Bacon Biscuits and Honeysuckle Season

Our latest Cook the Books Club selection was Honeysuckle Season, by Mary Ellen Taylor, this round hosted by Debra of Eliot's Eats.  The novel was a truly absorbing and enjoyable read, romantic with a mystery, at times heartbreaking, yet uplifting. I didn't find a lot of food inspiration, though was maybe reading too fast?  Hey,  but we Cook the Bookers are ready for that eventuality.  We can get inspired by atmosphere, location and any little off the cuff mention of items from the plant or animal worlds.  Sometimes a stretch, but we're generally able to come up with something.  

Our library never came through with my request for the book, and after more than a month on the list, I ordered at the last minute from Kindle.  Which is why I'm sailing in under the deadline bar here.

From the Publishers: 

"Adrift in the wake of her father’s death, a failed marriage, and multiple miscarriages, Libby McKenzie feels truly alone. Though her new life as a wedding photographer provides a semblance of purpose, it’s also a distraction from her profound pain.

When asked to photograph a wedding at the historic Woodmont estate, Libby meets the owner, Elaine Grant. Hoping to open Woodmont to the public, Elaine has employed young widower Colton Reese to help restore the grounds and asks Libby to photograph the estate.  From bestselling author Mary Ellen Taylor comes a story about profound loss, hard truths, and an overgrown greenhouse full of old secrets. Libby is immediately drawn to the old greenhouse shrouded in honeysuckle vines.

As Libby forms relationships and explores the overgrown—yet hauntingly beautiful—Woodmont estate, she finds the emotional courage to finally sort through her father’s office. There she discovers a letter that changes everything she knows about her parents, herself, and the estate. Beneath the vines of the old greenhouse lie generations of secrets, and it’s up to Libby to tend to the fruits born of long-buried seeds."


Paella for The Princess Spy

 The Princess Spy, by Larry Loftis, is an excellent biography, which reads like a fiction thriller, full of famous people, adventure and romance. The true story of World War II spy, Aline Griffith, a young American girl, a fashion model, who became a spy and then the Countess of Romanones.  I found the book by happy accident, while looking for another title, which I've now forgotten.  Biography is not my usual reading, so I was very enjoyably surprised by the book, and will be checking out his previous titles.

From The Publisher's Weekly:

"Historian Loftis (Code Name: Lise) delivers an entertaining biography of American fashion model--turned--spy Aline Griffith (1923--2017). Born in the small town of Pearl River, N.Y., Griffith moved to Manhattan after graduating from a Catholic women's college and found work as a model for fashion designer Hattie Carnegie. Griffith's life took a turn after a chance meeting with an Office of Strategic Services operative at a dinner party in 1943. Griffith joined the OSS and, following her training, was sent to Spain in 1944 to search for Nazi supporters among the region's social elites. Amid her information-gathering activities, she met and married a Spanish nobleman and became a countess. She quit spying in 1947 to focus on raising a family, but resumed clandestine activities for the CIA in 1956, though those missions remain classified. Loftis's fast-moving narrative includes plenty of colorful details about Griffith's social life, including lavish cocktail parties and her friendship with bullfighter Juanito Belmonte , and he sketches the battles between German, American, and British spies for influence over the Spanish government with precision. Espionage buffs will be enthralled."