I’ve been working on some challenge pieces of digital art for Digital Whisper (digitalwhisper.blogspot.com)whose theme was a throwback to my childhood…little red wagon…
…and for Flicker’s DIGITALMANIA, (https://flicker.com/groups/digitalmania,) we met artist GREG HANSON (www.galleriagreg.com/collage-quilts.html) who’s an artist specializing in collage and assemblage…challenging and sooo much fun!
Short and sweet…that’s it for this posting. Hope you’re reawakening with the promise of spring and summer ahead. Enjoy the longer days and the warmer sunshine. I know I will!
“WOMAN of GOD” follows the life of Brigid Fitzgerald, a woman who survived a difficult childhood with drug addicted parents, as she becomes a doctor, serving on the front lines of war-torn Sudan. I was immersed in her MASH world where hopelessly understaffed, undersupplied, underfunded clinics fought the evil ravages of man and disease. With many twists and turns, Brigid loses several close family members and friends. A series of trials and locations test her faith at every turn and she struggles to maintain her faith in God every step of the way.
As I met the people in Brigid’s life, her story expanded in every direction and I was swept into a drama that focused a harsh spotlight on today’s events while providing a vision of a possible future. Brigid’s story drew attention to aspects of the world that people often overlook…civil war and what little help victims are receiving, coping with horrible family tragedies… and women in the church.
There’s an inescapable authenticity to Brigid Fitzgerald that propels the story forward…along with very short chapters…(not that you’ll WANT to put the book down! ) James Patterson and Maxine Paetro have given readers a tale of perseverance that’s not their usual fare. It will entertain some and irritate others, but it will give all readers something to think about. A gentle thriller with a contemporary feel, I can only hope that there’s a sequel in the works…there’s so much more to this journey for Brigid and her daughter.
TWO BOOK REVIEWS:THE EVENING and THE MORNING(Ken Follett)andSPY(Danielle Steel)
Thirty years ago, Ken Follett published one of my MOST favorite novels (that blossomed into the KINGSBRIDGE series…) PILLARS OF THE EARTH. Now, a prequel to the Kingsbridge Trilogy, THE EVENING and THE MORNING, shows Kingsbridge’s humble origins and how it grows into the bustling city it would eventually become.
The tome (900+ pages) begins towards the end of England’s “Dark Ages.” Starting in the year 997 CE, it covers the years to 1007 (…actually about 125 years before PILLARS begins.) Kingsbridge doesn’t exist…there are just a few buildings in a run down hamlet, Dreng’s Ferry…far from any of England’s major cities at that time..
The story blends many characters, both sinister and well intentioned, into the developing hamlet of Dreng’s Ferry…the beginnings of Kingsbridge from Follett’s Kingsbridge series. The story takes us through the interweaving of these characters who eventually shape the town and the cathedral that many of us came to know in Follett’s previous books. The characters became familiar…a well-intentioned man of the cloth, a very bright young peasant man with the mind of an engineer, a wellborn lady brought below her station by circumstance, a vicious clergyman obsessed with personal ambition and a brutish thug of an overlord. Each character, brilliantly developed, became part of my family!! Much of the plot revolves around the personal lives of the main players (above)…their loves, losses, dreams, scandals, betrayals, marriages and children.
Anything Ken Follett writes is a masterpiece. His intricate plots, deep characters and his writing voice work together to create beautiful book tapestries. This good vs. evil book, THE EVENING and the MORNING, proved to be a most enjoyable escapist journey via historical fiction.
Danielle Steel’s SPY is a historical fiction novel that combines elements of espionage, romance, drama and mystery. It’s a story of family relationships, loss, standing up and fighting for your beliefs…and commitment. Our heroine is Alexandra Wickham, a young British aristocrat.
To me, this book is divided into two parts. The first half of the novel is about Alex’s service in the Special Operations Executive (SOE) branch of England’s military. She begins her journey in 1939 when she joins the war effort following her two brothers. Starting as a truck driver for the armed forces, her capacity to prevail in the face of adversity catches the attention of MI6. Her fearless nature and flair for languages sees her recruited as a spy, working behind enemy lines on perilous missions.
In the second half of SPY, Danielle Steel traces Alex’s life over three decades of intelligence service during wartime and peacetime…a risky, treacherous existence- indeed, living a double and secret life. We also see her falling in love, becoming a wife, mother and eventually a grandmother.
Most WWII spy novels end with the spy returning to civilian life…something I think would be a very difficult transition. Instead of the ordinary, Steel places Alex in key international locations with her diplomat husband, (while maintaining her secret spy status for MI6,) as the world is rebuilding after the war and into the Cold War…Britain, France, India, Russia, Morocco and the United States…an interesting spin.
Although I got a real feeling for what it was like to be a spy during challenging times, while keeping it all secret from loved ones, I didn’t feel I really got to know the characters well enough. That being said, I did enjoy this quick read and DO RECOMMEND it!
