Sunday Movie Review – #MiniSeries – Olive Kitteridge

Welcome to my Sunday Movie Review. Yes, a movie review is what I have for you this week as I have found that reading four books at one time isn’t a time-saver, lol. But, I’m into them and if I would’ve stopped bouncing around books and finish one, I’d have been prepared. But I do have a movie review – or shall I say, a four-part mini-series review for Elizabeth Strout’s –  Olive Kitteridge. The book garnered a lot of attention and I’d had it on my TBP (to be purchased) list and then I came across the mini-series on HBO and was hooked. I will preface my review below by saying this is a character-driven movie  (book), not plot-driven. Why I emphasize this is because some readers who leave bad reviews for a book of this calibre, clearly miss the point that this is a character depiction story, not a thriller. You have to go deep on this one, which I enjoy, but for some who felt disappointed because they weren’t wowed, and left sad reviews, I suggest checking out the genre and gist of a book before buying it and punishing the authors with lousy reviews.


Do keep in mind, this is the movie version I’m reviewing. But I will say, despite my rule ‘if I’ve seen the movie I don’t read the book, I am still going to read this book. And before I review, I will demonstrate my comment above about the difference in reviews for same book:

Reviewed in the United States on July 14, 2018

Verified Purchase
Ron Johnson

Reviewed in the United States on May 24, 2016

Verified Purchase

Movie Blurb:


In a voice more powerful and compassionate than ever before, New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Strout binds together thirteen rich, luminous narratives into a book with the heft of a novel, through the presence of one larger-than-life, unforgettable character: Olive Kitteridge.

At the edge of the continent, Crosby, Maine, may seem like nowhere, but seen through this brilliant writer’s eyes, it’s in essence the whole world, and the lives that are lived there are filled with all of the grand human drama–desire, despair, jealousy, hope, and love.

At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance: a former student who has lost the will to live: Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.

As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life–sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition–its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.

People • USA Today • The Atlantic • The Washington Post Book World • Seattle Post-Intelligencer • Entertainment Weekly • The Christian Science Monitor • San Francisco Chronicle • Salon • San Antonio Express-News • Chicago Tribune • The Wall Street Journal

“Perceptive, deeply empathetic . . . Olive is the axis around which these thirteen complex, relentlessly human narratives spin themselves into Elizabeth Strout’s unforgettable novel in stories.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

“Fiction lovers, remember this name: Olive Kitteridge. . . . You’ll never forget her. . . . [Elizabeth Strout] constructs her stories with rich irony and moments of genuine surprise and intense emotion. . . . Glorious, powerful stuff.”—USA Today









WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • The beloved first novel featuring Olive Kitteridge, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Oprah’s Book Club pick Olive, Again
“Fiction lovers, remember this name: Olive Kitteridge. . . . You’ll never forget her.”—USA Today
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post Book World • USA Today • San Francisco Chronicle • Chicago Tribune • Seattle Post-Intelligencer • People • Entertainment Weekly • The Christian Science Monitor • The Plain Dealer • The Atlantic • Rocky Mountain News • Library Journal

At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.

As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life—sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition—its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.

The inspiration for the Emmy Award–winning HBO miniseries starring Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, and Bill Murray


My 4 Star Movie Review

Every story isn’t for everyone, but if you like deep character study type movies which evoke emotions from short dialogue and physical expression, leaving us as the viewer (or reader) to feel and ponder from each character, and for those who appreciate a protagonist’s lack of displaying emotions, sometimes even pissing us off, which is a sign of good writing and not a reason to hate a book, you’ll like this movie or book.

The movie is portrayed in 13 different vignettes of casual incidences in the lives of small town county people in Maine, interconnected with Olive’s seemingly humdrum life, demonstrating how the things that happen in people’s  lives either affect – or don’t affect them. A study of the human condition and how events, status, values,  and circumstance contribute into forming people’s behaviors and patterns.

