I’m not sure I could come up with something novel to say about the process– after all, people have been shaping loaves for centuries. My first thought was to share something poetic; I could wax on about the smell of yeast…the warmth of dough under my hands…the irresistible, velvety softness of flour.
Christa Parrish, author of Stones for Bread, manages much better than I to write a love story to the staple of human history. Tucked here and there between the pages of her book are instructions to make your first sourdough starter and recipes for Dark Chocolate Pain au Levain and Brioche Sticky Buns, among others. Regularly scattered throughout are tidbits on bread throughout the ages as well as musings on its Scriptural importance. Bread is woven throughout Scripture–in its stories and used symbolically– more than I think I realized before or thought about.
As for the fiction Christa pens, I admit: I have mixed feelings. While the tale of a bakery owner still healing from the scars of a tragic childhood resonated emotionally, I found myself a bit conflicted over some of the messages and meaning in the book. Ultimately I couldn’t resolve my differing thoughts about the novel clearly enough to feel as if I could give it a proper rating, or a fair review. Still, I thought it was worth mentioning, and if you read it I’d be interested in hearing your opinion of it.
Also…bringing up this book makes for the perfect excuse to share a favorite bread recipe, am I right?! While nothing overly complicated or fancy, I’ve really enjoyed this recipe for Garlic and Herb dinner rolls. I don’t have a KitchenAid, so I just knead them by hand for 15-20 minutes, and they always seem to turn out really well. I also speed up the rise time by turning on the oven briefly, then turning it off and putting the dough inside the warm oven. Follow the link above if you’d like to take a peek at these rolls and the rest of It’s Always Autumn’s website. Otherwise, enjoy the rest of your week– reading, or baking, or doing whatever God has for you to do. ❤
Inevitably, when I’m reading a descriptive piece of Christian fiction, I wonder what it would be like translated into film. Especially if the book has a cinematic “flavor” to it, just aching for an adaption on the big screen! Once before I had a great deal of fun putting together a dream cast for an imaginary movie based on the book Hidden Among the Stars. (Click here to read that post.) I thought I’d do that again, this time for a Lori Benton book I read recently called Burning Sky. As I go along, I’ll share my cast picks, musings about the novel, and maybe mention a few Christian films I’ve enjoyed.
Burning Sky is set just after the Revolutionary War in the American frontier. Willa Obenchain (the protagonist of the story) has just returned to her childhood homestead to find it abandoned–parents vanished, without any trace of what might have happened to them. Willa was abducted by Mohawk Indians as a little girl, and has lived most of her life with them. Tragedy pushes her to find her origins and build a new future on her parents’ land. The heartbeat of Willa’s story, to me, revolves around a recurring Bible verse–Isaiah 42:3, “A bruised reed shall He not break”… a promise Willa grasps tightly.
I had difficulty choosing an actress to play Willa’s part, and to be honest, I’m still not completely satisfied. Whoever plays Willa needs to look as if she could not only survive, but thrive living among the Mohawk. Not to mention endure the strain of rigorous farm life. I still haven’t found someone who embodies the physical and emotional strength I envisioned in my mind, but I settled on Blake Lively in the end. Blake is beautiful, no doubt, but something about her features seems slightly– worn, as if she could portray a character who carries so much grief. At the same time, even the set of her chin suggests tenacity.
Next up would be Willa’s two romantic interests. Willa saves the life of Neil MacGregor, who finds himself obliged to her after he is injured traveling through the vicinity of her farm land. He stays on for some time to heal, falls for Willa, and sticks around to help in any way he can. Neil isn’t exactly cut from frontier cloth, but he works hard, loves to read his old family Bible, and of course has a Scottish accent going for him. I don’t watch the show Outlander, but I imagined Neil as something like that show’s Sam Heughan. That said, I chose the Scottish lead of All Creatures Great and Small, Nicholas Ralph, for this part. I think his role as a country vet on All Creatures… translates well to “I paint pictures of plants but I’m also totally comfortable getting muddy or patching up your gunshot wound” Neil.
