Book Review of The Ride of Her Life by Elizabeth Letts

This story isn’t a mystery, but was just what I needed to read at this point in my life. I believe many of my readers will enjoy it.

A descriptively-enhanced but factually true tale of a not so young lady from Maine who rode her horse across the country in the mid-twentieth century, The Ride of Her Life, by talented author Elizabeth Letts is one of the most inspirational true tales I’ve ever encountered.

I am a about the same age as this lady was when she set out on her adventure, and it sometimes seems I am in as dire a predicament as was Annie Wilkins in 1954. That’s not quite true, but this last six months has certainly been one of the most challenging of my entire life. So I was in need of an inspirational tale like this.

Broke, alone, ill, and told by her doctor to seek a peaceful lifestyle, what did Annie do? She took off cross country on a horse, leading another, a pack horse carrying her possessions, with a dog by her side. A friend suggested she sell greeting cards along the way, to earn money for expenses. She ended up meeting some important people who offered additional assistance.

Just as with any aspect of life’s experiences, Annie endure the stresses of emotional highs and lows as she traversed the continent with her four-footed creatures. Some happenings made her consider abandoning the journey, but she persevered. Above all, her narrative is a tale of courage.

A recommended read for any middle aged woman seeking the courage to continue in spite of obstacles – or anyone in need of the inspiration.

Book Review of Thread and Buried by Lea Wait – May she rest in peace.

Lea Wait, with this Mainley Needlepoint Mystery, continued to amaze me with verses from samplers created by the fingers of young girls in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries – a time when the hands of young persons practiced handiwork skills rather than obsessively scrolling the faces of cellphones.

Sorry, couldn’t help but comment. Cellphones were a great invention, but they have now become an obsession. – Back to the task at hand . . .

Not much needlework goes on in the plot of Thread and Buried, though needlepointed furnishings were included in the set of the movie whose filming takes center stage in the story. The plot was derived from a book by a local octogenarian author, picked up by a Hollywood director – an associate of Skye West, a part-time resident of Haven Harbor, Maine, where this mystery series is set.

Skye’s son Patrick is main character Angie Curtis’ steady romantic interest. But Angie’s too busy during this story to socialize much – other than with the movie cast set – as she attempts to help officials determine whether the director’s death was a murder.

He meets his end in a slip-up during filming, and Skye ends up being chosen to fill his shoes. (Hopefully hers have rubber soles, not leather . . . you have to read the story . . . )

Was the director murdered through the plotting of one of our favorite Haven Harbor residents? One of the cast members? His wife who arrives just in time to witness his demise? Following a suspenseful story, Lea springs an interesting surprise ending upon us.

I really needed to unwind this week and this virtual visit to Maine’s rocky coast – the best place I’ve ever visited in person – served the purpose.

POSTSCRIPT:

What a shock! When I visited Lea Wait’s website to get the link for this post, there was a note on the site from Lea’s daughters informing of her passing on August 9, 2019.

What a great loss. First M.C. Beaton a couple of years ago and now this. Two of my very favorite cozy authors, the ones I turn to when I need a bright spot in my life.

I know there are many talented authors out there writing creative stories, but each of us, I imagine find a few whose interests and outlook on life really resonate with us. Ones with whom we wish we could be real life friends . . .if we all had the time.

I guess I hadn’t kept up with Lea’s latest Mainely Needlepoint mysteries. Thread and Buried must have been the last story she wrote. I had noticed she mentioned some health challenges.

Here’s a link to a printable list of all Lea’s books: I highly recommend the Antique Print Mysteries. I enjoyed her childrens’ books also. She had such a wonderful grasp of Maine history.

Lea Wait will be missed greatly by many.

Featured Quotes From Authors and Books

Here lies Pip March, who died on the seventh of June. Loved and lamented sore, and not forgotten soon.

– from Little Women by Louisa Mae Alcott

And I’ve never forgotten Pip the canary’s epitaph since I first read the children’s classic when I was who knows how young. Every year on the day, Pip’s memory comes to mind. That’s how deeply the stories we love can affect us.

Book Review of Rapier Wit by Jennifer Oakley Denslow

Author Jennifer Oakley Denslow takes us back to high school in this classically tailored whodunit, Rapier Wit – a Regina Murphy Mystery.

She introduces us to the drama students under the direction of main character, Regina Murphy – surprises us with the manner of the featured murder itself (might a second one occur?).

She drops a trail of clues – poses several suspects for us to ponder as the potential culprit. The reveal was suitably dramatic. I wasn’t happy to learn one of my favorite characters was the murderer. But it made sense.

As a reader, we wonder if anything will happen regarding Reggie’s infatuation with a character who plays prominently in the plot.

A fun tale for those of us who wouldn’t mind reliving our high school years. – Perhaps imagine grabbing a starring role in a Shakespearean play if given a second chance (my own aspiration).

My only disappointment regarding this story was the orange tabby whose picture appears on the book cover. Reggie’s kitty was only casually mentioned, perhaps two or three times, if I remember correctly.

Will this book become a series? I can see it. A sheriff and teacher investigative team sounds intriguing – will they perhaps also become a local item?

Rapier Wit’s plot may not have you on the edge of your seat, but it’s interesting, well structured, entertaining. Pick up a copy, find a seat under a shade tree, enjoy this cozy on a lovely June day.

Jennifer Oakley Denslow is an instructor of drama herself. I’m sure she does a wonderful job of inspiring her students.