Olive is as complicated as she comes across simple and unemotional with a contrary personality, yet, she’s concerned for others’ welfare. Somewhere inside her there’s a caring person who just doesn’t know how to evolve. She’s judgemental, witty, efficient and a do-the-right-thing type of woman, and probably much more if she allowed herself to reveal herself to herself.

Ordinary lives are accentuated by their vulnerabilities and fragile egos, despair, joy, heartache, loss and grief. Much of the emotion demonstrated by any character in these stories are evoked through actions, non-actions and expression. No, there’s nothing fast-paced here. Each vignette had me paying close attention – hanging on each sentence and observing expression, sometimes without dialogue.

The story casts a darkness in some scenes. But if you are the type who likes to observe character and human nature, and enjoys listening to conversation, you’ll enjoy the story. We’ll get to know Henry, Olive’s pharmacist husband with his big heart – a polar opposite to his wife when it comes to demonstrating compassion, and we’ll learn only near the end about how Olive felt about her husband. And there are plenty people in-between who either love Olive or try to stay far away – like her son Christopher. Truly a story to make us think about the things that happen in our lives having a profound effect on our behaviors.

The reason I took one star away in my review was because I didn’t feel that I learned what had happened in Olive’s prior life to make her so matter-of-fact and expressionless. I think she loved and cared but she couldn’t show it – or displayed in a way that wasn’t blatantly apparent, and as a reader/watcher, I would have liked a bit of back story revealing reason for her lack of demonstrative empathy. I simply wanted to learn what happened or didn’t happen to Olive in her past that made her the unemotional and flawed person she was. But I’ll also add that Frances McDormand did an outstanding performance portraying Olive. And despite the author leaving us to our own interpretations of Olive to evaluate, I highly recommend!




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Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly #Poetry Challenge – Poet’s Choice – #Haibun -Numbing the Numbers

It’s Poet’s Choice for this week’s challenge at Colleen Chesebro’s Word Craft Poetry ‘Tanka Tuesday Challenge’. I’ve written a Haibun with a Senyru.


Colleen's Weekly Poetry Challenge






It’s the first of the month and you know what that means! Poets, choose your own syllabic poetry form, theme, words, images, etc. It’s up to you!





Numbing the Numbers



Fifty, one hundred and fifty, one thousand, ten thousand, one hundred thousand – give or take, and tens of thousands more.

Easy to discard emotions when we speak in numbers and not in humans.

When numbers grow exponentially we  tend to lose perspective, and shock value of the severity of escalating numbers.

How long does it take to count to 100,000? Not just random numbers, each digit representing a human life.

Just how many ‘ones’ would it take to count into the hundred thousands?

If we were to know every one of the thousands who’ve perished because of a pandemic, our hearts couldn’t survive the grief. So, it’s easier to speak in numbers than to imagine thousands of ghostly faces.

But it’s not.

Don’t become immune to numbers.


Keep your face covered

Have respect for fellow man

Stay safely distanced.




Visit Colleen’s blog for original post and to hop on the challenge!


Writer’s Tips – Book Promo Services, Author Notes, Recommended Editors, Re-Purposing Old #Blog Posts, Animation with #Canva

Welcome to my July edition of Writer’s Tips. Typically, I clip and save these articles in a folder to share here for my writer friends and readers. We all know there is so much great information out in the ethers, but no way can we all come across the same information because there is just so much information available. From my nightly blog reads to my morning newsletter reads, when I come across a helpful post for writers, I save for future sharing.


I don’t like to overwhelm readers with too many links, but I promise you all that if you are an Indie author in particular, you will find these articles I curate here of interest at some point in bookwriting. So today here are some fine posts I’m happy to share. Today, two successful authors, Effrosyni and David Gaughran, both sharing great lists of book sites where we can promo our books, complete with details and pricing. Natalie Ducey has a new tutorial on creating animated posts with Canva. Marcia and John are both contributors now at the Story Empire, offering valuable tips on writing notes and video lighting. Jessica wrote a great entertaining instructional on the use of Italics. KM Weiland shares a list of editors and their specialties. And Hugh is back with more good ideas on how to re-purpose older blog posts. Check it out and save them for later reference!