Guy number two is Willa’s Mohawk guardian angel, “Joseph” Tames-His-Horse. Technically her brother (as part of the same Wolf Clan) back among the Indians, Joseph watches out for Willa, occasionally bringing her fresh meat and protecting her land. Joseph converted to following Christ as a boy after being taught by missionary Samuel Kirkland. (Interesting note, Samuel Kirkland was a real Presbyterian minister who lived for many years with the Iroquois tribes. He founded a seminary that admitted Indian boys, and was instrumental in convincing two of the Mohawk tribes to fight with the American revolutionaries.) Joseph longs for Willa to follow him to Niagara, where an Indian settlement is being formed and the Canadians promise land, ministers, and teachers.
I wish I could have more actors on this list that are currently working in Christian film projects, but the unique roles for this book made that challenging. How many actors can you name that look American Indian and were in a recent God-honoring movie? I thought of one young fellow from a movie called Hope Bridge, as well as the lead from Pureflix’s Samson, but neither their age or features seem to fit.
Willa has plenty of challenges ahead for her if she decides to stay on her parents’ land. Childhood friend Richard Waring, warped by the horrors of war, wants to lay claim to her property and is bent on proving her (mysteriously absent) parents were Tories. His aging father, Colonel Elias Waring, is also an imposing–but more sympathetic–figure.
I gave Maddie McCormick a slot as warm, protective Anni Waring for the sole purpose of mentioning another movie she had a bit part in– Unbroken: Path to Redemption. That film was excellent and emotionally moving– it tells the true story of survivor (and all-around amazing) Louis Zamperini, and his incredible road to Christ and healing.
I think I’ll close here, since this post is already so long! There are certainly other roles I could fill from Benton’s novel. Memorable characters, like Francis– a young man with disabilities who is critical to the plot– or orphan siblings Maggie and Matthew. Read the book and let me know what you think of my choices! If you’ve read it already, do you think Kevin Sorbo could play any role that you remember? (Is it really a Christian movie if it doesn’t have either Kevin Sorbo or Kirk Cameron in it??!) Lastly, if you were making this book into a movie, would you change the ending (I didn’t really like it)?
It’s 1861, and eighteen year old Cassie runs away from home to avoid the loathsome marriage her drunkard father has arranged for her against her will. With few options open to her and a fervent desire to hide somewhere her father cannot find her, she joins the Union Army—disguising herself as a man. At first an engrossing and action-packed story, Where Dandelions Bloom by Tara Johnson unfortunately seems to completely lose steam about half-way through, letting loose its grip on the suspense and character development it was building up to that point. Notably, Cassie’s secret identity is discovered by a handsome young photographer, and rather than build slowly on the relationship between the two, the author focuses in on their relationship and the story devolves into near-constant romantic drama. I ultimately lost interest completely around the same time phrases like “It was all he could do not to sweep her up in his arms and cradle her like a wounded kitten” started popping up, which seemed jarring against the raw backdrop of the American Civil War. Somehow I find it hard to believe that in the midst of such a bloody war the main characters would act and think the way Johnson renders them.
It’s 1861, (sound familiar?) and Canadian Sarah Emma Edmonds, who went by Emma, was making a living in the United States. Having run away from her birthplace and her abusive father–who had set up an arranged marriage for her–Emma disguised herself as a man, selling Bibles door-to-door. Moved for the Union cause, Emma managed to enlist under her alias of “Franklin Thompson.” Emma nursed wounded soldiers and buried the dead; later she was assigned the task of regimental mail carrier (which was more dangerous than it sounds, as carriers were prone to being ambushed!). Emma’s true story, unfortunately, has ballooned almost to mythical grounds today because of an at least partly fictionalized “memoir” she wrote called Nurse and Spyin the Union Army. In it, she recounts stories of espionage, such as infiltrating a confederate fort disguised as a black man (having used silver nitrate to blacken her face and skin). That said, a serious study of Civil War intelligence by Edwin Fishel notes that both “Emma’s name and alias are missing from Pinkerton’s [head of the Union Intelligence Service] roster of agents; no information attributed to her is found in the thousand pages of Pinkerton reports in the McClellan Papers.” As a fellow soldier’s diary mentions “Franklin” to have been present in camp during the time frame she claimed to have been serving as a spy, it’s more than dubious that she was ever involved in espionage, but unfortunately her memoir is often taken as gospel to this day, despite being riddled with errors. If you want to read the rest of Fishel’s notes about Emma, or are interested in military intelligence of the Civil War, you might enjoy his book, The Secret War for the Union. Whatever the case may be with regard to Emma’s later adventures, she served for two years before deserting (she insisted that she left for fear of being discovered after she contracted malaria), but returned as herself (in woman’s garb) and continued helping the cause as a nurse for the U.S. Christian Commission. I’ve left out many details, so feel free to google up one of the many articles about Emma’s life–though in my opinion facts drawn from her memoir should be taken with a grain of salt.
