Jennifer Lamont Leo

A Sparkling Vintage Life

On Laura Ingalls Wilder, “presentism,” the Victorians, and other random stabs to the heart

There’s something happening here.
What it is ain’t exactly clear.*

I’m not in the habit of quoting protest songs from the 1960s. In fact, I’m less than enamored with the Sixties, as a rule, my birth during that volatile decade notwithstanding. However … and with deepest apologies to Buffalo Springfield … those are the words that keep springing to my mind recently.

Some sort of shift is taking place, deep inside my core. I feel unsettled and restless, drawn to something I can’t yet name. This sensation could be the result of too much caffeine, or of eating dinner too late at night, or of ingesting seafood that’s gone a bit “off.”

But I don’t think so.

A couple of recent events gave rise to this feeling (I’m making every effort to avoid using the tired, baggage-laden word “triggered.” It’s worn out its welcome.)

The first event was a gut-punch to my midsection when I of the Association of Library Service to Children (a division of the American Library Association)’s decision to remove Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from a prestigious children’s book award. According to the ALSC website, “Wilder’s legacy, as represented by her body of work, includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness.” So, some eighty years after her books were published and sixty years after her death, Laura Ingalls Wilder is to be booted out of the pantheon of American literature for not being up-to-date.

I’d barely had time to process my deep feels of regret over this disappointment when a second incident occurred. A lazy Saturday-morning browse of my local (if an hour away can be called local) Barnes & Noble produced a book that promised a cheeky look back at Victorian manners and morals. Expecting to be both enlightened and amused, I scanned a few pages and thrust it back on the shelf. It wasn’t a book most readers of this blog would enjoy. Instead of offering the reader an interesting trip in the Wayback Machine, it was a snarky, mocking, and thoroughly unfunny skewering of Victorian viewpoints concerning femininity, gender relations, and a host of other topics. What could have been a delightful, charming book, both amusing and informative, failed to do either as it vented its vindictive, mean-spirited spleen against the ideals of an earlier generation.

Now, clearly, I’ve rejected books before. Plenty of them. I’ve placed thousands of them back on the shelf or deleted them from my Amazon cart with regularity and not given them another thought. So why is this particular book still pricking at my mind days later? Because I think these seemingly insignificant events, both of them, are symptoms of a deeper problem.

Have you heard the term “presentism”? I hadn’t either, until quite recently. When I first heard it I was tempted to roll my eyes at yet another “ism” to supposedly confront and contend with. But this one actually clicks with me. According to dictionary.com, presentism is “uncritical adherence to present-day attitudes, especially the tendency to interpret past events in terms of modern values and concepts.” In other words,  it means judging people of the past by the standards of today. It’s painting Laura Ingalls Wilder or Mark Twain or Agatha Christie or a host of other authors with the damning stripe of “racist” or “sexist” or “classist,” when their writings merely reflecting commonly held viewpoints and thought-patterns typical of their place and time in history. It means skewering authors of the past (among other people–name your historical hero and I bet there’s some lode of non-PC something-or-other in his or her life, waiting to be unearthed) for not being feminist enough or environmentally-friendly enough or fill-in-the-blank enough to suit their very specific 21st-century standards.

This is what makes me angry: the wholesale slandering of historical figures based on 21st-century standards. Makes me angry enough to … what? That’s the part I haven’t figured out yet. Angry enough to write a blog post: done. But then what? Does Laura Ingalls Wilder need my help? Do the Victorians? I think not.

And yet.

The name of this blog (in case you didn’t know, which you probably didn’t because I’m neglectful at pointing it out)  is A Sparkling Vintage Life. Its mission is to celebrate the best of the past, to enjoy historical fiction and nonfiction, and to incorporate vintage touches into a modern life. To uphold wholesome, healthy, and God-honoring values. “The best of the past” does not mean approving of racism, sexism, and other “isms” so offensive to modern sensibilities. But neither does it mean throwing out the proverbial baby with the bathwater. It means taking what works and leaving the rest. Being a generous enough human to respect fellow humans who went before us for what they did well, and extending grace to (and learning from) those things we no longer accept or condone in this generation.

