It is 1930, the midst of the Great Depression. After her mysterious role in a family tragedy, passionate, strong-willed Thea Atwell, age fifteen, has been cast out of her Florida home, exiled to an equestrienne boarding school for Southern debutantes. High in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with its complex social strata ordered by money, beauty, and girls' friendships, the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is a far remove from the free-roaming, dreamlike childhood Thea shared with her twin brother on their family's citrus farm--a world now partially shattered. As Thea grapples with her responsibility for the events of the past year that led her here, she finds herself enmeshed in a new order, one that will change her sense of what is possible for herself, her family, her country.
Weaving provocatively between home and school, the narrative powerfully unfurls the true story behind Thea's expulsion from her family, but it isn't long before the mystery of her past is rivaled by the question of how it will shape her future. Part scandalous love story, part heartbreaking family drama, "The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls "is an immersive, transporting page-turner--a vivid, propulsive novel about sex, love, family, money, class, home, and horses, all set against the ominous threat of the Depression--and the major debut of an important new writer.
It is 1970. "Bean" Holladay is twelve and her sister Liz is fifteen when their artistic mother Charlotte, a woman "who flees every place she's ever lived at the first sign of trouble," takes off to "find herself." She leaves her girls enough money for food to last a month or two. But when Bean gets home from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz board a bus from California to Virginia, where their widowed Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying antebellum mansion that's been in the family for generations.
An impetuous optimist, Bean discovers who her father was, and learns many stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Money is tight so Liz and Bean start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town, a big man who bullies workers, tenants, and his wife. Bean adores her whip-smart older sister, inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, non-conformist. But when school starts in the fall, it's Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz in the car with Maddox.
The author of "The Glass Castle," hyper-alert to abuse of adult power, has written a gorgeous, riveting, heartbreaking novel about triumph over adversity and people who find a way to love the world despite its flaws and injustices.
A gripping adventure, a seaborne romance, and a twist on the tale of Scheherazade--with the best food ever served aboard a pirate's ship
The year is 1819, and the renowned chef Owen Wedgwood has been kidnapped by the ruthless pirate Mad Hannah Mabbot. After using her jade-handled pistols to assassinate his employer, lord of the booming tea trade, she announces to the terrified cook that he will be spared as long as he puts exquisite food in front of her every Sunday without fail.
To appease the red-haired captain, Wedgwood gets cracking with the meager supplies on board--weevil-infested cornmeal, salted meat he suspects was once a horse. His first triumph at sea is actual bread, made from a sourdough starter that Wedgwood leavens in a tin under his shirt throughout a roaring battle, as men are cutlassed all around him. Soon he's making tea-smoked eel and brewing pineapple wine.
But Mabbot--who exerts a curious draw on the chef--is under siege. Hunted by a deadly privateer, plagued by a saboteur hidden among her devoted crew, and outnumbered in epic clashes with England's greatest ships of the line, Captain Mabbot pushes her crew past exhaustion in her search for the notorious King of Thieves, the Brass Fox. As Wedgwood begins to sense a method to Mabbot's madness, he must rely on the bizarre crew members he once feared: Mr. Apples, the fearsome giant who loves to knit; Feng and Bai, martial arts masters sworn to defend their captain; and Joshua, the deaf cabin boy who becomes the son Wedgwood never had.
"Cinnamon and Gunpowder "is a swashbuckling epicure's adventure simmered over a surprisingly touching love story--with a dash of the strangest, most delightful cookbook never written. Eli Brown has crafted a uniquely entertaining novel full of adventure: the Scheherazade story turned on its head, at sea, with food.