Tara Johnson has confirmed that Emma was the inspiration for Where Dandelions Bloom. While I may not care for her twist on the true tale, I’m grateful to her for drawing my attention to Edmonds’ singular and eventful life… it’s certainly a unique piece of the patchwork of American history.
Sorry, too many hours listening to an audio book with a British narrator has made me feel inclined to be a bit more posh on the blog… anyone want a scone? 😉
I’ll keep this post short and sweet; I’ve had an idea for some time to curate and sell a Christian Fiction book subscription. Here’s what I have in mind: each month, I would put together a package (for each subscriber) with either
A. One brand- new Christian Fiction book (not necessarily a recent release, but an unused copy)
B. Two pre-owned Christian Fiction books, in good used condition
One specially chosen additional surprise. This would be something small, along the lines of but not limited to:
a devotional or short Bible study book/ a Bible verse memory card set / Bible highlighters/ a small candle/ a few specialty tea samples / a set of pretty washi tapes / etc
All wrapped up in pretty tissue and ribbons, perhaps. 🙂
I’m hoping to get some feelers out to see if this is something that fellow readers would be interested in; that said, don’t feel you have to commit to anything! However, if this sounds appealing to you, I’d love to hear your comments. With the price of shipping rising, I would need to ask for roughly $20 a month in order to make a profit, and I’m concerned that might be prohibitive for some. Is there anything that would make the subscription more valuable to you? What kind of items would you be interested in seeing? If this isn’t up your alley, could you imagine a friend purchasing a subscription, or gifting one to someone else? What questions would you need answered? Alternatively, would a book-only subscription, (which could be sent media mail and would therefore be less expensive) better suit your fancy? I cherish your thoughts!
Merry Christmas (Eve) everyone! I really should have posted yesterday, but I have a quiet moment now and thought perhaps you might enjoy seeing a rather large pile of books I added to my collection!
Do you have any favorite thrift store memories? I just recently stopped by a local used bookstore that uses their proceeds to do some really great things in our community. Anyways, somebody who lives around here must like Christian Fiction as much as I do because some really fabulous books always seem to find their way (through donation) to the religious section of the store.
I started out with about half this many books at the checkout counter, only to find out all.fiction.in.the.store.is.half.off.
So of course I went back and grabbed some more (I mean, at an average price of $3 a book before discount, whyever not???)
Everything they sell is in wonderful condition, so every cent is worth it. And bonus? My mom bought at least as many more books as a gift for my dad, and guess who’ll probably get to read them all when he’s done? Hooray for book-sharing, haha!
I hope your Christmas festivities are warm, fellow readers, and that you know Christ better this coming year; praise Him for coming, praise Him for all He sacrificed, praise Him for keeping His promises then and the hope we have in trusting Him now.
I’ve been looking for another great audio book to follow All Manner of Things, as well as trying to get to know a new app I downloaded through our library called RBdigital. The app seems to focus primarily on media, so I’ve been excited to see if they have a good selection of Christian fiction audio to listen to. Of course, whenever I look up Christian fiction in nearly any library app, I end up running into a lot of works by Lynn Austin, who is very loved and prolific in the genre.
In what struck me as an almost comic mirror of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, I ended up “tasting” a few chapters of three different Lynn Austin books, and here are the results:
The first book I checked out was Wonderland Creek.
This will be great, I thought to myself. It’s about a book lover who works at a library. I ought to be able to relate. Unfortunately, I found myself immediately disliking the protagonist. While Austin was probably setting the stage for character growth, I think perhaps she made this young woman a little too flawed; Lynn may have been better off revealing some of the redeeming sides of her heroine early on. I feel as if Austin was trying her hand at Austen— Jane Austen– style humor, but it felt absurd rather than clever. I work at a library, and even so, I don’t think I’ve ever met a book lover so obsessed with their hobby that they would read during a funeral service for someone they knew. Like Goldilocks, I quickly decided this one wasn’t for me.
