Sunday, September 16, 2018

When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica (Book Review)

Title: When the Lights Go Out
Author: Mary Kubica
Publication: Park Row Books, Hardcover, September 2018
Genre: Suspense
Plot: Two parallel stories: Eden, a carefree newlywed, becomes so obsessed with having a child that it threatens to destroy her marriage, and Jessie, a young woman who has just buried her dearly beloved mother and has not been able to sleep since that terrible day. As if being without family or friends isn’t bad enough, when Jessie submits a college application, she is told her social security number belongs to someone else and is plunged into a mystery about her own identity. Is there anyone she can turn to? Is everything her mother told her a lie?

Audience: Fans of psychological suspense; author such as Megan Abbott, Laura Lippman, Tana French

Purchase Links: Barnes & Noble * IndieBound * Amazon

My Impressions: It is hard to articulate my thoughts about this emotional thriller without revealing the controversial twist at the end. Jessie is a sympathetic character, devoted to her mother and suffering from such intense insomnia that the reader can feel every exhausted grasp for coherent thought. In addition to the mystery about her identity, Jessie is unnerved by the carriage house she has just moved into, from which she hears strange voices and sees lights in the attic next door at midnight. I was reminded of Elizabeth is Missing in which a character with memory issues is worried about her missing friend.

This is a very readable story that will keep you up late; however, I am not really a fan of unreliable narrator stories and in When the Lights Go Out there are two, although the truth is revealed in time. My caveats: Eden’s self-destructive obsession got tiresome and the plot twist at the end was annoying (not least because I liked Liam). In contrast, I recall reading Kubica’s debut novel, The Good Girl, which seemed more creative in that parts of it were written from the bad guy’s perspective.
Source: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and TLC Book Tours for review purposes. You can visit other stops on the tour and read the reviews by clicking below:

Tuesday, September 4th: Literary Quicksand
Wednesday, September 5th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Thursday, September 6th: Books & Bindings
Thursday, September 6th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy
Friday, September 7th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, September 10th: Booktimistic
Monday, September 10th: The Book Diva’s Reads
Tuesday, September 11th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Wednesday, September 12th: Books and Cats and Coffee
Thursday, September 13th: Thoughts from a Highly Caffeinated Mind
Friday, September 14th: Becky on Books
Friday, September 14th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, September 17th: Moonlight Rendezvous
Wednesday, September 19th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Thursday, September 20th: Mystery Suspense Reviews
Friday, September 21st: Girl Who Reads
Monday, September 24th: Novel Gossip
Tuesday, September 25th: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, September 25th: Why Girls are Weird
Thursday, September 27th: Mama Reads Blog
Thursday, September 27th: Jathan & Heather
Friday, September 28th: Kritter’s Ramblings

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Cotton in My Sack (Book Review)

Title: Cotton in My Sack
Author/Illustrator: Lois Lenski
Publication: Dell Yearling paperback, originally published 1949
Genre: Children’s fiction
Plot: Joanda, age 10, is part of an Arkansas sharecropper family on the Cotton belt. Children help their parents pick cotton and school only takes place in the off season. It is a hard life but it is all the Hutley family knows and they have fun together despite their hard work and financial worries. The sharecropper life is very bleak for Joanda’s parents: they don’t see any escape and do not know how to save so are constantly at the mercy of unexpected disasters such as illness or can’t pay for daily living expenses due to their own feckless spending. Yet the Hutley parents are good people, well-liked by their peers, respected for their work ethic, and compassionate toward others. The story is told from Joanda’s perspective as she becomes more perceptive and begins to glimpse how the work done by her father and others fits into an economic system its participants are unaware of.

Ricky Hutley gets hit by a tractor - no health insurance!
Audience: Lenski wrote this story at the request of Arkansas children who had admired her Newbery Medal winner, Strawberry Girl. I don’t remember reading it as a child, although if it was in my library I probably did, but I see so much more in the story as an adult reader: the feckless yet well-intentioned father, the teacher trying to save the Hutley family’s pride yet provide a nourishing hot lunch, the kind uncle instilling savings lessons in the family that likes to spend every penny it earns on junk.

