Today’s Advice may be a Help or Hindrance

Hi there, guys and dolls! Friday’s upon us again. Rumor has it that plenty of you are stuck at home with your, er, loved ones. And how would that be going? I’ve got a couple of letters from some rather perturbed individuals. Let’s see how I can improve or interfere on the issues.

Dear Barbara Jean,

Time for Vera to stick it to her husband

My husband is now spending plenty of time at home and quite frankly, he’s getting underfoot. Literally. He is following me around, making what he thinks are friendly, loving ‘suggestions’ (the man does not know what he is talking about). He has an idea about how I can do practically everything better, including darning his socks. What’s a wife to do?

Vexed Vera in Vail

Dear Vera,

Get him to put his so-called ‘expertise’ to work. Give him a long list of all the things you do on a daily basis (even if you have to make up a few, as if he would know the difference) and leave him to do them. Now go out, grab a girlfriend and make a day of it lunching and shopping. Be prepared to see the mess he has made of your well run house, but at least you’ve had a reprieve.

Good luck straightening what he’s screwed up, Barbara Jean

Dear Barbara Jean,

I am shocked and aghast to find out that my children have been running a gambling marble game in the back yard for money! I did not raise them to behave in such a manner. How do I handle this?

Embarrassed Edna in Ellensburg

Dear Edna,

Edna’s little extortionists look a little like this

Well, I have to admit that I would be admiring your enterprising children if what they were doing wasn’t illegal extortion. First of all, I guess get them to stop and then if they can figure out who they took money from, get them to give it back to their patrons. If they can’t figure it out, buy all the kids in the neighborhood ice creams except your own little fleecers. If there’s any left, use it to pay for a club house for the neighborhood, and make your kids unpaid janitors of the facility.

Fixing one little red wagon at a time, Barbara Jean

Keep your letters coming! I love to help or hinder any way I can.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.

Toodles, Barbara Jean

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Time for Some Delightfully Gentle Reading

Hi there, guys and dolls! Are you all hanging in there? Good, I know you can. Now yours truly is quite comfortable in my lovely nifty fifties world, but I understand that in your modern day life there is a little turmoil happening. Sigh. Might I suggest some gentle, sweet reads for this week’s Raves n Faves? Let’s have a look at Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. Now for some of you, these are probably old hat, but maybe it’s time to pay Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi a return visit. And for those of you who have never visited their Botswana, maybe now’s the time. I can guarantee at least 97% happiness (read the books, you’ll get it…). Just click on the book covers or titles to be taken to the Book Depository listing.

Book One

THE NO.1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY – This first novel in Alexander McCall Smith’s widely acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to “help people with problems in their lives.” Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witchdoctors.

Book Two

TEARS OF THE GIRAFFE – Precious Ramotswe is the eminently sensible and cunning proprietor of the only ladies’ detective agency in Botswana. In Tears of the Giraffe she tracks a wayward wife, uncovers an unscrupulous maid, and searches for an American man who disappeared into the plains many years ago. In the midst of resolving uncertainties, pondering her impending marriage to a good, kind man, Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, and the promotion of her talented secretary (a graduate of the Botswana Secretarial College, with a mark of 97 per cent), she also finds her family suddenly and unexpectedly increased by two.

Book Three

MORALITY FOR BEAUTIFUL GIRLS – In Morality for Beautiful Girls, Precious Ramotswe, founder and owner of the only detective agency for the concerns of both ladies and others, investigates the alleged poisoning of the brother of an important “Government Man,” and the moral character of the four finalists of the Miss Beauty and Integrity Contest, the winner of which will almost certainly be a contestant for the title of Miss Botswana. Yet her business is having money problems, and when other difficulties arise at her fianc ‘s Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, she discovers the reliable Mr J.L.B. Matekoni is more complicated then he seems.