The next book I tried was Candle in the Darkness, book one of the Refiner’s Fire series. Ahhh. This is the Lynn Austin I know and love. From the very first words, this is compelling historical drama. I listened to this for about half an hour, but something was still not quite… satisfying. Perhaps it’s just that I’ve read this series before many years ago; or maybe I’m not in the mood for the heartache and conflict of a full-blown Civil War story. At any rate, I decided to set this aside to “cool down”, so to speak, and I’m sure I’ll come back around to it eventually. Which led me to…
I’d had my eye on All Things New for a while, and I finally gave it a proper try. Mmm, that delicious feeling when you find just what you were craving. Of course, I’m only one chapter in… but so far this is lovely. This is set just after the Civil War, a time period I’m unfamiliar with. Will the main characters ever be able to leave behind their racial prejudice? Will they rebuild their Southern home? Will the former slaves choose to stay on, or will they go start new lives somewhere else?
Have you read any of these three books? Should I give Wonderland Creek a second try? Sometimes a first impression is misleading. And since we’re talking about Goldilocks, what was your favorite childhood fairy tale?
Some of you may already know that I do not receive free books to review from Christian fiction publishers such as Tyndale or Bethany House, but I thought it might be interesting to share with you why that is! Before I get started, let me just mention– in the spirit of kindness–that I’m in no way bashing fellow bloggers who do sign up for freebies. I don’t think it’s morally wrong; it’s just one choice I’ve made in the quest to try to make my blog unique, and my content of the highest quality!
With that out of the way, let me back up and clarify a little. “What’s this?” I hear a few people say, as they scratch their heads in confusion. “Book reviewers can get free books?”
They can! Many publishers will happily send book reviewers free promotional books by mail or digital copies to download. Depending on the publisher, to receive the items you may have to agree to write a review or the novels may have no strings attached whatsoever. Publishers/authors figure you love reading, so the odds are good you will read and post about the item. This helps them get the word out to interested parties, who will go on to purchase their releases.
So why won’t I accept free books from these companies? Here are a few reasons I’ve come up with:
1. It forces me to be more choosy about what I read.
If I have to actually pay for the book, or hunt it down at the library, I tend to do a little research first. I might look it up in Goodreads or on other websites, carefully read the synopsis, look up the author, etc. I feel that this helps me to weed out items that aren’t as likely to truly interest me or be quality content for the blog, and that in turn I hope translates into a higher number of excellent books being shared with you!
2. I never have to worry about being biased. (Or looking like I am.)
I can’t help but feel it could be hard for me, personally, to not be the slightest bit biased towards companies that send me free items. Wouldn’t it be pretty easy to start favoring books from, say, Tyndale, because I feel as if they care about me and give me free books? There are plenty of great bloggers of excellent moral character who don’t have an issue with it, but I love the peaceful simplicity of knowing I have a lot of Tyndale books covered on this blog because I just happen to like a lot of Tyndale books –and there’s no other reason.
3. I don’t have to be concerned about covering a diversity of publishers.
This kind of ties in with the previous reason, but not all publishers have an equal amount of marketing money, and that equates to different levels of promotional products. As it is, I can be pretty fair about buying or getting Christian Fiction from a variety of different publishers, rather than getting lots of books mailed to me from just one or two. I think this gives all the authors and publishers a fair chance, as opposed to relying on free books (which would often be from the larger publishers.) If at any point I buy more often from any particular publisher, it will likely be because of the quality of their products, and I think that’s a worthy reason.
4. It makes me more relatable.
Ultimately, my blog is for all of you, fine friends! And most of you have to get your books the regular, ho-hum ways. If I get my books the way you do– by spending hard earned money, downloading library apps on slow home wifi, or hinting shamelessly to friends and family about favorite authors before my birthday (haha)–hopefully I will connect with you more deeply. In addition, I like to think I’ll be more critical and thoughtful as I read the item than I would be if I invested nothing into it.
But wait… there’s one time I DO accept free books.
