Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Julia's Child: A Novel by Sarah Pinneo

Julia's Child: A Novel. Sarah Pinneo. January 2012. Plume Books - U. S. Penguin Group. 288 pp. ISBN #: 9780452297319.

Julia Bailey is a stay-at-home Mom who takes the topic of her children's nutrition quite seriously, but her kids are slow to get the point and frequently pose comical and crazy questions that challenge Julia on a daily basis - very funny often! But Julia's trying to start a new business with an organic food company named Julia's Child! What's the focus - healthy eating - cheese and vegetables into the most unusual products like pancakes and muffins. It may not be such a new idea now but it's still great to see how it all started - and the sample recipes in the novel are fascinating to consider - and try!

The other interesting part of this novel is to follow how a small entrepreneur starts a business initially stocking her products in a small Brooklyn store. Next step a break on a TV show; next step approached by Whole Foods, the well-known natural food store, and so much more.

The reader will learn quite a bit about the "organic" label, what it really means, as well as marketing and business aspects of growing a flourishing, lucrative business!

This is a light-hearted novel that was pleasant, informative, funny, and interesting all the way through to the last page - a supportive husband and adorable kids add to the fun and adventure of the journey! Nicely done, Ms. Pinneo!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Turning of Anne Merrick by Christine Blevins

The Turning of Anne Merrick. Christine Blevins. Berkley Trade Paperback. 2012. 448 pages. ISBN #: 9780425236796.

Anne Merrick is a spy for the Revolutionary Army in the late 1700s in the colonies. Jack Hampton and she are deeply in love but don't get many opportunities to be together. Caught up in the war between the Patriots and the British, Anne is spying in the camp of the enemy, having fled New York City after killing a British officer, Edward Blankenship. Though they are outnumbered by the British in manpower and weapons, the Patriots are slowly but surely winning the Saratoga campaign. But all is not so easy for Anne as she and her friend Sally see what war is like up close. They cook and care for wounded British soldiers, and they have to frequently remind themselves in the middle of suffering and death who they are supporting and why. Still Anne never loses her feisty nature and can swing between joking and compassionate care without missing a heartbeat!

After a phenomenal victory, Anne and Jack head for General Washington's camp at Valley Forge, where the situation is dire as they are surviving with a serious dearth of food and clothing in the middle of a fierce winter. Here Anne helps out in the middle of this dire situation; the strength of Anne and Jack is that the Cause of Liberty is worth everything and anything. Such determined focus is amazing on page after page after page!

Returning to Philadelphia Anne returns to her former role as owner of what we know as a coffeehouse and a collector of information from a carefully planned network of spies. With her charm and vitality, she manages, as she did in Saratoga,to charm the elite and thus learn of even more important British secrets. However, things begin to go awry when the man she thought she killed is met, alive and well and on recognition determined to have revenge on his would-be killer. The story of Anne's capture, imprisonment, and escape is riveting, tense reading, ending in a shocking way guaranteed to promise the reader more to come from this very, very talented writer, Christine Blevins. This reviewer looks forward to reading the next installment of this writer who makes history, with all its real and fictional characters, pull in the reader for hours of historical and romantic pleasure!!! Wonderful!!!