Book Four

THE KALAHARI TYPING SCHOOL FOR MEN – Now that The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (the only detective agency for ladies and others in Botswana) is established, its founder, Precious Ramotswe, can look upon her life with pride: she’s reached her late thirties (“the finest age to be”), has a house, two children, a good fiancé — Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni — and many satisfied customers. But life is never without its problems. It turns out that her adopted son is responsible for the dead hoopoe bird in the garden; her assistant, Mma Makutsi, wants a husband and needs help with her idea to open the Kalahari Typing School for Men; yet Mma Ramotswe’s sexist rival has no trouble opening his Satisfaction Guaranteed Detective Agency across town. Will Precious Ramotswe’s delightfully cunning and profoundly moral methods save the day? Follow the continuing story of Botswana’s first lady detective in the irresistible The Kalahari Typing School for Men.

9781400031818
Book Five

THE FULL CUPBOARD OF LIFE – Still engaged to the estimable Mr J.L.B. Matekoni, Mma Ramotswe understands that she should not put too much pressure on him, as he has other concerns, especially a hair-raising request from the ever persuasive Mma Potokwane, matron of the orphan farm. Besides Mma Ramotswe herself has weighty matters on her mind. She has been approached by a wealthy lady to check up on several suitors. Are these men interested in the lady or just her money? This may be a difficult case, but it’s just the kind of problem Mma Ramotswe likes and she is, as we know, a very intuitive lady.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in Adult Contemporary, Africa, blogaday, book series, books, Botswana, Characters, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery Series, daily blog, detectives, Fiction, Fictional Characters, Humor, Mysteries, novels, postaday, Raves and Faves, Readers, Reading, reading, Romance, Social Mores, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Barbara Jean, Take a Letter

Hi there, guys and dolls! Well, another Workday Wednesday is upon us, and let me tell you, I’ve had better. Or, let me tell you about it and I’ll feel better….

Take a letter, Barbara Jean

Anyhoo, I went in to work as per usual, just squeaking in at the last 9 am bell, expecting another day of doing, well, nothing (heck, it’s worked so far…). Then I got called into one of the corner offices. Now that’s never good. It quite often means I have to do something, or I got in trouble for something I did, when really, we all know nobody does anything around here. Half of us are still trying to figure out what the company actually produces, while the other half is pretending they know. Confusing? Yes. Lucrative? Also yes. This is why we stay. That, and for the afternoons the mail clerks turn the cart into a portable bar, but that’s for another day.

Right, back to today. So there I am, taking the long walk to the almost head honcho’s office. His secretary gives me an efficient once over while handing me a fresh steno pad, telling me she’ too busy and I’ll have to take a letter. “You know shorthand, don’t you?” she asks as she looks down her nose at me through her severe black cat-eye glasses. Frightened the bejesus out of me, so I numbly nodded and took the paper and pencil.

Shorthand, yep. No idea what it says.

In I go and immediately the big guy prattles on about something, so fast, yet so boring I didn’t bother to retain it. I look bright-eyed and busy, scrawling something. As he chomps on his cigar, he gutters, “Got that? Good.” and waves me off.

Keener Lorna, not me.

Now I have no idea what it says. I just put down a whole bunch of swirls and goopy symbols really, really quickly. So now what? Fortunately I see Lorna, such a keener. Always wanting to make a good impression (that is, not yet reached her highest pay ladder rung, unlike the rest of us who are just dangling at the top, flailing in the pay scale of life), I pass it off to the youngster, telling her this has to go out pronto. She nods, then starts reading it, wide-eyed and blushing, asking me if I’m sure. “Of course!” I say and flounce off to lunch with Eric, the new payroll clerk.

By the time I make it back by three-ish, that corner office is cleared and his secretary is demoted to coffee girl. That’s one way I’ll never get asked to do dictation again.

Wonder what was in that letter, anyway?