My Impressions: As an adult I was interested in Lois primarily in her role as illustrator of the first four Betsy-Tacy books but enjoyed a recent biography, Lois Lenski: Storycatcher. This described Lenski’s American Regional series, a group of 17 books, of which Cotton in My Sack is one. Lenski began writing these books in the 40s, setting them in different parts of the United States to show how real children lived – initially, regions she observed while driving to Florida but later she responded to specific requests as she did here, visiting Arkansas twice and picking cotton herself. I enjoyed the book as a slice of Americana and found the description of rural farming and sharecropping fascinating but sad. Joanda herself is a bright girl who loves words and books. Her home has newspapers pasted on the wall instead of plaster that she reads:
Joanda loved to read. There were no books or magazines in the house, only the newspapers on the wall [instead of plaster]. The words – strange words she did not know the meaning of – had a fascination for her. She used to ask Daddy to explain what they meant. But he couldn’t – he only went to third grade, he said.
Later a kind teacher lends Joanda a pioneer story she brings home to read aloud with her father:
The book told of hard work and courage and struggle. It had happiness, meanness and sorrow in it. At the sad parts they all cried. Daddy and Joanda read each evening after school until the end was reached.
“It sounds like real to me,” said Daddy. “I feel like I know them folks somehow.”
“That’s ‘cause they’re just like us. They had the same troubles in them days too,” said Mama. “We’re not the only ones had it hard.”
This was Lenski's reason for writing such books - to show these children there were families like theirs with similar challenges.  Joanda’s teacher would have been gratified to know how much the Hutleys liked the book, but unfortunately Joanda drops the book in a mud puddle and is too terrified to return to school. Of course, I thought about the lost library book in All-of-a-kind Family and the kind librarian who works out a payment plan with Sarah to save the family’s pride. In fact, Joanda could have paid for the book from her cotton picking money but the children are allowed to squander their earnings on Saturdays.
Joanda is surprised to learn the landowner's wife has financial worries too
Along with the spoiled toddler, this is the most upsetting part of the book – watching the Hutleys carelessly spend their money at the Goodwill store every week while the father goes off to get drunk. Fortunately, Mrs. Hutley’s uncle is as worried as I am about the family’s future and comes up with a scheme to help them focus on savings. Given that my job is all about asset building for low-income residents, I felt that Uncle Shine and I were working together on this feckless family!

Source: I recently picked up a copy of this book for my friend Nicole but naturally had to read it before giving it to her. While Lenski’s books are not fun the way the Betsy-Tacy books are, I enjoyed this and recommend it.

Images copyright to the publisher

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Campion Towers (Book Review)

Title: Campion Towers
Author: John and Patricia Beatty
Publication: Macmillan, hardcover, 1965 (now available as an ebook for $2.99)
Genre: YA historical
Plot: When 15-year-old Penitence Hervey travels from Salem in the Massachusetts Bay Colony to England, she arrives in 1651 as the country is still embroiled in Civil War. As a Puritan, Penitence is wary of her new family, the Killingtrees of Campion Towers who are unabashed Cavaliers, and she agrees to spy on them for Cromwell. Her relatives are unfriendly: her grandmother is dying and mistakes her for her deceased mother, her grandfather is furious to see her, her aunt is critical, her cousin Douglas is a spiteful girl her own age, and they lock her into her room at night. Pen is delightfully flawed – quick to anger and jump to conclusions and less respectful than most girls her age (although, surprisingly, this helps to win over her grandfather). She is also appealingly intrepid and as she explores her home and the Worcester area she learns some of the family secrets, including that her handsome cousin Julian, outlawed by Parliament, is a boon companion of Charles Stuart, the rightful king of England. Soon Pen finds herself caught by the claims of old and new loyalties, inspiring the kind of courage that delights readers and which makes a compelling story with unexpected twists.

Audience: This is a young adult historical fiction written by a noted husband/wife team. John Beatty was a professor at the University of California specializing in 17th and 18th English history and his wife Patricia also authored several books of her own.  The California Library Association's John and Patricia Beatty Award annually honors the author of a distinguished book for children or young adults that best promotes an awareness of California and its people.