It’s only happened once so far, but I was recently contacted about doing an interview with a popular Christian fiction author I have reviewed before on this blog. She is releasing a new book some months from now, and her team sent me a digital copy to look at before the interview (if I wanted to.) Basically, the book isn’t available to the general public yet, so there is no way for me to get my hands on it the normal way… and while I would normally wait for it like everyone else, I think utilizing this gift would help me prepare a better interview with the author. Circumstances such as these, where I need to read the book soon for some reason and yet have no other options open to me at the moment, are the only cases where I plan to deviate from my policy! 🙂
How do you feel about book bloggers getting free books? Are there any good points I missed, or alternatively, downsides to my policy? Thanks for brightening my Monday by stopping by!
Around the book-blogging community I’ve seen something called Dream Casting. Oh, don’t worry– it’s not some sort of pagan bedtime ritual! If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s casting in the sense of choosing someone for an acting role. Basically, you take a novel or other work you would really like to see translated to film, and then pick actors you think would suit the parts. One benefit is that you get to see how other people imagine the characters would be fleshed out (literally) and if you haven’t read the book, you get a snapshot of the dramatis personae (and no, I didn’t know what dramatis personae were either, until I looked the phrase up today!)
I think it would be a lot of fun to try this out on my recently reviewed favorite, Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson. Let’s get started:
Hidden is a dual timeline story, so I think I’ll begin with the WWII era characters. First up: Annika Knopf.
This was probably the easiest casting choice I made; actress Sophie Nelisse suits my vision of an innocent, good-hearted Annika perfectly. She might be just a bit too old now, since she’s 19, whereas Annika is supposed to be around 16, but I think it would be pretty easy to make Nelisse look a little younger.”Aging down” older actresses has certainly happened before. Miss Nelisse was a phenomenal actress in The Book Thief, another WWII story, and has proven she could easily handle the emotional and touching moments in Annika’s life.
Next up, Luzia Weiss!
It was much more difficult for me to find someone I liked for the part of this elegant, musically gifted Jew. Also a tad bit old for the role, I settled on Odeya Rush (who is currently 22.) In truth, Luzia was more of a delicate and young Natalie Portman in my mind… but obviously Natalie Portman is way past playing this character at 38 (maybe she could be Luzia’s emotionally distraught mom?)
Odeya is an Israeli-American actress, and I didn’t even know that until I looked her up recently after remembering her performance in The Giver. Moving along to the male protagonists:
Max Dornbach is the all-around good guy. Faithful, altruistic, and brave (plus he likes animals!), it’s not hard to figure out why Annika is crazy about him. Levi Miller is 17 and I think came across as instantly likable in A Wrinkle in Time last year… so I’d enjoy seeing if he is up to the task of portraying a more mature role and a wider range of emotions as Max. Max is described as having hazel eyes, but I don’t think that’s especially critical to his character.
Lastly, rounding out the menfolk, is Hermann.
Hermann Stadler is the quietly noble and “ordinary” handyman. Eventually he ends up the groundskeeper of Schloss Schwansee, the lakeside castle setting of most of the story. I took a lot of liberties choosing Tom Holland for this part, and truthfully I would still be open to other ideas. After all, Tom is not blonde (dye work?), tall, or stocky. That said, I think he has a very relatable, kind, and humble appearance, and that’s what I really wanted for Hermann. I actually haven’t seen Holland’s Spider-Man movies, but I’m sure he’d draw lots of obsessive fan-girls to the theater, so that’s great, right?! (haha) Of course, my first pick wasn’t really an option:
Wow, this post is getting long! Zipping forward to modern day–>
Callie Randall is a 30 year old children’s book lover who owns and runs the Magic Balloon Bookshop with her sister. There’s a sense of sadness about her, but the stripey socks she wears to read to the neighborhood kids suggests to me that she has a slightly quirky side too. Callie isn’t particularly fond of traveling, and seems fairly content spending her free time with her nephews and the rest of her family. I can’t say I’ve seen Saoirse Ronan in anything other than City of Ember, but she seems quite talented, and she’s since been nominated for three academy awards.
Lastly, for Professor Josh Nemeth, I chose another Josh– Josh Dallas.
Of course, I could have just gone with Ryan Gosling, but I’ve never been a fan… sorry. Josh Dallas did a fine job as a father and true love in Once Upon a Time, and he looks very professor-y in glasses (so there, Ryan!)
Well, what do you think of my choices? If you haven’t read the book, does this dream cast make you want to? Which character/actor choices surprise you the most? Would you watch the movie? Thanks for visiting the blog and hope you had a little fun with me today!