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950s business, 1950s fun, Alter Ego, Americana, big business, Blogs, Careers, Characters, city life, collaboration, creative writing, Creativity, daily blog, Dating, day job, diary, Etiquette, Fiction, Fictional Characters, flash fiction, Historical, historical fiction, Humor, journal, letters, long read, Nostalgia, Office life, Office work, Pop Culture, postaday, Retro, Uncategorized, Vintage, workday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Entangled Instructor

Hi there, guys and dolls! Are you all socially distancing yourself? I should hope so. Now yours truly comes from a slightly earlier time (ahem, I’m not telling my age, but if I was at my supreme freshness in the 50’s, well, you figure it out, brainiac…), and this blog tells all about that golden time in my life, and hopefully brings a little smile to your face, a lilt in your step, floats your boat and all that other stuff.

How hard can this be?

Anyhoo, this weekend I figured it was time to learn something new. As I flipped through the phone book, I came across “Dance Instructors.” Gasp! How romantic. The Tango! I will learn the tango, that’s what I’ll do.

Oh, the glamour!

By two o’clock, I had an instructor lined up at the ready. Would he be a dreamboat, or would he be sailing at half-mast? Oh, the anticipation! Would his afternoon lesson of footwork turn into my nighttime lesson of footsie work? A girl can dream, can’t she?

All started fine. That is, until we actually started dancing. Who knew I would actually have two left feet? Well, the instructor did, who unfortunately pointed it out oh, a few times. God love him, but he did keep trying, sigh. And much to the chagrin of the others in the class, as they went down in a heap over one not so swift move.

It sort of ended up like this…

The flipside? (Yes, at one point we did get so twisted up someone ended up rolled up and over, landing on a keester, not telling who, okay, fine, it was me… and then him, and then me…again…). I think I discovered a new game. Maybe I’ll call it Twister….

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950s fun, 1950s glamour, Alter Ego, Americana, blogaday, board games, city life, cocktail culture, creative writing, Creativity, daily blog, dance, dance instructor, diary, Fiction, flash fiction, flirting, Historical, historical fiction, Humor, journal, Love, Nostalgia, Pop Culture, postaday, Retro, Romance, Socializing, Uncategorized, Vintage, weekend | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oh, if Only All of Our Problems were so Small

Hi there, guys and dolls! How’s everyone doing? My wish for you is to have such trite problems as my two questioning ladies do today (of course, we won’t tell them their problems are just small potatoes, will we). Let’s get right to our free advice Friday letters.

The pageant of the car parts…

Dear Barbara Jean,

My boyfriend’s a mechanic and he and his car buddies held a beauty pageant. To my surprise, I did not win (I ran as Miss Fan Belt). I later found out (much to my dismay) that he had cast the deciding vote to Miss Body and Fender (personally, I’d like to know how she got that vote….). What should I do? Should I look the other way, or should I tell him to make tracks and burn rubber?

Disgusted Deirdre in Detroit

Dear Deirdre,

Well, I’m not surprised that Miss Body and Fender took the honors. With a name like that, obviously referring not only to the “auto” body, but also her own chassis, I quite frankly think she worked those mechanics over. My suggestion? Ditch the greaser and get a doctor. Maybe use your “Fan Belt” to snap one like him into line.

Enjoy the richer pastures, Barbara Jean

Dear Barbara Jean,

That’s got to be Fanny’s niece…

My sister promised my annoying and naughty niece that I would buy all of her Girl Guide cookies. Now I’m stuck with a bill and 400 boxes of the darned things. Barbara Jean, I’m on a diet and with summer right around the corner, how the heck am I going to get in shape for my new polka dot bikini?

Fleeced Fanny in Forest Hills

Dear Fanny,

Well, get out there and peddle those biscuits to your friends and neighbors, sister. The Girl Guides are an admirable upstanding group, even if your niece isn’t very nice. And say, whatever you have left, why not wing a couple of boxes my way? Think of it as payment for my helpful advice.

Thanks for the snacks, Barbara Jean

Keep your letters coming! I love to help or hinder any way I can.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950s food, 1950s fun, 1950s glamour, 50's housewife, advice, advice column, Alter Ego, Americana, Beauty Pageant, cookies, Creativity, daily blog, diary, dieting, Domestic life, Family, family life, Girl Guides, Humor, letters, Love, neighbors, Nostalgia, Pop Culture, Relatives, Retro, Romance, Socializing, suburbia, Uncategorized, Vintage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If You Knew Ozu Like I Know Ozu

Hi there, guys and dolls! How’s everybody doing? Planning on nestling down in front of your TV this weekend? Well, I have some terrific Raves n Faves for you. Five of my favorite movies by Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu.

