Friday, March 19, 2021

Dear Abby - Cute Dachshunds From Pinterest

Dear Friends,

Hope you are having a good week!  We've had a lot of rain here and it gave me extra time to stay indoors and browse Pinterest.   I found some very cute dachshund photos and wanted to share them with you.  (Pinterest is a great place for dog pictures!)

This dachshund is ready for Spring with a wreath of flowers:

This handsome black and tan dachshund is just relaxing. What a face!

No, Momma, I do NOT want to wear pajamas.  (Cute as long as it doesn't give our people ideas.)

I can tell that this doxie is thinking some very Deep Thoughts.

Just a pretty dachshund out for a walk on a nice day!

Look what arrived in the mail!

These pictures made me happy and I hope you enjoyed them too. I hope your day is sunny and warm!


Abby xoxoxo


Book Review and Giveaway - The Girl in the Painting by Tea Cooper

My Review

The Girl in the Painting is a historical novel set in Australia. Most of the book takes place in the early 1900's (1906 - 1910's) when Jane Piper is placed by her orphanage in the home of brother and sister Michael and Elizabeth Quinn. When Jane goes to an art exhibit with her Aunt Elizabeth, Elizabeth has a panic attack and ends up sobbing on the floor. Jane works with her Uncle Michael to unravel the mystery of what has upset Elizabeth so profoundly. The book flashes back to the early years of Michael and Elizabeth as they traveled from England to Australia as children.

I wanted to read this novel because I enjoyed the author's previous book The Woman in the Green Dress.

This is a fascinating and unusual read. The complex story is set primarily in early 1900's Australia but flashes back to the childhood and youth of Michael and Elizabeth Quinn. Jane is a brilliant child/young woman who is a math prodigy. Her deductive skills come in handy as she works to find out the mysteries of Elizabeth's childhood that is impacting her present.

There are so many intriguing aspects of this novel - the gold fields where Michael works in his youth, the life of Chinese-Americans in Australia during this period (seen through a close friend of Michael whom Elizabeth becomes interested in), life at the auction house, the role of women during these times. I also found the artist Marigold and her work fascinating. For instance:

"She peered more closely. A weathered church tucked into the fold of the hill surrounded by ancient headstones, tilted like old men’s teeth, every patch of lichen highlighted. Several sarcophagi, chipped and worn, and to one side a large circular burial vault. Jane moved a little closer. All the other pictures had cards next to them describing the painting, but not this one. There was something about it that appeared familiar. She glanced over her shoulder. Mrs. Witherspoon was nowhere to be seen, so she hoisted the picture from the hook, turned it around, propped it against the wall, and crouched down. A small piece of paper glued to the back rewarded her ingenuity. Marigold Penter, The village church, 1889, oil on canvas And then she remembered. The wife of the self-confident man who’d annoyed Michael at the gallery in Sydney. It must be one of the pictures he’d been talking about. She studied the vibrant colors and wide brush strokes, the way the light glanced off the church windows, and the long shadows thrown by the circular vault, then she spotted the girl, almost hidden beneath the wide branches of a tree. She could hardly tell the color of the clothes the girl was wearing, all a pale gray-blue, almost as though she were fading away. It looked as though Lucy had spilt bleaching powder all over her." (eBook location 1108).

I found the mystery in this novel very intriguing and ended up reading it in just two days because I wanted to know what happened next. There were twists and turns and twists again. 

I recommend The Girl in the Painting for fans of historical fiction and especially for anyone interested in Australia and historical fiction involving art.

Book Synopsis

A young prodigy in need of family. A painting that shatters a woman’s peace. And a decades-old mystery demanding to be solved.

Australia, 1906

Orphan Jane Piper is nine years old when philanthropist siblings Michael and Elizabeth Quinn take her into their home to further her schooling. The Quinns are no strangers to hardship— having arrived in Australia as penniless immigrants, they now care for others as lost as they once were.

Despite Jane’s mysterious past, her remarkable aptitude for mathematics takes her far over the next seven years, and her relationship with Elizabeth and Michael flourishes as she plays an increasingly prominent part in their business.

But when Elizabeth reacts in terror to an exhibition at the local gallery, Jane realizes no one knows Elizabeth after all—not even Elizabeth herself. As the past and the present converge and Elizabeth’s grasp on reality loosens, Jane sets out to unravel Elizabeth’s story before it is too late.

From the gritty reality of the Australian goldfields to the grand institutions of Sydney, this compelling novel takes us on a mystery across continents and decades as both women finally discover a place to call home.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Author Bio

Tea is an award-winning Australian author of historical fiction. In a past life she was a teacher, a journalist, and a farmer. These days she haunts museums and indulges her passion for storytelling. She is the bestselling author of several novels, including The Horse Thief, The Cedar Cutter, The Currency Lass, The Naturalist’s Daughter, The Woman in the Green Dress, and The Girl in the Painting.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


Enter to win a paperback copy of The Girl in the Painting by Tea Cooper!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on March 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Girl in the Painting


Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Queenie's Place by Toni Morgan

Book Synopsis

Queenie’s Place, set in rural North Carolina in the early seventies, is the story of an unusual sisterhood between a thirty-something white woman from California and a fifty-something black woman from the south.  From the moment Doreen Donavan sees the “Welcome to Klan Country” sign outside Goldsboro, North Carolina is one culture shock after another. She thinks the women she meets on the military base, where she and her family now live, are the dullest, stuffiest, most stuck-up women she’s ever run across, and frankly, they don’t think much of her either. She’s hot, miserable, and bored. Then one day, BAM, her car tire goes flat, right in front of a roadhouse outside the town of Richland, near where MCB Camp Puller is located. Inside, Queenie is holding forth at the piano. The place is jumping. Besides the music, there’s dancing and the best barbecue in North Carolina. Doreen’s husband, Tom arrives and must practically peel her out of the place. Queenie doesn’t expect to see Doreen again, but Doreen comes back and their unlikely friendship begins. Without warning, Queenie’s place is closed, the women accused of prostitution and bootlegging. A born crusader (she cut her teeth demonstrating against the Vietnam War—yes, even with her husband over there), Doreen quickly dons her armor and saddles up. Things don’t go quite as planned.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Author Bio

A longtime military spouse, TONI MORGAN has lived in many parts of the US and also for nearly four years in rural Japan. There she had the good fortune to work part-time in a Japanese pottery factory. That rich experience led to the first in her WWII trilogy ECHOES FROM A FALLING BRIDGE, which gives a unique view of life in rural Japan during the war. Second in the trilogy is HARVEST THE WIND, partially set in a Japanese internment camp in Idaho’s Magic Valley. The third in the series is LOTUS BLOSSOM UNFURLING, which continues the saga after the war ends. She also wrote PATRIMONY, and TWO-HEARTED CROSSING, companion books set in Montreal Quebec Canada during the Quebec Separatist Movement and 20 years later, in northern Idaho. Her novel QUEENIE’S PLACE is a 2019 National Book Award in Literature nominee. Her short stories have appeared in various literary magazines and journals, and her short story “Tin Soldier” was included in MOORING AGAINST THE TIDE, a creative fiction and poetry textbook published by Prentice Hall. Her most recent release is BETWEEN LOVE AND HATE, a collection of short stories, including Pushcart Prize nominee “The House on East Orange Street” and the aforementioned “Tin Soldier.”

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Enter to win a set of signed paperback copies of Toni Morgan's WWII Trilogy!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on April 2nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Queenie's Place