My Impressions: This is a charming book, which seemed to be written just for me with settings in Massachusetts (US) and the Worcester (UK) countryside, which I recently visited (an English friend recently asked in puzzlement why I had wanted to visit Worcester and was quite surprised when I brought up its importance in the English Civil War). It is more common for fictional heroes or heroines to start in the Old World and seek their fortunes in the new one than to travel back, as Pen does. This makes Pen’s view of her family and the state of English politics quite intriguing and the authors do a good job of showing how Pen’s upbringing and the unscrupulous people who try to use her preconceptions about her mother’s family nearly result in disaster for the good guys. Well, in fact, Oliver Cromwell does win the Battle of Worcester (boo!) but Charles II is not captured by the Parliamentary forces. As Irish writer Oliver Goldsmith said:
For he who fights and runs away
May live to fight another day;
But he who is in battle slain
Can never rise and fight again.
Pen’s new home is named for my family’s favorite saint, Edmund Campion (1540-81). Campion was a Jesuit who braved Elizabeth II’s priest hunters to bring the sacraments to Catholics in England. Some manor houses, such as the one in this story, then known as The Old Abbey, built secret passages to hide visiting priests. Neighbors trusted to keep the secret would be invited to Mass. Over time, the Killingtrees’ secret resulted in a new name for their home. Campion was not so lucky – in 1581, he was captured, tortured, tried, and eventually hanged, drawn, and quartered on December 1, which is now his Feast Day.
Edmund Campion
Charles II plays a larger part in this story than Campion: in fact, he is always depicted as larger than life in fiction or nonfiction. Pen has several memorable encounters with Charles II, first when she finds him hiding in the secret passage used by St. Edmund. She thinks he is a priest come to bring her grandmother the last rites and is shocked when he kisses her.
“You dare to do this!” I cried out. “What would the people who believe in what you stand for think if they knew?”
I had caught him there. He looked puzzled. “I do not believe I understand you, mistress . . . .”
“May I go now?” I asked angrily.
“Perhaps you had better,” he agreed. “I prefer maids who do not speak in parables of what is to come and who would rather kiss than ask questions.”
English Civil War: For those interested in learning more about the English Civil War or just interested in good historical fiction, Campion Towers is back in print and I also recommend Stella Riley’s historical novels for adults; start with A Splendid Defiance.
Charles II
Source: I found my hardcover copy of Campion Towers years ago at the Traveler’s Restaurant, a quirky bookstore/restaurant on the Massachusetts/Connecticut line but I didn’t get around to reading it this summer when my friend Michele Blake mentioned it was one of her favorites! Hmmm, I thought, and went upstairs to search my shelves until I found it . . .

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison (Book Review)

Title: Tear Me Apart
Author: J.T. Ellison
Publication: Mira Books, Trade Paperback, September 2018 (ebook also available)
Genre: Psychological Suspense
Giveaway:  I have one copy to give away to US or Canadian readers. Please leave an email by 9/7/18 if you are interested!
Plot: The follow-up to her critically acclaimed Lie to Me, J.T. Ellison’s Tear Me Apart is the powerful story of a mother willing to do anything to protect her daughter even as their carefully constructed world unravels around them.

One moment will change their lives forever…

Competitive skier Mindy Wright is a superstar in the making until a spectacular downhill crash threatens not just her racing career but her life. During surgery, doctors discover she’s suffering from a severe form of leukemia, and a stem cell transplant is her only hope. But when her parents are tested, a frightening truth emerges. Mindy is not their daughter.

Who knows the answers?

The race to save Mindy’s life means unraveling years of lies. Was she accidentally switched at birth or is there something more sinister at play? The search for the truth will tear a family apart…and someone is going to deadly extremes to protect the family’s deepest secrets.

Moving through time, Tear Me Apart examines the impact layer after layer of lies and betrayal has on two families, the secrets they guard, and the desperate fight to hide the darkness within.

Audience: Readers who don’t mind staying up late!

My Impressions: I could not put down this thriller and finished it about 2 am! It starts with an attractive young skier bound for the Olympics who instead has a bad fall – a situation we have all seen and sympathized with – and then it takes off as years of lies are exposed, bit by bit, moving from the past to the present and back again. I especially liked the talented and empathetic aunt (surprise!), Juliet, who is devoted to her niece, Mindy, but still clearsighted about the issues surrounding her medical situation. I did not find the segments from the past to be very convincing; moreover, certain aspects of the plot were signposted to the reader and there were holes that a self-respecting detective should have investigated, which lessened the impact of the last 20% of the book. Despite these flaws, this was an enjoyable if not entirely convincing read by an author who knows how to deliver suspense, and it was perfect for the last few weeks of summer!  I had read and reviewed Lie to Me by this author but I liked this much better.
Purchase Links: Barnes & Noble * IndieBound * AmazonBooks-A-Million