Now Ozu had an extensive film career dating from the 1920’s to ’60’s, and ranging from gangster/crime stories to family slices of life and heartfelt romance. Some funny, some sad, all of them lovingly poignant and practically perfect in their quiet ways. He had a talented ensemble cast and crew he enjoyed working with, which makes them even more delightful to watch in the varying roles. I’ve got a list of my five favorites, with links to watch on the Criterion Channel (which is such a gem), although I’m sure you can find them streaming through other options as well.

The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice
The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice

THE FLAVOR OF GREEN TEA OVER RICE (1952) – A woman’s dissatisfaction with her unrefined husband grows as his business trip to South America draws near. Such a fun chick flick!

Tokyo Story
Tokyo Story

TOKYO STORY (1953) – A profoundly stirring evocation of elemental humanity and universal heartbreak, TOKYO STORY is the crowning achievement of the unparalleled Yasujiro Ozu. The film, which follows an aging couple’s journey to visit their grown children in bustling postwar Tokyo, surveys the rich and complex world of family life with the director’s customary delicacy and incisive perspective on social mores. Featuring lovely performances from Ozu regulars Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Hara, TOKYO STORY plumbs and deepens the director’s recurring theme of generational conflict, creating what is without question one of cinema’s mightiest masterpieces.

Equinox Flower
Equinox Flower

EQUINOX FLOWER (1958) – Later in his career, Ozu started becoming increasingly sympathetic with the younger generation, a shift that was cemented in Equinox Flower, his gorgeously detailed first color film, about an old-fashioned father and his newfangled daughter.

Good Morning
Good Morning

GOOD MORNING (1958) -A lighthearted take on director Yasujiro Ozu’s perennial theme of the challenges of intergenerational relationships, GOOD MORNING tells the story of two young boys who stop speaking in protest after their parents refuse to buy a television set. Ozu weaves a wealth of subtle gags through a family portrait as rich as those of his dramatic films, mocking the foibles of the adult world through the eyes of his child protagonists. Shot in stunning Technicolor and set in a suburb of Tokyo where housewives gossip about the neighbors’ new washing machine and unemployed husbands look for work as door-to-door salesmen, this charming comedy refashions Ozu’s own silent classic I WAS BORN, BUT . . . to gently satirize consumerism in postwar Japan.

Late Autumn
Late Autumn

LATE AUTUMN (1960) – The great actress and Ozu regular Setsuko Hara plays a mother gently trying to persuade her daughter to marry in this glowing portrait of family love and conflict; a reworking of Ozu’s 1949 masterpiece Late Spring.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950s fun, 1950s glamour, 1960s movies, 50's Fashions, 50's housewife, 50's Husband, 50's Movies, black and white movies, Blogs, Characters, city life, Classic Movies, cocktail culture, Coffee Shop, Creativity, daily blog, Dating, day job, Domestic life, entertainment, Etiquette, Family, family life, family saga, home life, Humor, Japan, Japanese Movies, movies, Nostalgia, Office life, Pop Culture, Retro, Romance, Social Mores, Socializing, suburbia, Vintage, vintage fashion, Yasujiro Ozu | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Efficient Mid-Century Solo Worker

Hi there, guys and dolls! Hoping you are all healthy and cocooning away. Stay safe and wash, wash, wash your hands (along with that man right out of your hair, but that may be another post…).

Wash everything, for goodness sake!

So being that this is workday Wednesday and many of you are at home, er, working…. or sitting all alone in a little corner of your big office, now is the time for yours truly to provide some tips on how to have a productive workday, all on your very lonesome!