Are you an author looking for assistance? Whatever your need, chances are you’ll find a pointer or two here! Browse through Effrosyni’s FREE resources at your leisure and make sure to bookmark this page.

Source: Book promotion ideas, free book submission | Welcome to Effrosyni Writes


David Gaughran gives us a deeper look into some recommended Book Promo Sites.


Marcia Meara in her featured writer’s column at the Story Empire shares some great info for authors on what to do with ‘author’s notes’ in our books.


Blogging guru, Hugh Roberts with some great tips on re-purposing our old blog posts.


Natalie Ducey has a helpful post on How to Make Animated Pinterest Posts on Canva.


Looking for an editor? K.M. Weiland of Helping Writers Become Authors, shares a list of recommended professional editors.

Need a Good Book Editor? Top Up-to-Date Recommendations


Jessica Norrie has an insightful article on how and when to use Italics.


John Howell has recently become a contributor at the Story Empire, and he has a helpful article out on how to use the best lighting when making videos.


I hope you found something helpful!



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#FlashFiction – “Fiction In A Flash Challenge” – Image Prompt Week – The World of Suzanne Burke.

I’m hopping on to Suzanne Burke’s (Soooz) weekly Flash Fiction Challenge again. Come join in at Soooz’s blog– Welcome to the World of Suzanne Burke. The rules are simple, write whatever we choose in whatever form for the #Photoprompt Flash Challenge, not more than 750 words. I wrote in a Haibun poetic form.

flash fiction



“Fiction In A Flash Challenge” Image Prompt Week #7. Join in, have fun and let the creative muse loose. @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity





flash Free lighthouse beautiful


Casualties of a Silent War


Suspended in wait while idling in neutral, nothing is certain, nor will ever be the same. The Mother Goddess reveals the consequences of our decisions. A cruel awakening descends upon us, throwing us a glimpse, an acrid taste of what we’ve missed along the way – or perhaps, what we’ve forgotten.

In the bliss of ignorance, choosing not to hear the call, happy to remain invisible contributing to the noise, happy not attracting attention from the powers that be, a desperate attempt to dodge the path of ominous events to come.

I choose to stay in the now and the know, rather than gripping on to the unknown, writhing with fear, camouflaged under nature’s cover where I observe from.

She watches us, hidden and inconspicuous to the naked eye and the passerby. But the all-knowing sees all and straddles in wait for the world to respond.


Cruel Awakening

Mother Nature awaits us

To make the right move




Original Post where you can join in: “Fiction In A Flash Challenge” Image Prompt Week #7. Join in, have fun and let the creative muse loose. @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity – Welcome to the World of Suzanne Burke.



Sunday Book Review – Smokey Eyes : Cold Cream Murders by Barbara Silkstone

My Sunday Book Review is for Barbara Silkstone’s – Smokey Eyes – Book 2 in the Cold Cream Murders. I was hooked on this series from book one, and despite these books being standalone capers, I plan on reading them all. And most likely, in order. This series is a fun and witty romp with Olive Peroni who sells magical face cream made from her Nonna Peroni’s secret recipe – the beloved by all the beautiful women in Starfish Cove, Florida, fountain of youth cream she left as her legacy to Olive. Lizzie is Olive’s best friend, turned business partner and it seems wherever these two go they stumble into a murder. Silkstone’s witty choice of words. descriptions and fun names for her characters, add a colorful element  to this mini whodunit.





Olive and Lizzy’s Cold Cream shop on the beach is jumping—business couldn’t be better. But when land shark mogul Brent Toast is found floating in the Starfish Cove marina, with his sneer-side up and a knife in his chest, the prime suspect—among his many enemies—is his brassy daughter-in-law. Can Olive & Lizzy save their friend or will this be the end of the Loud Mouth of the South?

