other is always the best policy.

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

Book Excerpt: The Morning My Husband Passed

Six years ago today, my husband was found dead in his room at the nursing home where he’d spent the past month. I’d been caring for him at home for six years after two strokes paralyzed his left side. He’d started going downhill, finally getting to the point where I could no longer lift him.

I’d hoped to get him into Greenhouse,, a facility where residents live in cottages holding no more than twelve occupants and each have their own room and bath,. However, there was a six-month waiting list for people on Medicaid, so he and I decided that he should move to a regular nursing home for the time being. He must have decided he couldn’t wait for greener pastures.

The following poem, from My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds, talks about how I learned of his death and my reactions. You can click this link to hear me read it.

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 THE MORNING MY HUSBAND PASSED

 

 

The nurse’s call wakes me at six thirty.

Relieved but unable to drive,

I call my father—he agrees to take me.

 

I think to myself,

this is it—I’m a widow.

I knew it would come, but why so soon?

 

He just turned seventy.

We were married only seven years.

I took care of him for six.

He wanted to make it ten.

 

Driving through the streets,

I see, hear, feel nothing.

When we arrive, I hurry to his room,

to his bedside where he lies,

swathed from head to toe.

 

I uncover his face,

eyes, mouth closed,

his body at peace.

I kiss his brow,

bury my face in his hair,

hold him, tell him I love him,

pack his belongings, leave,

my life having turned a corner.

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

Friday Fun Poetry Challenge: Haunt and Spell (synonyms only)

This feature was created by Colleen Chesebro. This week’s words are “haunt” and spell.” This was tricky because I couldn’t find any one-word synonyms for “haunt.” With Halloween approaching, for this Tanka, I settled on “visit as if a spirit,” and instead of “spell,” I’m using “aura.” It’s not exactly haunting, but it’s a portrayal of how I feel as a widow. Enjoy!

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Gone for six years now,

As if he were a spirit,

my love visits me.

I still welcome his aura

and will never let him go.

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.