Laura Ingalls Wilder deserves to be admired as a writer whose stories have been beloved by generations. There are ways to point out what modern eyes see as her failings, without trashing her entire reputation.

The ways of the Victorians deserve to be respected, studied, and learned from, not mocked and ridiculed. Yes, they had their oddball quirks, to be sure, and it’s fine and good to point out where we disagree, to see how far we’ve come as a society in certain respects. But there are things we can learn from them, too. Things that are worth preserving,worth bringing back. It’s arrogant and prideful to think our society is so much “better” than theirs. And anyone who thinks our generation doesn’t have just as many oddball quirks, if not more, is simply delusional.

Oh, dear. I believe I’ve gone off on a  ramble. If you’ve read this far, thank you for your patience. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with these feelings churning about in my psyche. I just know that the past must not be painted over with politically correct Day-Glo. There are things worth saving, conserving, preserving, bringing back.

What can I do about it? Maybe nothing. Or maybe something. What it is ain’t exactly clear. Stay tuned.

And thank you for living out your own  juicy, generous, and joy-filled Sparkling Vintage Life.

 

*For What It Is Worth lyrics written by Stephen Stills, © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Returning to bliss: Confessions of a VICTORIA fangirl

Source: Hoffman Media

It will probably come as a surprise to exactly zero readers of this blog that I’m a huge fan of Victoria magazine, that venerable grande dame of gracious living. I keep back issues organized by season and flip through them whenever I need some inspiration or a little pick-me-up.

I was perusing the Victoria blog recently (The Ribbon in My Journal) and was thunderstruck to stumble across my own name, on a comment I posted in 2014. The question was something like “why do you like to read Victoria,” and I was tickled to realize I still agree with every word I wrote some four years ago. Here’s what I wrote:

“I always appreciate seeing examples of ways to incorporate vintage-style clothing, etc., into modern life without appearing too “costume-y.” Love reading about other kindred spirits who appreciate the best of the past and suspect that sometimes we’ve thrown out the baby with the bathwater when it comes to modernization–who don’t roll their eyes and say, “Yeah, but cholera! But no air-conditioning!” when I wax nostalgic about the past.”

But that wasn’t enough laud and honor, lol. I gushingly continued:

“I’ve been enjoying a book called Let’s Bring Back by Lesley M. M. Blume that talks about things we’ve lost and sometimes miss, such as hats on gentlemen and “powder rooms” and steamer trunks. Then when I pick up Victoria and see a way to use, say, a steamer trunk in my home, maybe not for its original purpose but in some other way, I feel like I can honor the past and keep bits of it always with me. I look forward to Victoria as a refreshing respite from the harshness of modern life, but I REALLY love it when I get an inspiration for grace notes to add to my life in a practical way. I don’t have to just shut the magazine with a sigh and a wistful “Wouldn’t it be nice…” but can actually incorporate elements of a more gracious time into my everyday life. Thank you!”

If you enjoy old-fashioned things and ways of living the way I do, give Victoria a try.

(FYI I’m not connected to the magazine or company in any way, financially or otherwise; just an avid fan.)

Some new “hammock-ready” books for summer

July 2018 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

 


Contemporary Romance:

A Widow’s Hope by Vannetta Chapman — After tragedy claimed her husband’s life and her son’s ability to walk, Hannah King doesn’t want a new man. She has her family, a home and mounting debts. Scarred Amish bachelor Jacob Schrock offers Hannah the job she desperately needs. But while Hannah helps Jacob resolve his accounting issues, can she and her little boy also heal his wounded heart? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Firestorm by Laura V. Hilton — Bridget Behr can’t shake the guilt that it was her fault her family moved—and is too afraid to trust anyone, especially the flirtatious, overly-friendly Amish man who lives next door. Just as Bridget is finally settling into friendship, a new life, and maybe even love, a devastating forest fire ravages the county, destroying both land and the Behrs’ dreams. Now Bridget and her family must decide: will they leave behind the ashes and start anew in another Amish community? Or will they dare to fight for the future they’d hoped for in Mackinac County? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)