Contains a recipe for Olive & Lizzy’s Smokey Eye Shadow


A series of quirky murders plague Olive Peroni and her Cold Cream shop partner. A psychologist by training and a miracle cold cream designer by luck, Olive leaves her family practice to start a new life in Starfish Cove, Florida. The gals make designer creams for ladies who spend far too much time at the beach. Business is brisk and life is good until bodies start popping and dropping—and Olive must rely on her people skills to separate the killers from their victims.


My 5 Star Review:

Olive isn’t a cop, but once again finds herself involved in a case that Chief Officer, Kal ‘Miranda’ is overseeing, and somehow inserts herself once again, as part of the investigation. With such colorful, painted characters and quick-witted dialogue, and just keeping up with Olive, this book is what I consider one of my great escape reads, offering a fun-paced story with interesting and humorously named characters, this book just takes you in to Olive’s sporadic life and keeps you engaged til the very end when only then we’ll learn who the killer is.

Olive has a compulsive need to help solve the crimes she stumbles into at Starfish Cove. Her people skills from being a psychotherapist come in awfully handy when it comes to analyzing suspects.

The story begins with the disembarking of passengers off Nancy’s boat, The Very Crabby, where Olive and Lizzie were attending a get-together with a few friends and unsuspecting characters. Lizzie is afraid of water, she doesn’t like getting her face wet, and sure enough in the kerfuffle with the boat next door with some other friends, turns out the boat owner Brent was just murdered and thrown in the water by someone on Nancy’s boat. Maybe? In the midst of it all, Olive gets thrown overboard and comes face-to-face with the killer underwater – only when it comes to identifying him, all she could see were a pair of smokey eyes in a foggy mist. Now, Olive is concerned that maybe the killer may not be done with her – and he’s not! Olive persists to snoop out who she thinks may have motive for killing Brent and discovers a few reasons why a few people may have wanted Brent dead. And besides being stalked by an unknown killer, Olive has to contend with other problems going on in her beauty business, like the gigolo chasing after her old Aunt Tillie who is really on a mission to steal Nonna’s secret magical cream recipe.

Never a dull moment in Olive’s life between the other little subplots in this book and the interesting and clever characters Silkstone bring to life in this witty little fun and cozy mystery. A bevy of suspects will keep you guessing whodunit til the end in this boat party gone wrong.




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Q & A with D.G. Kaye, Featuring #AuthorChat with Amy Reade -New Release – Cape Menace

Welcome to the first of my July Q & A #AuthorChats, featuring Cozy Mystery/Thriller, fiction author Amy Reade. Amy is not only a fantastic writer, but loves to share some of her favorite recipes on her blog too. Today Amy features her newest release – Cape Menace.



Amy Reade


About Amy:

Amy M. Reade is a recovering attorney who discovered, quite by accident, a passion for
fiction writing. She has penned twelve mysteries and is working on several others. She writes in
the Gothic, contemporary, historical, and cozy mystery subgenres and also loves to read, cook,
and travel.  She is the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Secrets of Hallstead
House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, House of the Hanging Jade, the Malice series, the
Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery series, the Libraries of the World Mystery series, and the Cape
May Historical Mystery Collection.




The year is 1714. Two years have passed since Ruth Hanover vanished into the wilderness of the New Jersey colony without a trace, leaving behind her husband, William, and their daughter, Sarah. Though William and Sarah have never stopped hoping that Ruth will return, as time goes by it becomes less and less likely they will ever see her again.

Now William is acting strangely. He won’t tell Sarah why he’s conducting business with a mysterious stranger in the middle of the night, he won’t explain the sudden increase in his income, and he won’t share with her what people in town are saying about her mother’s disappearance.

When the time comes for Sarah to face her father’s secrets and figure out why her mother never came home that December day in 1712, what she learns will shock her tiny community on the New Jersey cape and leave her fighting for her life.



