Happy St. Valentine's Day!
Are you like me, wanting to read everything an author has written when you find one you love?
When I kept enjoying short stories written by Margaret Culkin Banning in my vintage magazine collection, I decided to find her novels. So far I've read two of the four I've found.
I Took My Love to the Country was the first one and is a good love story, published in 1966.
It's a sophisticated love story divided between New York City and the fictional town of DeSota, North Carolina. Clearly, DeSota is much like Highlands, North Carolina where the wealthy from big cities have had second homes for many decades. The mountains of North Carolina are my soul's home and I remember driving through Highlands so many times on trips back and forth to visit family.
I loved this book and Banning's writing style and I loved that much of the story is centered around the world of the horse country wealthy. I have always been kind of hooked on Hunt Club themed novels and this included a lot of it.
But I also loved that the novel was centered a lot around the old family home that Stephen and Jenny Cooper come back to in the mountains after he loses his job in New York City.
The Splendid Torments, published in 1976, takes place immediately post-Watergate in Washington, D.C. It is a fascinating read of politics in an era I can remember from my young married days.
It is fictionalized but I could easily identify many of the fictional characters. The book portrays the way relationships between husbands and wives can be severely stressed when one of the spouses works practically 24/7 for the current administration.
It made me think of one of the story lines in the television series West Wing where Leo's wife leaves him, unable to take the neglect of her that her husband's job demanded.
The book also shows that politics is something very hard to leave if you have a real passion for it and government.
So there are two love stories for you but I'm not urging you to read them because I know that my taste in fiction is from mid-century and backwards, not current contemporary novels.
Here are two more things I love...
The heavy bronze statue a sister sent me from her store that I named Betsy after our beloved basset hound. She wears a watch that belonged to my mother.
The second thing I love is the small square painting of the Cross that our nine-year old granddaughter painted for us for Christmas!
February has brought with it an urge to change things around in the house. At Valley View I would move whole rooms around, with some strong helpers. Living rooms became dining rooms and a few years later reverted back to living rooms. Something was always being moved at Valley View. Here at Home Hill that's just not feasible. But this month, after Candlemas Day when Christmas was finally packed away, I've shifted chairs and moved accessories from one room to another and it satisfies my need for change. The picture below shows where I swapped the mid-century sunburst type clock that was in my living room to my bedroom and put the vintage English sunburst lamp in its place.
I brought some of my poetry books from a bookshelf to the living room where they would be easy to select from, and the Banning novels are back in my bedroom where I'm now reading Lifeboat Number Two. [June 14: just finished reading this because I kept laying it aside. I enjoyed the last part of the book when the many shipboard characters became more familiar to me but it is not a book I want to reread, unlike my favorite Banning books.]
I'm still deep in winter decorating and will wait until March to start thinking of Spring even though tips of green are already pushing their way up through the grass outside. I know that's not what bloggers do in a world where everything starts a month or two early.
It's just that I know me well and next July I'm going to be missing the cold of February where curling up with a good book is extra special.
What about you? And do you also have to binge on a certain author when you discover them?