Visiting L.M. Montgomery

20170824ma_4688I love taking a pilgrimage to the historic homes of authors. Almost any author will do, but, there’s always something special about visiting the houses where my favourite authors lived. And especially where they wrote my favourite books!

This is certainly true for L.M. Montgomery.

Twenty years ago, if you wanted to visit an L.M. Montgomery site, you pretty much had to go to P.E.I. While we all know of her love for the Island, the fact is that Montgomery lived half of her life in Ontario. (Yay!) And it is only recently that her home in Leaskdale, Ontario was acquired and turned into a museum.

And I must say that they’ve done a lovely job!

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This is the manse where she and her husband moved after their marriage. This is where her children were born. And this is where she wrote many of her books… Anne of the Island, Anne’s House of Dreams, Rilla of Ingleside, The Blue Castle, just to name a few.

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And here’s the room where she wrote her books! She’d sit in the corner and write her manuscript out by hand. When she was writing, nobody was supposed to disturb her. Not even her two young sons. In fact, the door was locked. If they wanted to communicate with their mother, they had to slip a note under the door!

My friend asked the young man who was giving us the tour about whether there’s a story about the fur on the ground. He replies, “No, there’s no story. But it’s there because we know she had one like it in this room.” My friend smiles and says, “Well, that’s a story.”

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Apparently she had 1000 books lining the walls of the study. The museum doesn’t have quite so many books, but they have been collecting books that she would have owned and placed them in these wonderful book shelves. (Bonus: Can you see me playing peek-a-boo in the glass?)

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Her wedding china. (Well, not actually hers, but it is her pattern.)

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The kitchen. Recognize the set-up from the old black and white photo?

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And here is her bedroom. The cedar-lined chest is one of the few pieces of furniture that actually belonged to her. L.M. Montgomery.

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Her husband’s church. This is the congregation he pastored after their marriage in 1911. The Macdonalds lived here until 1926 which is when he went to his next parish in Norval, Ontario.

And guess what? They’re working on restoring the Norval manse, too!

Oh, the joy of expectation 🙂

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Partial Solar Eclipse

So, here are some shots I took during the partial solar eclipse. The sun is SO bright that you can’t even see the moon in any of these shots. In fact, during “totality” of the partial eclipse, the lighting conditions were not that noticeably different. Certainly not dark.

Even so, I still like the photos. The clouds add a little something as do the silhouette of the trees. And the sunflare. I like sunflare in my photos 🙂

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Here’s to the next eclipse in 2024. I think we’re supposed to be in the path of the full eclipse then!

Tea

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Coffee? No thank-you.

Hot Chocolate? I can’t really have chocolate.

Tea? Yes, please!

Tea is one of those beverages that gets everything right. You can drink it cold or hot. I prefer hot, even during the summer.

And I drink my tea “straight” or without sugar or milk. Although, I’ll take lemon on the odd occasion.

There’s something calming about tea. After a stressful day, it’s nice to sit down to a cup of tea.

Another cup?

Yes, please.

Review: Sunny Side Up

sunnysideupBook: Sunny Side Up
Authors: Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Basic plot: During the summer of 1976, Sunny goes to stay with her grandfather who lives in  a Retirement Community in Florida. It’s hard to be a place where everybody’s old. But that isn’t the only hard thing for Sunny. It’s even harder to work through the reason she’s in Florida in the first place.

WHAT’S COOL

1. I liked the superhero thread that was woven throughout the story. (Although, I don’t know why Sunny doesn’t like Wonder Woman!!)

2. It took me a few times to figure out how the flashbacks were working, but once I did, I really liked how that worked. Little by little, we are let in on Sunny’s big secret.

3. I love the “Girls” who hang out with the grandfather. How they are so full of life and vigor. And good advice… like taking the uneaten roll for later. (This is something we totally would in my family!)

WHAT’S NOT COOL

1. While I thought the graphic novel worked well, I could really see this as a full-scale novel. Is there anything lost when it’s condensed into the graphic novel format? I did find a few things a tiny bit confusing. But maybe that’s because I don’t read a lot of graphic novels. I’m more of a words person.

FINAL THOUGHTS

My rating is 3.5 Stars (out of 5) – I really liked the story. I would love to see words flesh the story out (i.e. turning the story into a full novel). But overall, I felt the story was touching. I felt for Sunny and her family.

Review: The Tin Snail

tin-snailBook: The Tin Snail
Author: Cameron McAllister
Rating: 4 Stars

Basic plot: It’s 1938. A French boy wants to save his father’s job and to do that, he needs to help his father design a “people’s car”. But just when they’re on to something, the Nazis invade France. Now it’s time to hide their work before it falls into the wrong hands.

WHAT’S COOL…

1) I really liked the main characters. No, wait. I really liked ALL the whole cast of characters in the book. They were quirky without being too quirky. Angelo with all his gumption and inspiration. Camille. Bertrand. The mayor who is the enemy, turned ally.

2) I loved the historical setting. France. World War Two. This is really a book about the French Resistance… in a really weird way. And it’s a book about a very unique type of automobile. (I’ve seen those old Citroen cars in Europe. And, yes, I thought they were ugly. But ugly, in a cute way.)

3) Bertrand’s philosophy: “Some things aren’t meant to be… The rest aren’t meant to be, yet.” In fact, Bertrand’s optimism and enthusiasm is particularly appealing… especially how he deals with Angelo and the father and the pitfalls surrounding the creation of a brand-new car.

4) I loved the three acts: the Inspiration, the building of the car, and finally the attempts to thwart the Nazis from stealing the hard work. The final act has enough intrigue and chases to grab anybody’s attention.

WHAT’S NOT COOL…

1) I wish they would have put more illustrations about the various prototypes. There’s an illustrator, and each prototype is described in the book. But oddly enough, there really are no illustrations to help the reader “see” the car as it is developed.

FINAL THOUGHTS

My rating is 4! Stars (out of 5) – Yes, I really liked this book. It has a historical bent, but I didn’t really see the whole French Resistance thing coming, at least not right away. This book is fresh and fun with a great cast of characters… And that makes for an enjoyable read.