Welcome to my blog Amy, I’m delighted to have you over and introduce you and your writing to my readers and friends. 🙂

A.R. – Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog, Debby. People like you are part of the reason I find the writing community online so welcoming and supportive. It’s a privilege and a pleasure to be part of such a group.

It was so hard to choose which questions to answer. I have opinions on all of them! But after much deliberation, I decided to answer the following four questions:


What hobbies do you enjoy when not writing?

My favorite activity when I’m not writing is reading, though I have other hobbies, too. I read across many genres, though there are a few I don’t care for. My favorite genre, not surprisingly, is mystery. I read all kinds of mysteries, from cozies to classic noir to thriller/suspense to Gothic. My favorite book really depends on my mood on any given day, but I have a few go-to authors, including Elizabeth Peters and Phyllis Whitney. These women were masters of mystery and their stories only get better each time I read them. Another author I love is M.C. Beaton, who passed away recently. Her Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth series are a hoot.

Outside mystery, my favorite authors include Ernest Hemingway, Tatiana de Rosnay, and Jane Austen. A pretty wide variety of writing and subject matter there, I’m sure you’ll agree. But there’s one thing they all have in common: the ability to transport me to another place and time.

When I’m not reading, my hobbies include cooking and travel. On my blog I feature three new recipes on the first Tuesday of every month, and in my newsletter I feature a new recipe every month, too. I love to cook and bake, though since the quarantine started in the United States I’ve done far less baking than usual. I know that’s counter to what others are doing right now, but I am using the extra time to write and exercise. Not surprisingly, I’m finding that
when I don’t bake as much, I don’t eat as much! But I do love baking, and sometimes it’s nice to immerse myself in flour and baking powder and sugar and eggs just to make things for my family.

I also love to travel, though this is a far more expensive hobby than reading or cooking, so I don’t do it as often! My favorite places to visit are Scotland and the Island of Hawaii (the Big Island).

D.G. – Thanks for the introduction to some of these talented authors Amy, and I do enjoy your recipes. 🙂


How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite of your books and if so, why?

My latest release, Cape Menace: A Cape May Historical Mystery, was my eleventh novel. I’m currently working on my twelfth and thirteenth novels, which will be out in late summer and God-only-knows-when, respectively. I hope this doesn’t sound like a cop-out, but whichever book I’m working on is simultaneously my favorite and my least favorite. I think a lot of writers will recognize themselves in that sentence.

When I’m working on a book, I’m always thinking about it: how to change it, how to improve it, what needs to be included, what needs to come out. And I’m committed to that book, no matter which one it is. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t be committed to it and I wouldn’t spend so much time thinking about it.

But in every book I’ve written, there’s always a point at which I’m convinced it’s all drivel, that it doesn’t deserve to see the light of day. I know I’m not alone in having this feeling. Luckily, what has always happened in the past (and which I hope will continue to happen!) is that I double down on writing, rewriting, and editing, and in the end I always love what I put out there. I wouldn’t release it if I didn’t love it.

I think this is the long way of saying I don’t have a favorite. *wink*

D.G. – Great answer Amy. If we didn’t love what we do, how would we get through the slog, lol. And I wrote 2 books at once twice, I quite enjoyed the versatility of ‘whatever I’m in the mood to work on’.  🙂


Share with us a book that moved you so much it stays with you.

Every book I read moves me in some way, but some books affect me more than others. And there are lots of books that have stayed with me for different reasons, either because I loved them or because I hated them or because my English teacher drilled it into my head to the point where I couldn’t forget the book if I tried (Great Expectations, I’m looking at you).

But because you asked me to share a book—one book—then I guess I’ll follow the directions and name one that I read several years ago and found simultaneously haunting and heart-wrenching and beautiful. It’s Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay.