Image result for sanka  1950s
Cup that size, not that instant…

First of all, get that all important first cup of coffee poured! Now of course, being on your own, you will be the one making it, so do allot a good 15 minutes of your work time to a. find the coffee, b. wait for it to percolate (no instant Sanka for you!), and c. trade barbs and gossip with your co-… oh, right. Working solo. So a good 15 minutes then to talk to yourself.

With that accomplished, it’s time to catch up on the news. Current events are all important in this modern world! It’s how the movers and shakers make things happen, don’t you know. Of course, that’ll take you til coffee break, so you deserve a snack and a stroll around, get the pins moving.

Read all confidential information thoroughly!

Now depending on your work, it may require you to transcribe, read, sort, etc some confidential (let’s face it salacious and juicy information that is fascinating but none of your business). A model employee would just take care of it lickety-split, but hey, you’re on your own and some of this stuff is good. For instance, how did that big boss afford the ‘business trip’ with his secretary, and exactly whom has dubious charges pending. That sort of stuff. Time to be a conscientious employee and read every line, just to make sure you’re handling the information correctly!

Wow! Is it already lunch? Pretty sure it’ll take a good two hours to prepare and eat, as well as drink the well earned imbibing beverage. Don’t want to rush such things, do we?

Oh, and dang! Did you chip your nail polish on those nasty paper files earlier? Must fix that after coffee break that’s due now. Make sure the varnish is perfectly dry. Don’t want to get any on the business correspondence, do we?

And just like that, your day and nothing is done. Way to go, shoe in for Employee of the Month!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950's Ads, 1950s business, 1950s fun, 1950s glamour, Alter Ego, Americana, big business, Business Lunch, Characters, city life, cocktail culture, creative writing, Creativity, day job, diary, entertainment, Fiction, Historical, historical fiction, Humor, long read, Nostalgia, Office life, Office work, Pop Culture, postaday, Retro, Social Mores, Uncategorized, Vintage, workday, working from home, working solo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

But Ours is Called Rosie OShady

Hi there, guys and dolls! Happy St. Paddy’s Day! May the luck of the Irish be with all of us. By the way, have I ever told you about good old Rosie O’Grady in our neighborhood. Or, as we all call her, Rosie O’Shady. Yep, she’s earned that. Likes it, too!

Slainte, Everyone!

So here’s how it goes. Dear, sweet Rosie moved into town about five years ago, full of her Irish brogue. Charming girl, really. Robust redhead, enough charm to turn all the clovers to four leaf. And get all the husbands chasing down her rainbow to her pot of gold.

One leprechaun in particular, (that would be Rob, husband of Millie), seemed to have figured he had caught his fortune, til his wife found out and snapped the lid of that one down on his head. Rosie just laughed, poured him another green beer and moved on to another pipsqueak who tried to kiss her Blarney Stone (that would be Frank, who’s kisser never quite puckered up the same after that, just ask his wife Marlene…).

Our Very Own Rosie O’Shady…

You see, our Rosie is a bit of a shady lady. She runs a gambling hall out of the basement, poker table and roulette wheels included. Pretty snazzy. She also brews her beer in the shed out back (how she gets it green, I don’t want to know), and throws the liveliest parties you’ll ever attend. And the debauchery she gets away with! Let’s just say it’s the original Whisky A-Go-Go, with a Vegas floor show added in. And never gets a fine or an invitation to the local hoosegow. Such skill! Such organization! Just how does she do it?

Why, by being related to half the police department and dating the other half. In fact, we all know now that if the phone just rings and rings down at the station, just give Rosie’s a call to reach them at the second office. True. Her back porch is furnished with the latest radio and police technology for that very purpose! How handy.

Image result for rosie ogrady movie poster
Have you seen this one?