General Contemporary:

Ride to the Altar by Linda W. Yezak — Cattle are dying on the Circle Bar, putting the Texas ranch in financial jeopardy. Newly engaged Patricia Talbert and Talon Carlson must root out the cause before they can concentrate on wedding plans—which involves Patricia’s traveling to New York to patch things up with her domineering mother. While she is away, Talon discovers that the attacks on the ranch are connected to the murder of his first fiancée over eight years ago. Before they can move forward together, each have to resolve the past. Will they be able to start their new life with a clean slate? (General Contemporary from Canopy Books of Texas)


General Historical:

My Heart Belongs in Galveston, Texas by Kathleen Y’Barbo — Dodging bullets takes a simple missing person case to a new level as Jonah Cahill, a Pinkerton agent, and Madeline Latour, an investigative reporter, form a tentative truce in Galveston, Texas, 1880. Are they on to a much bigger story when their best witness is suddenly kidnapped? (General Historical from Barbour Publishing)


Historical Mystery:

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright — Two women, separated by a hundred years, must uncover the secrets within the borders of their own town before it’s too late and they lose their future–or their very souls. (Historical Mystery from Bethany House [Baker])


Historical Romance:

This Freedom Journey by Misty M. Beller — Adrien Lockman left France to finally live life on his own terms, but when he discovers a half-starved and half-frozen woman in the treacherous Canadian mountains, the truth soon becomes clear—the only way they’ll survive is together. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

The Widow’s Plight by Mary Davis — After moving to a new town and joining a quilting circle, a single mother steps out of the shadows of abuse and into the sunshine. But will a secret clouding her past cost her the man she loves? (Historical Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart — Orphaned during an early 19th century cholera epidemic and helped by a slave to find a new home, Adria Starr must now stand up for his freedom—and maybe find her own in the process. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano — A young heiress is suddenly the poorest wealthy woman in all of England when her father dies without telling anyone where he put his money. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])


Mystery:

Shifting Sands by Elizabeth Ludwig — A mysterious key hidden in the depths of an ancient lighthouse unlocks family secrets hidden for generations. (Cozy Mystery from Guideposts Publications)

Guarded Prognosis by Richard L. Mabry — At first Dr. Caden Taggart feared for his freedom, then for his ability to cope, and eventually he feared for his life. (Medical Mystery, Independently Published)


Romantic Suspense:

Darkwater Secrets by Robin Caroll — When Adelaide Fountaine, the general manager of a hotel in New Orleans, finds the body of a guest who was stabbed with a kitchen knife, her childhood friend Detective Beau Savoie is shocked to discover a connection between his friend–the woman he’s quietly loved for years—and the murdered guest. But Beau can’t press Adelaide too hard . . . because he’s keeping secrets of his own. Can Adelaide and Beau afford to hide from the truth with a killer on the loose? (Romantic Suspense from Gilead Publishing)

Camp Hope by Sara L. Foust — Facing dehydration, starvation, and a convoluted kidnapper, will Amy succeed in recovering her precious foster daughter or get lost in a vast wilderness forever? (Romantic Suspense from Mantle Rock Publishing)

Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey — Seven years ago, operative Luke Gallagher vanished to join an elite team of terrorist hunters. Private investigator Kate Maxwell never stopped loving or looking for Luke after he disappeared. But she also never imagined he left her or his life by choice. Now he’s back, asking her help to stop America’s newest terrorist threat—an attack that would shake the country to its core. Together they must navigate secrets, lies, and betrayal, all while on the brink of a biological disaster. Will they and their love survive, or will Luke and Kate become the terrorist’s next mark? (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])


Young Adult:

Launch by Jason C. Joyner — Teens with special abilities are invited to an exclusive conference where tech billionaire Simon Mazor is looking for those who can help him influence the world. (Young Adult from Little Lamb Books)

What is style?