Source: I was provided a copy of this book by Mira Books and TLC Book Tours for review purposes. You can visit other stops on the tour and read the reviews by clicking below:

Monday, August 27th: @prose_and_palate
Monday, August 27th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, August 28th: Bewitched Bookworms
Thursday, August 30th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Friday, August 31st: Jathan & Heather
Monday, September 3rd: Books & Bindings
Tuesday, September 4th: Moonlight Rendezvous
Wednesday, September 5th: @katyslibrary
Thursday, September 6th: The Book Diva’s Reads
Friday, September 7th: Becky on Books
Monday, September 10th: Novel Gossip
Tuesday, September 11th: 5 Minutes for Books
Wednesday, September 12th: Midwest Ladies Who Lit
Wednesday, September 12th; @girlwithnoselfie
Thursday, September 13th: @basicbsguide
Friday, September 14th: Girl Who Reads
Monday, September 17th: Helen’s Book Blog
Monday, September 17th: @bookishconnoisseur
Tuesday, September 18th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Wednesday, September 19th: @bookenetics
Thursday, September 20th: Why Girls Are Weird
Friday, September 21st: Cheryl’s Book Nook
Monday, September 24th: @hollyslittlebookreviews
Tuesday, September 25th: Thoughts from a Highly Caffeinated Mind
Wednesday, September 26th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, September 27th: A Bookworm’s World
Friday, September 28th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Fallen by David Baldacci (Book Review)

Title: The Fallen: Memory Man #4
Author: David Baldacci
Publication: Hachette Books, hardcover, April 2018
Genre: Suspense
Plot: FBI detective, Amos Decker, has survived many challenges – from the football injury that derailed his NFL career, leaving him with the perfect recall that has helped his investigative skills, to the terrible night he came home and found his wife and daughter had been murdered. He uses work to forget his past so is not able to relax when his FBI partner Alex Jamison drags him along on a vacation to visit her sister’s family on the Pennsylvania-Ohio border. Like any self-respecting hero of a thriller, he senses something wrong in the house next door and breaks down the door, discovering two dead bodies. This is the first but not the last mystery that Amos and Alex find in Baronville, PA, and because Amos is driven to solve murders and he and Alex excel at fitting pieces of crime together like a puzzle, they go full speed ahead even when they learn Alex’s brother-in-law is somehow part of the former mill town’s deadly secrets.  This is another bestseller from a talented and prolific novelist.

Audience: Fans of thrillers, those who like angst-driven protagonists

My Impressions: Why do I enjoy David Baldacci’s books so much? He combines suspense, intricate plots that alternate between plausible and incredible, fast-paced action, quirky characters, and unexpected humor. Here, Alex is both fond of and exasperated by her partner, whose analytical skills are boundless but who doesn’t always remember to keep her in the loop, often plunging into danger alone:

Before they could answer [Baron] simply walked from the room.
Jamison looked over at Decker. “Wow, just walking out like that. Who does that remind you of?”
He looked at her. “Who?”
Her only response was an exaggerated eye roll.

Amos has lost his ability to feel emotions other than revenge so he never gets Alex’s humor but in this book he connects with Alex’s niece, who reminds him of his deceased daughter, and there are some touching scenes with her. I think human contact is helping Amos begin to recover from his tragedy.

I was hoping to get my oldest nephew hooked on Baldacci this summer and got The Camel Club for him from the library but I am not sure he has tried it yet. For new Baldacci fans, I recommend starting with that one or Split Second: The Camel Club begins a series about a motley collection of friends who are determined to investigate a CIA conspiracy while Split Second focuses on two discredited Secret Service agents who turn into a powerful force when they begin working together.