Anyhoo, sweet Rosie O’Grady may have a song and a movie all about her (one about her daughter, too), but I prefer our Rosie O’Shady with her thriving, swinging business that keeps all the cops and robbers in one place. Slainte, Rosie! That’s one clever way to keep the wind always at your back…

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950s fun, Alter Ego, cocktail culture, creative writing, Creativity, daily blog, diary, Drinks, entertainment, Holidays, Humor, Nostalgia, Parties, Pop Culture, postaday, Retro, Socializing, suburbia, Uncategorized, Vintage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Advice for Spring Blossoms

Hi there, guys and dolls! Hope you’re all faring well and ready for some romantic recommendations on free advice Friday. Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Dear Barbara Jean,

Get a load of this gorgeous green grocer!

I think the produce man at our local green grocer is delicious, but I don’t think he’s ever noticed me. What can I do to get him to see me as more than just another grocery gal shopper?

Longing Loretta in Laredo

Dear Loretta,

Oh, I know your problem. Some of those grocery guys are gorgeous! Why not strike up a conversation about his stock in trade? Pick up a pair of peaches and ask him if he thinks yours are ripe you may, at that point, invite to give them a squeeze. If he needs further encouragement ask him if he thinks the melons are ripe. Finally, you may need to resort to asking him if he has a banana (yes, I do mean just one). If at that point you have not secured a dinner invitation, he is either not yet ripe for the picking or he may prefer a different type of produce than you can provide, such as a cucumber or zucchini ( you’re a bright girl I think you can figure that one out).

Have fun fondling, Barbara Jean

Dear Barbara Jean,

I saw this darling dress that my mother and I thought would be perfect for my Spring social. Father, on the other hand, insists on coming shopping with us and whenever he sees the price tag for anything I like, he immediately says that it is too expensive and doesn’t let mother buy it for me. Barbara Jean, I really, really, really want this dress how do I get him to say “yes” to the dress?

After Yolanda and her mother are done with father
this tag will be a sight for sore eyes.

Yearning Yolanda in Yuba City

Dear Yolanda,

This one is a cinch! Get your mother to take you to the most expensive and glamorous dress stores in town and try on the skimpiest and most expensive dresses you can find. Let your father get an eyeful of those high price tags and revealing designs. While he is still in shock, take him to the store where your darling dress is and I’ll guarantee he’ll have no problem seeing your choice as sensible and smart for his young lady.

Helping you learn how to wrap your father around your little finger, Barbara Jean

Keep your letters coming! I love to help or hinder any way I can.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950s fun, 1950s glamour, 50's Fashions, advice, advice column, Alter Ego, blogaday, Characters, city life, Commitment, Communication, Conversation, creative writing, daily blog, Dating, diary, Domestic life, Etiquette, Family, family life, fashion, Fiction, Fictional Characters, flash fiction, flirting, Food, Historical, historical fiction, home life, letters, Love, Marriage, Nostalgia, opinion, Perspective, Pop Culture, postaday, Retro, Romance, Self Esteem, Shopping, Social Mores, Socializing, stories, suburbia, Teens, Uncategorized, Vintage, vintage fashion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Love, Italian Style

Hi there, guys and dolls! Getting ready to spend a wild weekend, hunkered down in your book fort? For this week’s raves n faves, I’ve got some great suggestions for some wonderful reading by one of my favorite authors, Adriana Trigiani. I’ve recommended her Big Stone Gap series last year (click here to be taken to that post), but here are some of her other wonderful stories, including the delightful Valentine series. Just click on the titles or book covers to go to Amazon to get your own copies.

Very Valentine
Book One – Very Valentine

VERY VALENTINE – (First novel in the Valentine trilogy.) The Angelini Shoe Company, one of the last family-owned businesses in Greenwich Village, has been making exquisite wedding shoes since 1903 but now teeters on the brink of financial collapse. To save their business from ruin, thirty-three-year-old Valentine Roncalli—apprentice to and granddaughter of master artisan Teodora Angelini—must bring the family’s old-world craftsmanship into the twenty-first century. Juggling her budding romance with dashing chef Roman Falconi, her duty to her family, and a design challenge presented by a prestigious department store, Valentine returns to Italy with her grandmother in a quest to build a pair of glorious shoes to beat their rivals. And in the course of discovering her true artistic voice and so much more in la bella Italia, Valentine will be turning her life and the business upside down in ways she never expected.