Glorious snow and very cold temperatures have defined February’s days and nights. There’s been quite a bit “inside, admiring the outside” times to read, FaceTime with family and friends as well as time to create digital art. This is a short, catch up post to document some of the art I’ve created in the past couple of weeks. I’ve been inspired by my love for trains and travel…
by my lifelong desire for a sister…
…an example of MAIL ART…
a poke at the use of silhouettes…
…and finally, some pieces aboutthe Roma or Gypsy culture that has always held great fascination for me…
Thanks so much for stopping by. Please visit me again…
Being a native New Yorker, I’ve always been interested in the history of this exciting, dynamic city…New York! I admit I’m a bit obsessed about the city’s Lower East Side in the early 1900’s when it was teeming with immigrants living in tenements…what their lives were like every day. Enter Susan Jane Gilman , making a grand entrance with her debut novel, THE ICE CREAM QUEEN of ORCHARD STREET. With her easy style of writing, relatable characterization and well researched historical information, both author and novel are impressive. Here’s the cover I created for the book…hard to see, but the children are eating ice cream cones!
This is an immigrant story like none before it. Even the living conditions in Manhattan’s Lower East Side are described better than in many novels I’ve read, filled with the foul smells and neverending din of life, with despair and hopelessness. Six year old Malka Treynovsky and her family arrived at Ellis Island in New York in 1913…Jewish immigrants from Russia. They found that America was very different from what they expected. Through heartbreaking events, Malka lost her family and came to live with an immigrant Italian family…the Dinellos. It’s with them that Malka gained a new family, a Christian name (Lillian,) and learned the art of making ice cream…but she never felt like she “belonged.”
The book jumped between past and present, (the present being the early 1980’s,) to tell of Malka’s transformation from part of the Dinello family (where she was called Ninella,) into Lillian Dunkle, the Ice Cream Queen. The book progressed through her marriage to Albert Dunkle, both her husband and her business partner. Lillian was the committed, driving and creative force behind the ice cream empire they built…(Albert’s strength was his mechanical ability.) But, in an era when women and the drive for success in business did not mix, Lillian faced obstacles every step of the way…each one making her stronger.
This rags to riches tale with world history in general and the history of ice cream in particular, brought out the full range of emotions in me. Although Lillian was anything but likeable as she became more successful, she was relatable, multifaceted and deeply human! The author holds nothing back regarding her description of the times and hardships faced by immigrants. Brilliantly painted, we understand the misery of those trying to squeak by, understanding their drive to succeed and thrive. Hardships and challenges were faced by all.
THE ICE CREAM QUEEN of ORCHARD STREET is a love letter to New York City and to the American dream… for all those who worked so hard and pulled themselves up to a better life than they had in the country they left. I don’t hesitate to recommend this book!
Well, the Inauguration of our new President Biden and Vice President, Kamala Harris was accomplished smoothly. We’re ready to turn the page and find better, kinder times in future days.
Our lives continue on…the clock keeps ticking…and I continue to enjoy creating bits and pieces of theme-based art for my online art challenge groups. This week, DIGITALMANIA (https://www.flicker.com/groups/digitalmania) simply asked artists to create a triptych. I used a photo I took in China some years ago for one of my triptychs…
and a nod to who I’m becoming for the other…
SUNDAY POSTCARD ART (sundaypostcardart.wordpress.com) wanted artists to concentrate on the theme of MUSIC…
and finally, DIGITAL WHISPER (digitalwhisper.blogspot.com) must have taken a look at our grey skies and asked to see an artpiece about RAIN…
That’s it for this week. Stay well and careful…hoping you’re getting your covid vaccine shot soon (if you wish to do so.) Sending prayers and big hugs…and thanks for stopping by.
In two weeks, the REAL work will begin. We, the people, have a country to rebuild; respect to reclaim; COVID to fight and terminate; hatred, racism and prejudice to eradicate; a divided, violent country to bring together in peace. Can it be done? I believe in “we, the people” and our ability to accomplish these goals. But we must all do our part…small as it may seem. I want to try…will you try, too?
As Michael Jackson wrote:
Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me
And the entire human race.
There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make it a better place
For you and for me
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make that change
Stepping down from my soapbox and putting on my digital artist hat, I had a stimulating time this week creating art for two of my online challenge art groups. First, for Flicker’s DIGITALMANIA (https://www.flicker.com/groups/digitalmania) artists were introduced to British pop artist painter, Julian St.Clair. I find his work fun, colorful and contemporary. These two are his…
and here are mine, inspired by St.Clair…
DIGITAL WHISPER ( digitalwhisper.blogspot.com) declared their theme to be LITTLE BOYS. I had sooo much fun with this one…
Hang on…hoping that better days are ahead for “we, the people” as well as “for you and for me.”Michael Jackson had some meaningful thoughts…certainly applicable to today’s world and our part of the world…our United States. I pray for us all…for the regaining of our humanity and compassion for all. Stay safe!
Looking forward to seeing you for my next posting.