Hello book friends! You haven’t seen me in a while! I’m not going to apologize, because these last weeks have been full, happy, lovely ones for me with family—a birthday party, time with my nieces, a rabbit show (really!), ordering pizza, encouraging sermons from my Pastor, joyful choir practices, and sitting on the front step listening to light rainfall. Of course there were a few down moments in there too—sore throats and such—but overall I am just full to the brim with all the restful, joyful feelings of spring and new growth right now. I hope you are too, and ultimately whether you are going through rough times or good, “…may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 5:13)
I’ve just finished the book Black by Ted Dekker: the story of a man who is torn between two equally compelling realities. Thomas Hunter—the protagonist– wakes up in one world whenever he falls asleep in the other, and to quote the back cover, “…in both, catastrophic disaster awaits him….may even be caused by him.” My feelings about this novel are almost as starkly mixed as Hunter’s dual lives. I found myself on a teeter totter of excitement/love versus frustration/dislike as I worked my way through it.
I really enjoyed the sheer creativity of Dekker in Black. The entire concept is new and fresh… and interested me right away. Which of Hunter’s “dreams” is the “real” world? One is decidedly modern and realistic, the other is a sort of fantasy/allegorical land filled with strange creatures and characters. Dekker didn’t hold anything back when he created this other world, as every description is full of color and imagination. There’s almost a touch of the quirkiness of Alice’s Wonderland, but with much more meaning, thought, and truth behind every element.
Conversely, there were times when I felt the storyline was bogged down with repetitive or excessive writing. Occasionally imaginative steered into ridiculous or distracting, and many of the supporting characters felt wooden. I came across someone else’s thoughts on Black (I’m not sure where) and the reviewer said they wished that Dekker had written the book later in his career when he had more writing experience under his belt– and I tend to agree. I think that the book has a lot of promise but needed additional editing and polishing.
I plan on reading the next book in the series, Red, and reserving judgment until then. If Black was just the rocky start of setting the scene for all the shining potential of the premise, then I may yet end up with a favorite series in my hands. 🙂 Cross your fingers for me!
This week I want to have a little fun (who am I kidding, I’m always having fun!) and match up titles I’ve read with various teas I adore. You’ll get to know me a little as I pair up blends with books! This is easier done than explained, so let’s get started…
Constant Comment— A well-known and popular flavor.
I think most if not all Christian fiction readers know Lynn Austin! I’m going to particularly mention her Refiner’s Fire series because I think it was one of the first Christian fiction series I was introduced to. It was so long ago that my mom actually marked pages I should skip because she wisely felt some passages of the Civil War story were too intense/mature for me at that age. Even so, some of the happy moments from the books are still with me, particularly heartwarming scenes between two sisters.
Raspberry iced tea—an easy, sweet read
Love’s Long Journey, by Janette Oke. I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge Janette Oke fan, but there were a few here and there that remind me of iced tea. Pleasant and refreshing, this one is probably my favorite. 🙂
Earl grey—a classic I love
I don’t know if An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott constitutes a classic, but Little Women does—so I’m going to list them both. I love Little Women because I see a little of myself in each of the four sisters; I love An Old-Fashioned Girl because I see someone I would like to be more like in Polly. And of course the romances are beautifully crafted.
London Fog—a recent discovery I think will become a lasting favorite
I’m in the middle of Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke and I have a really good feeling about it. I think she may end up a favorite author; Secrets She Kept and Band of Sisters both look promising.
Blueberry Herbal—something I’ve been wanting to try but never seem to get around to
Maybe the Circle series by Ted Dekker. The series is so well-known I feel as if there’s probably very little I could say about it that hasn’t been said already, so I’m hesitant. I’d still like to see if I enjoy it… and I’d kind of like to get into a good series.
Hot Chocolate—something I loved as a child but haven’t read in a long time
A little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett… someone just reminded me of this book recently, and I remembered how I must have read it three times at least. I also loved The Secret Garden; when I was little, after finishing it, I went out and found myself a nook near the woods and would try to grow and tend my own secret hideaway! Many a sapling birch died after being “transplanted”, haha. It started my love of perennial flowers which continues until now. We just pulled a very worn but beautiful copy of the book for replacement at the library and I called first dibs on it if it happens to go to our book sale. Here’s hoping it will be mine soon!