Book Two – Brava, Valentine

BRAVA, VALENTINE – (Second novel in the Valentine trilogy.) When Valentine’s grandmother begins a new life in Italy, she places Valentine and her nemesis, her brother Alfred, “the Prince,” as partners at the Angelini Shoe Company, makers of handcrafted wedding shoes since 1903. A once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity takes Valentine from the winding streets of Greenwich Village to the sun-kissed cobblestones of Buenos Aires, where she unearths a long-buried family secret and finds herself torn between a past love that nurtured her and a new one that promises to sustain her.

Book Three – The Supreme Macaroni Company

THE SUPREME MACARONI COMPANY – (Third novel in the Valentine trilogy.) For more than one hundred years, the Angelini Shoe Company in Greenwich Village has relied on the leather produced by Vechiarelli & Son in Tuscany. This ancient business partnership provides a twist of fate for Valentine Roncalli, the schoolteacher-turned-shoemaker, to fall in love with Gianluca Vechiarelli, a tanner with a complex past . . . and a secret. But after the wedding celebrations are over, Valentine wakes up to the reality of juggling the demands of a new business and the needs of her new family. Confronted with painful choices, Valentine remembers the wise words that inspired her in the early days of her beloved Angelini Shoe Company: “A person who can build a pair of shoes can do just about anything.” Now the proud, passionate Valentine is going to fight for everything she wants and savor all she deserves—the bitter and the sweet of life itself.

Lucia, Lucia: A Novel Kindle Edition
Lucia, Lucia

LUCIA, LUCIA – It is 1950 in glittering, vibrant New York City. Lucia Sartori is the beautiful twenty-five-year-old daughter of a prosperous Italian grocer in Greenwich Village. The postwar boom is ripe with opportunities for talented girls with ambition, and Lucia becomes an apprentice to an up-and-coming designer at chic B. Altman’s department store on Fifth Avenue. Engaged to her childhood sweetheart, the steadfast Dante DeMartino, Lucia is torn when she meets a handsome stranger who promises a life of uptown luxury that career girls like her only read about in the society pages. Forced to choose between duty to her family and her own dreams, Lucia finds herself in the midst of a sizzling scandal in which secrets are revealed, her beloved career is jeopardized, and the Sartoris’ honor is tested.

The Queen of the Big Time

THE QUEEN OF THE BIG TIME – In the late 1800s, the residents of a small village in the Bari region of Italy, on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, made a mass migration to the promised land of America. They settled in Roseto, Pennsylvania, and re-created their former lives in their new home-down to the very last detail of who lived next door to whom. The village’s annual celebration of Our Lady of Mount Carmel-or “the Big Time,” as the occasion is called by the young women who compete to be the pageant’s Queen-is the centerpiece of Roseto’s colorful old-world tradition. The industrious Castellucas farm the land outside Roseto. Nella, the middle daughter of five, aspires to a genteel life “in town,” far from the rigors of farm life, which have taken a toll on her mother and forced her father to take extra work in the slate quarries to make ends meet. But Nella’s dreams of making her own fortune shift when she meets Renato Lanzara, the son of a prominent Roseto family. Renato is a worldly, handsome, devil-may-care poet who has a way with words that makes him irresistible. Their friendship ignites into a fiery romance that Nella is certain will lead to marriage. But Nella is not alone in her pursuit: every girl in town seems to want Renato. When he disappears without explanation, Nella is left with a shattered heart. Fouryears later, Renato’s sudden return to Roseto the night before Nella’s wedding to the steadfast Franco Zollerano leaves her and the Castelluca family shaken. For although Renato has chosen a path very different from Nella’s, they are fated to live and work in Roseto, where the past hangs over them like a brewing storm. An epic of small-town life, etched in glorious detail in the trademark Trigiani style, The Queen of the Big Time is the story of a determined, passionate woman who can never forget her first love.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.

Toodles, Barbara Jean

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