Style is not applying make-up in public, indulging in a passion for ornament, or rushing out to purchase the latest design in a fashion product. Nor is style the ignoring of social conventions, such as going without a hat or gloves on city streets or other places good taste indicates they should be worn. Style is not wearing slacks or shorts, or head scarves, or going without hose on these same city streets. Style is not wearing our evening finery during working hours. Style is not wearing hair curlers and unattractive garments among family members so that one can be a ravishing beauty for strangers.” (Grace Margaret Morton, The Arts of Costume and Personal Appearance, 1943)

Some days I think thank goodness those days are over. Who wants to feel they have to wear hose to be decently dressed? Other days I think how far we have fallen. It will come as no surprise to readers of A Sparkling VIntage Life that much of modern life grates on my last nerve. I think tight yoga pants worn outside of the yoga studio without something draped over top are pretty much an abomination on most human shapes. Maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to vintage-style clothing and attitudes. And yet, my own wardrobe too often contains the drab, the unflattering, and the shabby, because I’m “too busy” to think about clothes or “too comfortable” to rouse myself to put on something with a proper zipper.

What are we saying out ourselves as a society when we not only give our own selves a pass on slovenliness, but admire it in others as some sort of virtue signaling?

I don’t have the answer. Just a question that’s been banging around in my head recently. Feel free to weigh in.

Join us for THE BLUE CASTLE by Lucy Maud Montgomery

In June the Facebook group The Sparkling Vintage Ladies’ Reading Circle is reading and discussing The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery. Less well known than her Anne of Green Gables series, The Blue Castle is no less a delight. Set in fictional Deerwood, Ontario (modeled after Bala, Ontario) it’s one of the few books Montgomery set outside of Prince Edward Island, and also one of the few she wrote for adults.

If you’re a lady who enjoys fiction written and/or set in the early 20th century, The Sparkling Vintage Ladies’ Reading Circle may be exactly your cup of raspberry cordial! Do stop in for a visit.

And the winner is …

… Brooke Bumgardner! Yea, Brooke! I’ll be contacting you privately to get your mailing address.

Thanks to everyone for entering the “Time in a Bottle” giveaway and for leaving such nice comments. You’ve confirmed my suspicions that my readers are a kind and generous bunch. 😉 I’ll definitely do this giveaway again, since it seems to be a popular one!

Jennifer

 

A very special giveaway for my very special readers: 1920 Fragrance from Besame Cosmetics

And the winner is … {drumroll}…Brooke Bumgardner! Yea, Brooke! I’ll be contacting you privately to get your mailing address.  Thanks to everyone for entering and for leaving such nice comments. I’ll definitely do this giveaway again, since it seems to be a popular one! jll

Who says you can’t put time in a bottle? Catch a whiff of the Roaring Twenties. Read on to learn how.

Jennifer Lamont Leo’s Reader Community recently passed the 2000-subscriber mark! To celebrate, I’ll be giving away a half-ounce bottle of 1920 Fragrance from Besame Cosmetics.

1920 is part of Besame’s brilliant Decades of Fragrance Collection which also features 1910, 1930, 1940, 1950, and 1960.  The company describes the collection as “an olfactory picture of a decade of time, using familiar ingredients from each period to create an impression in your mind of a time gone by. Each perfume extract is meticulously crafted from precious essential oils and natural alcohol.”

Specifically, 1920 contains top notes of mandarin, juniper berry, and galbanum; heart notes of jasmine, violet, muguet, and suede; and base notes of cocoa, myrrh, amber, and musk, all packaged in a beautiful glass vial with rollerball applicator.