Source: I got this book from the Boston Public Library. The BPL does not usually receive new books quickly so I have been waiting quite a while to get to the top of the reserve list. In addition, Baldacci is very popular. Some libraries (but not this one) pencil in the date the book arrives so occasionally I can tell I am the first or close to the first to receive the book, which is always fun.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Day of the Dead by Nicci French (Book Review)

Title: Day of the Dead
Author: Nicci French
Publication: William Morrow, trade paperback, July 2018
Genre: Suspense
Plot: For years, dangerous criminal Dean Reeve has been playing mind games with psychologist Frieda Klein (and perhaps vice-versa), and to save her family and friends from further suffering she has gone off the grid.  At the same time, the police try to solve three seemingly unrelated murders, and Lola, a procrastinating university student (is there any other kind?), attempts to write an academic paper on Frieda and also comes into dangerous contact with Reeve.  However, when Frieda realizes Reeve is using murder to send her a deadlymessage, she realizes she must come out of hiding to confront him, regardless of the cost of this showdown to herself. 

Audience: Fans of psychological suspense who enjoy authors such as Tana French, Val McDermid, and Ruth Ware

My Impressions:  This is a compelling read, with vivid characters, unexpected twists, and a thrilling conclusion!   I am not sure why I had never previously read anything by Nicci French but I am glad this was recommended to me.  Frieda Klein is a fascinating protagonist, with layers of complexity only hinted at in this book, and it is quite a change to read about a heroine close to my own age.    I did not realize until I started that this was the eighth and final book in the series (you know I don’t like to read books out of order and I don't like you to do either, gentle reader) so I would suggest going back to start with Blue Monday (which I just placed on hold at the library).  I enjoyed this and look forward to more quality time with Frieda Klein.

Source: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and TLC Book Tours for review purposes.  Please visit other stops on the tour and read the reviews by clicking below:
Tuesday, July 24th: A Book a Week
Wednesday, July 25th: Reading Reality
Tuesday, July 31st: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, August 1st: The Book Diva’s Reads
Tuesday, August 7th: Into the Hall of Books
Wednesday, August 8th: Thoughts On This ‘n That
Thursday, August 9th: Iwriteinbooks’s blog
Thursday, August 9th: A Bookworm’s World
Friday, August 10th: Lit.Wit.Wine.Dine.
Monday, August 13th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Betsy-Tacy Convention, Day 3

All too soon, it was Sunday morning.  Josephine had allowed us to sleep a little later but everyone had started gathering in the lobby. Beyond Domestic Science: Recipes from Betsy-Tacy, and some were mainlining caffeine.  This was a morning that showcased the NewBetsys, including Barb Fecteau as Mistress of Ceremonies!  were finally picking up their soon-to-be treasured copy of the new Betsy-Tacy cookbook.

Josephine Wolff and her mother, Perri Klass (both NewBetsys currently living in New York State), began the morning with a presentation entitled: “Stories About Girls Who Want Curly Hair for Girls Who Want Straight Hair.” This was based on the premise that they, both curly-haired, had been afflicted their whole lives (I started to say they had suffered in silence but I suspect they'd agree neither one is – exactly – silent). They moved on to share both the history of curling appurtenances, incidents we all know well (think: Jo/Meg/sizzle), and the many (mostly hilarious) quotes surrounding Betsy and her hair. Laughter and applause accompanied their delivery. I am still thinking about some of those old-fashioned curling irons which look like something a medieval dentist would use. As my mother has been known to say, “Don’t yearn for time travel: in books the heroine may end up as a member of the aristocracy but it’s more likely you’d be a scullery maid living in an era without Novocain!”
Heather described her "recruitment"

