Friday, February 21, 2020

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes: A Dachshund and Porcupine Are Friends

Dear Friends,

I've had a busy week here with my usual work and with helping my Momma more than usual as well. I just have a little short post for you today.

I found a video of a dachshund and porcupine who are friends!  This all happened in England.  Diablo is an orphaned baby porcupine, also known as a porcupette.  He was taken care of by a Cotswold Wildlife Park zookeeper, who took him home with her.  He befriended her dachshund puppy Fig.  The goal is to return Diablo to the zoo with the other porcupines.

There is a cute short video of Diablo and Fig together:

I loved seeing them play!  I hope you do too.  I think I would like to meet a friendly porcupine.

Abby xoxoxo

Book Review - Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini

My Review
Resistance Women is a powerful historical novel about four women in Berlin during the 1930's and 1940's.  As they come together in friendship, they also become involved in the Resistance movement against Hitler and the Nazi party.  The women are professor and scholar Mildred Harnick, who was originally from Wisconsin but moved to Berlin with her German husband, Greta Kuckoff, a German writer with a complicated personal life, Martha Dodd, the daughter of Ambassador William Dodd, and literature student, Sara Weiss, who is a Jewish woman in these dangerous times.

I wanted to read this book because I love historical fiction and have long been fascinated with the World War II era.  I previously read (and enjoyed) the nonfiction book In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson, which was about Martha Dodd's family in Berlin 1933 - 1937, so her presence in this book intrigued me.

This is a dense, history-rich novel.  It begins in 1929 and spans through 1946.  The author does a remarkable job of slowly setting the stage for what happens in Germany in the 1930's.  Early on I found the book a bit slow moving as it traveled through times leading up to the war.  In retrospect, though, I think this background really added so much to the story.  By starting in happier times and seeing life before the Nazi party really took hold and before the war, readers gets a unique look at how this tragic period in history unfolded.

The novel is told in alternating chapters by the four women. I made the mistake of looking up their names before reading the book, so I knew the stories of the real life women. I would not recommend doing this!  Sara is the only one of the Resistance women who was fictional, and I have to say that I was most interested in her story.  It was heartbreaking and often suspenseful reading how her life changed as a Jewish woman in Berlin in the 1930's, from a graduate student and daughter of a wealthy banker to someone forced to wear the Star of David and make due with cramped accomodations and scant food.

The glamorous Ambassador's daughter, Martha Dodd, adds some interesting moments in the story, including a forbidden romance with a Russian man and a horrifying arranged date with Hitler! 

Mildred's story is compelling because we see the events of Germany from the eyes of an American woman living overseas, teaching American literature in Germany.  Although she had many opportunites to return home to America, she was loyal to her husband and committed to the Resistance cause.

Greta was the most enigmatic of the characters to me.  She was a student, a writer, and much of her life was absorbed in a complicated relationship with a married man who had been married over time to two sisters.  She had a strong friendship with Mildred, and was especially brave with risky Resistance jobs.

This is such a powerful, moving book and I found it very engrossing.  I read late into the night several evenings and found time here and there during the day to read a little more, just because I really cared about these characters and their story and I really wanted to know what happened.

I recommend Resistance Women for fans of historical fiction, and especially for anyone interested in World War II.  This is a beautifully written novel that you will think about long after you finish reading.

Book Synopsis
One of BookBub’s best historical novels of the year and Oprah magazine’s buzziest books of the month.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, an enthralling historical saga that recreates the danger, romance, and sacrifice of an era and brings to life one courageous, passionate American—Mildred Fish Harnack—and her circle of women friends who waged a clandestine battle against Hitler in Nazi Berlin.

After Wisconsin graduate student Mildred Fish marries brilliant German economist Arvid Harnack, she accompanies him to his German homeland, where a promising future awaits. In the thriving intellectual culture of 1930s Berlin, the newlyweds create a rich new life filled with love, friendships, and rewarding work—but the rise of a malevolent new political faction inexorably changes their fate.

As Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party wield violence and lies to seize power, Mildred, Arvid, and their friends resolve to resist. Mildred gathers intelligence for her American contacts, including Martha Dodd, the vivacious and very modern daughter of the US ambassador. Her German friends, aspiring author Greta Kuckoff and literature student Sara Weitz, risk their lives to collect information from journalists, military officers, and officials within the highest levels of the Nazi regime.

For years, Mildred’s network stealthily fights to bring down the Third Reich from within. But when Nazi radio operatives detect an errant Russian signal, the Harnack resistance cell is exposed, with fatal consequences.

Inspired by actual events, Resistance Women is an enthralling, unforgettable story of ordinary people determined to resist the rise of evil, sacrificing their own lives and liberty to fight injustice and defend the oppressed.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Bio
Jennifer Chiaverini is the New York Times bestselling author of several acclaimed historical novels and the beloved Elm Creek Quilts series. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she lives with her husband and two sons in Madison, Wisconsin.

Find out more about Jennifer at her website, and connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

I received a copy of this book from HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Dear Abby - 12 Vintage Dachshund Valentines With a Long Theme

Happy Valentine's Day, dear friends!

Today I would love to share a few special vintage Valentines with you.  They all feature dachshunds and the theme of LONG or LONGING.  My Momma says that most of these cards are 1950's to 1960's vintage.  I have 12 cards to share, so without further ado ...