This book is set against the backdrop of the 1942 Vel’d’ Hiv’ roundup in Paris. Young Sarah is arrested along with the rest of her family, but she manages to keep her younger brother hidden from the police by locking him in a closet. She assumes she will be back home in just a few hours and takes the closet key with her. Sixty years later, an American journalist living in Paris is assigned a story about the Vel’ d’Hiv’ to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of that horrifying event. As the journalist begins to dig for information, she discovers a personal connection to Sarah…and you have to read the rest of the book if you want to know what happens.

D.G. – Omg, you better believe I’m bookmarking this one! I’m so drawn to WWII era stories, and this isn’t the first I’ve heard of this author! Thanks Amy. 🙂


Do you have any suggested reading or people to follow in the industry for writers, and why?

I follow so many industry professionals that it’s hard to narrow down the list, but there are a few I’ll highlight because their content is consistently valuable and useful.

Jane Friedman. Here is a woman who has spent years—no, decades—in the publishing industry and she knows her stuff. She is passionate about bringing good writing to market and she shares insights on everything from the craft of writing to the art and science of marketing to the ins and outs of publishing on her blog, in her newsletter, and at public speaking engagements such as writing conferences and workshops. Here’s her website:

Frances Caballo. Frances (I call her by her first name like we’re friends, but I’ve never met her) is a social media consultant who is beyond generous with sharing her vast knowledge of social media. If you sign up for her newsletter, you’ll receive marketing tips, social media tips, and helpful links to marketing posts and articles. Here’s the website:

Joanna Penn. I can’t even begin to describe everything Joanna Penn does, so just take my advice and have a look around her website to give yourself an idea. Be forewarned: you’ll be there a while. She shares treasure troves of information about writing, marketing, and publishing, and it’s presented in every form you can think of: books, blog, podcasts, YouTube, etc. I hang on her every word. Here’s her website:

D.G. – Thanks for sharing these wonderful pioneers in our Indie biz Amy. I’ve followed these talents since I began learning the self-pub biz so I concur! 🙂


Would you like to share with us what upcoming projects and/or ideas for books you’re working on?

Yes! As I mentioned earlier, I’m currently working on two manuscripts. One is Ghouls’ Night Out, Book 4 in the Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery Series. This one takes place around Halloween and the main character, Lilly Carlsen, is again up to her eyeballs in both family drama and murder.

The second manuscript I’m actively working on is Dutch Treat, Book 2 in the Libraries of the World Mystery Series. In this series, I use special collections in libraries around the world to commit or solve a crime. In this book, my main character, Daisy Carruthers, moves from Washington, DC, to New York City to take a temporary position as associate professor in the anthropology department of a small private college. While doing some research, she stumbles upon an old map that *may* lead to a treasure buried somewhere under the streets of Manhattan.

And finally, I’m in the research phase of my next book in the Cape May Historical Mystery Collection. This book will take place around the time of the American Revolution. I’m really excited about it, since writing the first book in the collection was such a great experience.

Again, thank you for having me here, Debby. It’s been fun.

D.G. – Thanks so much for giving us an inside peek to your current works in progress Amy. You are a writing machine my friend. 🙂


 Amy is sharing an excerpt from her new release, Cape Menace: A Cape May Historical Mystery:


I pulled the long cloak around my shoulders more snugly and hurried along the muddy road beside the dark wood. I dared not glance behind me, but I knew something was there. I could hear it—its swishing footsteps, the sound of its breath reaching my ears. I never went into the woods at night anymore, but even on the road I was afraid of encountering a wolf. This was his hunting time and I was the intruder. I quickened my steps.

Peering ahead through the dense blackness, I caught a glimpse of warm firelight, a scent of acrid smoke that I couldn’t see but knew was curling up from the chimney of my house.

By the time I reached the house I was running, afraid to stop and listen again for the thing behind me—whatever it was. Yanking on the leather door handle, I swept into the room and slammed the door behind me. My father, dressed in a woolen great coat, looked up from where he had been putting on his boots.

“Where have you been? I was just about to go looking for you. Why are you breathing so heavily?” His eyes were worried, his brow creased with concern.