Next up was Heather Vogel Frederick, author of The Mother-Daughter Book Club series and other books, who grew up in Massachusetts, attended college in the Midwest, and lived in Oregon for years before we NewBetsys reclaimed her. Heather told the story about how she became a Betsy-Tacy fan, which gets funnier every time I hear it. As many good stories begin, she was minding her own business, busy promoting her book when Things Started Happening. First, a former listren in the Midwest urged her to read BT and BTT. Then, Heather happened to be speaking at a librarian conference in Portland where she was dangerously close to several of our more spontaneous Betsy-Fans. They accosted the unsuspecting Heather, anxious to persuade her to have her Mother-Daughter Book Club characters read Betsy-Tacy! This was obviously a good idea but might never have come to pass if Heather’s enlightened husband hadn’t urged her to accept an invitation to dinner from our own Radhika. I believe they withheld dessert until Heather agreed to read the whole series. She began to like the crazy women who were holding her hostage (Heather, this is known as the Stockholm Syndrome) although if she really liked them as much as she claimed, I don’t think she would have moved East, do you? Now she is a real member of what my sisters call “your cult” and we are delighted to have her (especially because she has more dignity than the average NewBetsy, and it might rub off on us, or not – see below, reading Forever in the hot tub). Heather interspersed her presentation with letters she has received from fans, some of whom now love Maud Hart Lovelace as well as Dear Mrs. Frederick.
Left, Gretchen, right, Kathy
We had all been waiting to hear more about Kathy Baxter’s Betsy-Tacy Miracle, her first trip to Mankato with her college roommate, Gretchen Hintz Wronka (I had heard about Gretchen for years and wish I had been able to spend more time with her – can you imagine these two ladies when they took New York by storm as new librarians in the late 60s?). They were properly dressed in wool skirts and white gloves, but (and who can blame them?) they decided to climb the Big Hill so were tired and grubby by the time the turned up on Cab Lloyd’s doorstep. Luckily, he clearly got a kick out of being part of a literary pilgrimage for Betsy-Tacy fans. (I remember meeting some of his relatives at Murmuring Lake in, I think, 1997; perhaps his nephews?) Kathy and Gretchen were as hilarious as old friends can be, correcting each other on details, remembering things they had not shared before (which I cannot repeat because I don’t want our Kathy to go to jail), and proudly pointing out things about each other we didn't know. I was fascinated to hear that Gretchen’s father, a fighter pilot in WWII, died on a mission in April 1945, but his remains were not discovered until 2016. Gretchen and her family traveled to Italy to see the area where her father’s last mission took place and met those who helped locate him.

Barb Fecteau awarded the Essay Contest prizes, reading some choice excerpts that made us tearful. The winner was former Greater New York Betsy-Tacy Society Harshi Hettige (we overlapped briefly at the Violent Study Club, and it was so nice to see her again) who described growing up with Betsy-Tacy. Runner up was Nancy Bilezikian, who had found Betsy-Tacy as an adult while visiting her sister-in-law as she looked for a book to read to her daughters.   Nancy, becoming a NewBetsy may be in your future but don't be afraid, we are not as overwhelming as we seem at first and there will be much dessert.
Harshi (left, with Barb) wins the Essay Contest!
There is nothing like a group of kindred spirits, to mix metaphors:

• Where you can spend 15 minutes thoughtfully discussing your favorite Louisa May Alcott and everyone has an opinion (don’t tell Perri that most prefer An Old-Fashioned Girl to Little Women!)
• When you meet two girls on the hotel shuttle bus who attend your old school and who give you faith that the next generation will love Betsy-Tacy as much as we do
• When news of the remains of US soldiers killed in the Korean War automatically turns into a conversation about Don’t Cry Little Girl and someone in the group knows that Ken died in a hospital (alleviating the need for a DNA hunt)
• When most of the table can self-identify as a Mop Squeezer or a More-Thanner (and the former suspect being a Perfectly Awful Girl would be more fun but are mostly resigned to their fate). As the dimwitted principal of Harkness High once said, “Boys don’t respect a girl unless she has high standards.”
• When a first-time convention attendee mentions The Mousehole Cat is a favorite and learns about an amazing book, The Ghosts, by the same author (what a treat in store for her)
• When your whole table agrees that Edward Eager’s Major or Not and The Well Wishers are weaker than his others but then someone switches sides and says she likes them best
• Where we all sang Everything Pudding so many times that everyone has a tune in her head
Left to right, Perri Klass, Josephine Wolff, and Martha Gershun
Farewell!  “I call on the youth of the world to assemble four years from now in Minnesota!” It is true that we need more youth in this movement, but that is an issue for another day.  In the meantime, Amy Dolnick Rechner was signing her book, Barb was selling cookbooks, while Kathy Baxter and Gretchen held court and signed Kathy’s book (why had I left mine in Boston?). There were many goodbyes and exchanged emails before Mary Koger and I detoured to the Mall of America. One of my favorite moments was meeting Donna Meen who loves some of the same obscure books as I but she was at the other end of the table so our discussion of Lorna Hill’s Sadler’s Wells books and Hilda Lewis’s Ship That Flew will have to wait until I visit Edmonton. Or Minnesota 2022!
Thank you to Josephine and all her helpers, and to Andrea and Michelle for their willingness to plan the next convention.
After the Convention attendees departed, Barb hit the hot tub with Judy Blume (of course, a BT fan).  But is this book as much fun if you can't pass it around with dogeared corners to your friends?