A dachshund in a yellow bow says: "I long for you to be mine."

A solid black dachshund says: "Valentine I Long 4 U."

A black and white dachshund says simply "I long."  (I bet there is a continued message inside the card.)

A dachshund in a jaunty red cap and red and white sweater says: "Dog gone it! I long to see you."

This cute dachshund carries a rose in her mouth and wears a yellow blanket.  "L-O-N-G-I-N-G for a Valentine."

A dachshund in a red sweater with hearts says: "I'm longing for you Valentine."

A pretty dachshund with a blue bow on her tail says: "I've liked you a long time, Valentine!"

This sweet dachshund has a blue bow around her neck.  "Hi! For a long long time."

This dachshund has a white heart balloon and a blue collar.  "I long to be your Valentine."

A dachshund in a yellow sweater gives a bone to a pretty poodle.  "I've got a bone I'm longing to pick with you."

This dachshund wears a green bow.  "I'd go a long way for a Valentine like you!"

A Valentine in a red collar stands by some flocked pink and red hearts.  "I long for you to be mine!"

I hope you enjoyed these sweet, old timey Valentines and I hope YOU have an extra special day with the people and animals that you love.

Abby xoxoxo

Book Review and Giveaway - A Crafter Quilts a Crime: A Handcrafted Mystery by Holly Quinn

My Review
Sammy Kane runs a craft store in a small town in Wisconsin. During the annual Fire and Ice event, she has the fun idea to have crafters pose as live mannequins in her store window. This is a great idea until one of the mannequins dies unexpectedly! When suspicion falls upon her brother-in-law, Sammy works with her cousin Heidi and sister Ellie to solve the crime.

This is the third book in the Handcrafted Mystery series. I have read all the books, and love this series. I really enjoy the craft store setting. I feel like I learn about different crafts in each book.  A Crafter Quilts a Crime focuses on quilting, and there were some interesting details about the quilting group working together.

I also enjoy the amateur detective group of S.H.E. - Sammy, Heidi, and Ellie. They have loved mysteries since they were young girls, and they have a talent for working together to solve real life crimes too! Sammy gets into some real jeopardy in this book and there are even a few scary pages for her dog Bara.

I like Sammy's slow moving relationship with police detective Liam. Her detecting causes some real conflict in the early stages of their relationship in this book. Liam is an interesting character with a complex backstory. Holly Quinn has a real gift for character development.

The mystery was fast paced and the clues were interesting. I solved it early on but enjoyed watching the S.H.E. team work together.

I recommend A Crafter Quilts a Crime (and the Handcrafted Mystery series) for fans of cozy mysteries, and especially for anyone who is interested in crafting and small town settings. You will really enjoy this series!

Book Synopsis

Perfect for fans of Betty Hechtman and Maggie Sefton, Holly Quinn’s third Handcrafted mystery aspires to wrap you in its warmth.

Community Craft proprietor Sammy Kane must piece together a patchwork of clues when a “live” mannequin ends up stone-cold dead.

Snowcapped pines and glittery dusted sidewalks adorn tranquil Heartsford, Wisconsin, while residents cuddle beneath heirloom quilts in front of cozy wood fires. But come the next day, the below-zero temperatures won’t keep the locals away from Heartsford’s annual Fire & Ice event. To boost customer traffic at Community Craft’s one-night-only sale, Samantha “Sammy” Kane persuades a few of the craftspeople who sell their wares at the store to participate in a live mannequin window display contest.

Local quilter Wanda Wadsworth emerges as a favorite to win the contest, as she manages to not move a muscle for an unusual amount of time. Onlookers outside the window try everything to get her to crack–tapping on the glass and making funny faces–but nothing disrupts Wanda’s stillness. When the eagle-eyed spectators realize Wanda isn’t breathing, a blanket of grief and fear descends upon the wintry town.

Detective Liam Nash can’t seem to piece the clues together. Fortunately, Sammy’s cousin, Heidi, and her sister, Ellie, are on hand to reconvene their detective team, S.H.E. They set out to solve Wanda’s untimely death before the case grows as icy as a sub-zero Wisconsin winter. But they are all too aware that the killer is too close for comfort.

Author Bio
Holly Quinn has published two stand-alone fiction novels in another persona. She graduated from Carroll University in Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Science in business and a minor in marketing. This is her second Handcrafted mystery. Visit her @

Author Links
Website –
Facebook –
GoodReads –

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – BAM – IndieBound – Powell’s Books – Walmart 


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Friday, February 7, 2020

Dear Abby - Videos That Abby Likes: Dachshund Riding on a Skateboard Animation

Dear Friends,

I am on the run this week so I'll be short and sweet!  (That joke never grows old for me.) 

I found the most fun animated video - super short! - on Youtube.  I love it and think you will like it too. It is an animation of a dachshund riding a skateboard, and there is even a song about a wiener dog.  The animation is by Evan Spiridellis with music by Parry Gripp, and the video page links back to a dachshund rescue group my Momma likes: Dachshund Rescue of North America (DRNA).

I hope you enjoy this little animation as much as I do:

Have a great weekend!

Abby xoxoxo