sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

March 22, 2012

skipping, blues, and drift
posted by soe 4:14 pm

Spring has arrived. It’s 75 degrees outside and the sun has finally chased the fog away. Today, it’s easy to come up with beautiful things. Here are just three of them from the past week:

1. Rudi and I catch the last few rays of sunlight after work from Soho’s patio. A guy and a girl go into the coffeehouse excitedly chatting and then come out (empty-handed, I’m pretty sure), even more boisterous than they went in. The guy, wearing a full suit, gives an exuberant skip as they walk away.

2. I get off at the Brookland metro stop just as twilight is fully taking possession of the sky. The Basilica’s dome seems to glow against the gradient of dusky blues behind it.

3. A breeze ruffles the cherry blossoms as I walk under the tree on our block. A handful or two of petals drift slowly to the ground, like soft, pale pink snowflakes.

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world this week?

Category: three beautiful things. There is/are 4 Comments.

into the stacks: birds of a feather
posted by soe 3:10 am

Birds of a Feather, by Jacqueline Winspear

From the jacket: “Birds of a Feather finds Maisie on another dangerously intriguing adventure in London between the wars. It is the spring of 1930, and Maisie has been hired to find a runaway heiress. When three of the heiress’s old friends are found dead, Maisie must race to find out who would want to kill these seemingly respectable young women before it’s too late. As Maisie investigates, she discovers that the answers lie in the unforgettable agony of the Great War.”

My take: Empathic detective Maisie Dobbs has a new case. She and assistant Billy Beale have been hired to find and bring home the missing daughter of a self-made grocery mogul. Charlotte Waite is 32 and lonely, and this is not the first time she’s run away. Her father believes she’s being petulant and headstrong, but Maisie suspects there may be more to it than that. Could the murder of a young housewife be related? As Maisie investigates Charlotte’s past habits and contacts, she must also deal with Billy’s mood swings, stemming from lingering and chronic pain relating to a leg injury sustained during the war. And out at Lady Rowan’s country estate, it’s becoming more obvious that although her father remains optimistic about the future of the horses he’s raising that he is not as young as he once was.

The second in an ongoing series, this novel focuses much more on Maisie’s case at hand than did the previous book, which split its time between the case and Maisie’s back story. In this instance, although we’re still getting little bits of it, and although we’re still dealing with a lot of repercussions from World War I, the story is a more hopeful one, in that we can see a path forwards for the characters. In fact, that’s probably what I thought was most important in this book. Maisie specifically asks a doctor about what separates those patients who recover from their injuries quickly from those who languish. His quick answer is that it’s acceptance of the injury/illness (rather than getting stuck on the circumstances that led to it). He elaborates:

One is accepting what has happened. Three is having a picture, an idea of what they will do when they are better, or improved. Then in the middle, number two is a path to follow. (p. 221)

And that’s probably what this novel is about. Finding the path forward to the future. A good lesson to take away from characters you can’t help but like.

Pages: 311

Category: books. There is/are 2 Comments.