I leaned against the door for several moments, catching my breath, waiting until the pounding in my chest calmed. I held up my hand, not yet ready to speak. He waited in silence. Finally I answered him. “I was running. I think there was a wolf outside.”

“I’ve heard talk of a pack nearby. Did you see one?” he asked, glancing toward the window. I shook my head. “I do not want you to be outside in the dark. I’ve told you that many times before. What if …” He stopped and I knew what he was thinking. I gazed at him with sadness. He looked older than his thirty-seven years, having never regained the weight he lost after Mamma disappeared.

“I am sorry, Pappa. While you were in the barn I went to Patience’s house to give her the tincture you mixed for her mother. Goodwife Ames was in dire need of it.” I hung up my cloak on the peg and was startled to hear a muffled knock at the door. I jerked around to face my father.

“Who is that?” I whispered.

He stood up and crossed the small room to the door. “I have a feeling it’s someone for me. I’ll take care of it. You go to bed, Sarah.”

He watched as I ducked under the old coverlet that hung between the main room and the bedchamber. When he opened the door, I peered around the side of the makeshift curtain.

He stepped outside, leaving the door slightly ajar, and spoke in low tones to the person who stood in the cold darkness. I couldn’t hear what he was saying. After a short time, he came back in and closed the door firmly. I waited, listening. I expected him to go to the opposite side of the room and open the door to the apothecary, but he didn’t. The chair creaked as he sat down again by the fire.

I slid under the coverlet, the cold taking my breath away. Though it was kind of my father to let me use the bedchamber while he slept in the main room, it did get awfully cold in there and sometimes I wished I could sleep next to the fireplace.

I fell asleep wondering who had been at the door. It had not been a wolf hunting me, after all. It had been a person.

As happened every night at this time of year, I was warm soon enough and I was not ready to leave the comfort of the bed when the cock crowed the next morning. Dressed in several layers, I made my way out into the late fall dawn, in the almost- darkness, to the cow pen. I chose the cow I would milk first, then pressed my cold face against her body as I filled my small bucket with the warm, frothy white liquid. My father was in his shed preparing for the day. After his farm chores, if no one came to the apothecary needing his assistance he would head eastward across our fields to Widow Beall’s house, where he had promised to fix her front door.

I took the milk indoors and set it aside to make butter later in the day, then ladled cornmeal mush onto our trenchers. From our small jug, I drizzled molasses over the mush and set the jug on the table along with two mugs of cider. While I waited for Pappa to come in, I swept the floor and tidied the hearth.

He came indoors just a short time later. “The sky looks like snow. I’ll patch the cracks in the cow pen after I return from Widow Beall’s house.”

I nodded, waiting for just the right time to ask him who had come to the door in the darkness the previous night.

He sat down to his meal. I sat down opposite him, my chair scraping across the rough pine floor, disturbing the silence. He glanced at me over the rim of his mug. A smile flickered in his eyes.

“You are just bursting to ask me something, I can tell. What is it?”

I fumbled with the handle on my mug, gently sloshing the cider inside. “It’s nothing, really. I just wondered who was at the door last night.”

It was as if a veil descended over his face. His look of amusement disappeared, replaced by a look I couldn’t decipher. Was it anxiety? Consternation? “I told you I would take care of it, did I not?”




 Five-star review for Cape Menace: 

“As soon as I began reading Cape Menace, I became immersed in the world of the early eighteenth century, which reflects Ms. Reade’s skill as an author and researcher. She does a brilliant job weaving historical facts, mystery, and romance into a gripping story and I found the book hard to put down. I appreciate Ms. Reade’s attention to detail, especially the authenticity of her character’s behavior, attitudes, and morals which accurately reflect those of the period. All of this would be interesting enough, but the addition of a captivating storyline makes this book a stellar read. For me, the best books entertain and enlighten, and Cape Menace checks those boxes. Congratulations to the author. Highly recommended. I received an advance copy of this novel.”


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