This giveaway is open only to subscribers of my Reader Community. If you’re not subscribed already, you can do so over on the right. Then come back here and leave a comment about why you’d like to win a bottle of 1920. One winner will be drawn at random on Mothers Day, May 13, 2018, from among subscribers who leave a comment (to make sure it goes to someone who truly wants it).

I’m sorry to say that, due to international shipping regulations, this giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Jennifer

Marvelous new books for May

May 2018 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

 


Children’s:

Feebs to the Rescue by Kathy J Perry — Feebs the kitten is new to the farm. She’s a long way from the farmhouse and doesn’t know her way home in the dark. Her new friend, Ollie the dog, needs help. Can she find the courage to lead a night rescue? (Children’s from Chickadee Words, LLC)

Nibbler and Captain Make Peace by Kathy J Perry — Nibbler the beaver works hard to keep his lodge and dam perfectly patched. A river otter knocks a hole in his great work. Now he’s so angry, he could almost spit nails. Can he learn how to handle his anger? (Children’s from Chickadee Words, LLC)

Rascal’s Trip by Kathy J Perry — Rascal the raccoon is sorry he ignored the warning signs He’s surprised by a whirlwind and he’s taken for the ride of his life. Now it’s up to the Bandana Buddies to help him learn the importance of thinking ahead. Can he stay out of trouble long enough to get back home? (Children’s from Chickadee Words, LLC)


Contemporary Romance:

Solo Tu: Only You by Narelle Atkins — Can two high-school teachers, a girl from Tuscany and a boy from Australia, risk everything for love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck — Can two high-school teachers, a girl from Tuscany and a boy from Australia, risk everything for love? (Contemporary Romance, Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Hometown Reunion by Lisa Carter — Widowed former Green Beret Jaxon Pruitt comes home to face his toughest battle: reconnecting with his toddler son. He also makes an unwitting enemy of childhood friend Darcy Parks when he takes over the kayak shop Darcy hoped to buy! For little Brody’s sake, she’ll stay until summer’s end. But could a growing connection turn their temporary truce into an unexpected forever? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Room on the Porch Swing by Amy Clipston — When her best friend Savilla dies, Laura steps in to help Allen raise his infant daughter. She soon finds herself coping with the jealousy of her boyfriend Rudy, and her own growing attraction to Allen. Have Laura and Allen been brought together to console and support one another…or is there an even deeper purpose they must fulfill? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Cowboys of Summer by Mary Connealy, Tina Radcliffe, Lorna Seilstad, Sherri Shackelford, Cheryl St. John, and Missy Tippens — Six of Christian fiction’s most beloved authors join forces to bring you a collection of humorous, romantic and heartfelt novellas set against the sultry heat of summer. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Bella Notte by Heather Gray — As a photographer who works primarily with fashion, Piero Carter is used to having his pick of beautiful women who want to be seen by his side. Felicity von Wolff is a makeup artist whose job takes her around the world. That’s all the adventure she craves. She has little use for Piero the Playboy. But when Felicity peeks over the wall she’s built to protect herself, she discovers there’s more to the people around her than she ever realized. What will it take for Piero and Felicity to stop hiding from life and open their eyes to the rich beauty God has in store for them? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter — Regardless of what any blood test says, Brady Collins will go to any lengths to keep his son. Even pretend his friend Hope is his fiancée. Local radio celebrity Hope Daniels has finally been offered her dream job. But if the truth comes out about her arrangement with Brady, she may miss the chance of a lifetime and stand in the way of a dear friend’s dreams. As Brady and Hope make sacrifices to help each other in their times of need, they risk uncovering a truth neither of them expects to find. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Finding Love on Bainbridge Island Washington by Annette M. Irby — A “broken” therapist with PTSD finds a fresh start at her family’s beach cabin, but when her parents hire her ex-boyfriend to finalize repairs on the place, they’re forced back into close proximity. He’s falling for her again. But can anything heal the past? (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

