Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Farewell to Brookstone

There comes a moment in the life of a senior when the writing is on the wall. No matter how much you love your home, you realize that you must downsize. The choices are limited. You can try to continue to go it on your own in a smaller apartment or make an even more drastic choice and move to an assisted living facility. 

My husband and I have opted for a self-owned condo in a new apartment complex directly across the street from a shopping mall. The mall has everything we could possibly need: from a Wal-Mart and a giant drug store; to a Best Buy; a Home Depot; a branch of the bank we use; and even a British Columbia Government Liquor Store. We can walk to it all.

A block away is the City Hall, the police station and a public library. Oh, and did I mention the ten different restaurants and fast food outlets also within walking distance. We do feel we have hit the jackpot in retirement living. 

Of course, it means leaving the lovely townhouse in its jeweled setting of forested green space and babbling brooks where we have resided the last twelve years. A place of respite as we both recovered from life threatening illnesses. 

Still even at this age, life is good and we look forward to a few more years of reading and travelling. Not quite ready for the old rocking chair yet.

For the next few weeks, I’m afraid my blogs will be rather spasmodic as we cope with ridding ourselves of years of accumulated “stuff,” the move itself, and a nice cruise we have promised ourselves to recoup from all this trauma.

Wishing you all the best until 2014.

Monday, November 3, 2014

An Excellent Mystery Series Where the Novels 'Stand Alone.'

If you know anything about me, you realize that I am very much interested in researching my family history. It’s an exciting and rewarding hobby and one that often provides an author with some great ideas for historical fiction novels. My own books are based on the few facts I have discovered about my Huguenot ancestors and their lives after fleeing France and settling in England.

Steve Robinson is an author who is also using genealogy as the basis for his books. He has come up with a great protagonist by the name of Jefferson Tayte who does genealogical research for a living. In each book, there is a mystery attached to his historical findings and he goes in search of the answers. Usually it’s where no man has dared to tread before and some of what he digs up puts the genealogist in grave danger. 

“The Lost Empress”  is the fourth genealogical mystery I've read by Steve Robinson. I love the technique he uses in writing these books. There is usually Jefferson‘s own story as he tries to unravel mysteries of the past; and then there are the actual stories of those who came before. The author manages to do an excellent job of interspersing the two. 

Although this book is part of a series, it stands alone just fine. One of Tayte's clients thinks that her recently deceased grandmother may have actually been a woman who supposedly drowned when "The Empress of Ireland" floundered and sank in the St. Lawrence River in 1914. Taking what pictures the granddaughter has given him and what info he can dig up on the internet, Jefferson is off to England once more to speak to the descendants of the lady who drowned. When he is met by definite hostility, he is convinced that the family has a shameful secret they do not want unearthed.

You can't help loving the somewhat overweight and uncoordinated Jefferson with his love of chocolate bars and his timidity of aggressive women. Enjoyed this read and look forward to the next Tayte book.