I've finished the above two books. I enjoyed both although they're quite different. I'm wondering if Mr. Smith's books are all as delightful as his #1 Ladies Detective book. I love the narrative voice.
Elizabeth Goudge is in a league nearly by herself. I'd like to print a passage from late in The Scent of Water that will give you a feel of her smooth, comfortable, elegant style:
"She went to bed early and lit the oil stove she had purchased with the fist cold weather. She thought she would keep it alight in this her first snow, especially as Tiger had favored her with his company. When she was in bed with her lamp out, and the little cat asleep on her eiderdown, its glow gave her a cozy feeling of nursery comfort and warmth. The flame had a murmuring voice but no louder than the ticking of her watch, and neither voice could so much as finger the garment of the silence. She did not at once sleep deeply yet she was not aware of weariness. She dozed and woke again and saw the light shining on John's photo and on her six snowdrops in a vase beside it, and smiled and slept once more."
The book is full of delight, sorrow, growth, and love. It has a fascinating old house inherited by a woman trying to find her way in life. Don't you love that line above: "The flame had a murmuring voice but no louder than the ticking of her watch, and neither voice could so much as finger the garment of the silence." Who could imagine silence as a garment, and little sounds in a room as fingering the edges of that garment?
Now I'm beginning this fun book. Her first-person style is matter-of-fact, lively, direct, quick. It's a traveling book from the early 1920s.
The opening flyleaf has a large map, so I can follow along as she drives her car around France, over 4000 miles.
In the first few pages she describes attempting to legalize her car in France after its been shipped over. She asks the crane operator to pause so she can take a picture. He does ... and then we get to see the photo she took:
The book is full of photographs. She traveled, a woman, with only a maid/companion. I think she'll be delightful as a tour guide through France when the roads were made of stone.
And now ... some very good news. I have a dear friend from years ago who, unhappy at my treatment at the hands of the TSA, sent me some of that delicious Teavana tea!!
What a thoughtful thing to do! And she inquired about the specific type of tea, so she sent just the right thing.
Many dear friends were alarmed at my (not atypical) experience, but it is a special person who then seeks to alleviate the awful effects of the fall in our world, and reverse the offense with joy.
Then! Another dear friend (who wanted to surprise me, but then gave it away), also sent me the tea too -- look at how gorgeous it is. You can see the cardamom pods:
Adam and I would love to attempt to replicate this tea someday, from our tea-garden-to-be, if possible.
This friend also sent me a pretty tin to keep the tea in, and I've been enjoying it in my green cup and saucer. I found a cookie tin at the thrift store this week to keep my biscoff and windmill cookies in:
(Windmill cookies always remind me of Jean Belz at Cono -- for all you old Cono/Iowa friends.)
And one last thing -- Granny Marigold and any other bloggers who want to be sure NOT to be a "no-reply" commenter, here is a link that may be helpful:
Carol sent me this link. I checked my own status, just to be sure. Gretchen has said before that it's not really hard to email a reply to a "no-reply" commenter ... but ONLY IF I already have her email address in my system. So for Gretchen, if I want to email a reply to her, I simply delete the "no-reply commenter" email address, and replace it with hers. But Granny M., I've never had an email address for you, so I can't do that either. Today, I noticed Melissa's email actually disappeared straight out of my inbox! It was there, and then when I clicked over to it, it was GONE. I could still see it on blogger, and publish it, but I don't know what's going on with Gmail. Grrr. Someday we will figure it all out!