And Cowboy Makes Three by Deb Kastner — Coming home with a baby and no wedding ring was just what everyone in Cowboy Country expected from bad girl Angelica Carmichael. But she’ll brave their scorn to fulfill Granny Frances’s dying wishes, even if it means ranching with Rowdy Masterson…her jilted ex-groom. Rowdy’s still bitter but this new, softer Angelica—paired with a precious baby—might be too lovable to resist! (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Falling for You by Becky Wade — A thoughtful rule-follower by nature, Willow threw caution to the wind four years ago when she entrusted her heart to Corbin — then suffered the consequences when their relationship fell apart. Now that a decades-old mystery has brought them together again, they’ll have to confront their past and the feelings they still harbor for one another. (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker])


General Contemporary/Women’s Fiction:

Long Way Home by Brenda S. Anderson — Stuck on a six-day road trip with the man who once bullied her, can Lauren Bauman learn that love keeps no record of wrongs? (General Contemporary, Independently Published {ACFW QIP Author})

The Hidden Side by Heidi Chiavaroli — The Hidden Side is about a family that is torn apart by the unspeakable actions of one of its members and how a woman from the past helps them to heal. (General Contemporary from Tyndale House)

Things I Never Told You by Beth K. Vogt — It’s been ten years since Payton Thatcher’s twin sister died in an accident, leaving the entire family to cope in whatever ways they could. No longer half of a pair, Payton reinvents herself as a partner in a successful party-planning business and is doing just fine—until her middle sister Jillian’s engagement pulls the family back together to plan the festivities. As old wounds are reopened and the family faces the possibility of another tragedy, the Thatchers must decide if they will pull together or be driven further apart. (Contemporary Women’s Fiction from Tyndale House)

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West — Savannah Barrington has always found solace at her parents’ lake house in the Berkshires, and it’s the place that she runs to when her husband of over twenty years leaves her. Though her world is shaken, and the future uncertain, she finds hope through an old woman’s wisdom, a little girl’s laughter, and a man who’s willing to risk his own heart to prove to Savannah that she is worthy of love.
But soon, Savannah is given a challenge that she can’t run away from. Forgiving the unforgiveable. Amidst the ancient gardens and musty bookstores of the small town she’s sought refuge in, she must reconcile with the grief that haunts her, the God pursuing her, and the wounds of the past that might be healed after all. (General Contemporary from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)


General Historical:


Faithful by Carol Ashby — When a foolish choice lands one man in a fight for his life, unlikely friendships are born, love blossoms, and broken relationships are restored as his best friend’s faith and courage guide the quest to rescue him. (General Historical from Cerrillo Press)


Historical Romance:

All for Love by Mary Connealy, Kristi Ann Hunter, and Jen Turano — Three of Christian historical fiction’s beloved authors come together in this romantic and humorous collection of novellas featuring prequels to their latest series. Mary Connealy’s “The Boden Birthright” journeys to the Old West, where ranch hand Chance Boden’s determination to be his own boss is challenged by his employer’s pretty daughter. Kristi Ann Hunter’s “A Lady of Esteem” follows a Regency-era young lady whose chance at love and reputation in society are threatened by a nasty rumor. Jen Turano’s “At Your Request” tells of a young woman who is humbled at her newly lowered status in society when she is reunited with the very man whose proposal she rejected. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

The Perfect Bride by Debbie Lynne Costello — Avice Touchet has always dreamed of marrying for love and that love would be her best friend, Philip Greslet. She’s waited five years for him to see her as the woman she’s become but when a visiting lord arrives with secrets that could put her father in prison, Avice must consider a sacrificial marriage. Philip Greslet has worked his whole life for one thing—to be a castellan—and now it is finally in his grasp. But when Avice rebuffs his new lord’s attentions, Philip must convince his best friend to marry the lord against his heart’s inclination to have her as his own. (Historical Romance from Forget Me Not Romances)

Backcountry Brides Collection by Angela Couch, Debra E. Marvin, Shannon McNear, Gabrielle Meyer, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Jennifer Hudson Taylor, and Pegg Thomas — Travel into Colonial America where eight women seek love, but they each know a future husband requires the necessary skills to survive in the backcountry. Living in areas exposed to nature’s ferocity, prone to Indian attack, and cut off from regular supplies, can hearts overcome the dangers to find lasting love? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Rebecca’s Song by Dawn Kinzer — A small-town teacher who lost hope of having her own family, and a big-city railroad detective driven to capture his sister’s killer, must do what’s best for three young orphans who need them both. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Love’s Silver Lining by Julie Lessman — A soft-hearted suffragist incurs the wrath of a bull-headed bachelor when she reforms his favorite girl at the Ponderosa Saloon. (Historical Romance (Western), Independently Published)

Redeeming Light by Annette O’Hare — While Sarah weathers the deadly storm inside the lighthouse, her prayers are for Frederick, caught in the midst of the tempest. (Historical Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

To Claim Her Heart by Jodie Wolfe — Elmer Smith didn’t need a man when she competed in the Cherokee Strip Land Run and she sure as shootin’ doesn’t need one to keep her land either. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)


Romantic Suspense:

No Safe Place by H. L. Wegley — A young man returning from the far country trying to regain his honor, and a young woman with a heart broken by her parents’ rejection because of her newfound faith, each have what the other needs, but will the assassin who put them on his hit list allow them enough time to discover what they have in each other? (Romantic Suspense from Trinity Press International)


Speculative:

No Less Days by Amanda G. Stevens — As far as David Galloway knows, he can’t die. He wonders where he fits in the world, in God’s plan for the past and the future. He believes himself to be the only person on earth who hasn’t aged in over a century. He’s wrong about that. (Speculative from Barbour Publishing)


Young Adult:

Porch Swing Girl by Taylor Bennett — Left at her grandma’s house in Hawaii after a family tragedy, sixteen-year-old Olive Galloway is desperate to fly home to Boston and stop her father before he does anything drastic. (Young Adult from Mountain Brook Ink)

Z is for Zephyr

By Publisher: Lyman Cox-Photograph: Western Pacific Railroad. – eBay itemcard frontcard backeBay itemcard front, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18202438

In casting about for a good Z-word, I landed on “zephyr,” which means “a gentle breeze from the west” or “any of various lightweight fabrics and articles of clothing.” It comes from the Greek god Zephyrus, god of the west wind.I thought that second definition was especially appealing; I’d never heard of “zephyr” in relation to clothing. In my research I found little information about the clothing-type zephyr, but I did chance upon the California Zephyr, and that will suit just dandy as we close out the AtoZ Challenge for this month.

The California Zephyr had its origins in 1939 with a train called the Exposition Flyer, which carried passengers to the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco. At first the Flyer was meant to be temporary, but it proved so popular that it was kept in operation. In 1949 it was updated and given the name California Zephyr. The hostesses were called “Zephyrettes.” A joint project of the CB&Q, Denver and Rio Grande Western, and Western Pacific Railroads, the California Zephyr ran from Chicago to Denver to Salt Lake City to Oakland. It ceased operations for a time in 1970. Today’s California Zephyr, run by Amtrak, follows largely the same route as the original east to Salt Lake City.

Here’s a delightful travelogue of the luxurious California Zephyr. in the 1950s.

Y is for Yardley

One of the oldest soap, toiletries, and cosmetics companies in the world is Yardley of London. Established in 1770 by the Cleaver family, and named for a William Yardley who purchased the company in 1823, Yardley was a major producer of soaps, perfumes, powders, and hair pomades throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The company’s signature scent, English Lavender, was launched in 1873. The company supplied toiletries to several British monarchs. In the Swinging Sixties, Yardley got a big boost in the American markets with the so-called “British Invasion” which revered all things Brit, including music by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, Carnaby Street fashions, and the model Twiggy, who became the “face” of Yardley. Today Yardley is owned by Wipro of India. (Source: Wikipedia)

Newsletter

Twitter!

Facebook!

Amazon