Tag Archives: candles

A beautiful Family saga: The Dutch House

The Dutch House is a hauntingly beautiful family saga following the lives of the inhabitants of the eponymous and magnificent Dutch House.

The Dutch House
The Dutch House is a hauntingly beautiful family saga following the lives of the inhabitants of the eponymous and magnificent Dutch House.

Synopsis : At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.
The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.
Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives, they return to the well-worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested.

The Dutch House

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett is a beautiful and haunting saga revolving around the characters, all stemming from the eponymous Dutch House. Throughout the novel, we see the house as a character in itself. It forms an intrinsic factor is affecting the lives of all the people involved. Because of the opulence, this house brings with it with its majestic architecture, it also brings with it a huge responsibility and the issue of image.

The Dutch House’s meaning

 On the one hand, we have Cyril Conroy who had bought this magnificent house as a gift for his wife; it is his pride and he loves it. His children Maeve, and her younger brother Danny love all its nooks and crannies. But on the other hand, to his wife, it is nothing more than a burden, one that intimidates her.

The characters of Sandy and Jocelyn

The house help Sandy and Jocelyn are also portrayed as characters who love the children, the lady of the house and are always permanent fixtures, who, although on the side, are unavoidable and welcome rather. They add the warm bits throughout, showering the children with love and care where there is a lack.

The bold and brave: Maeve

I simply loved Maeve’s character. She is shown as this hard-working and kind soul who just goes on and on even in the face of hardships. I love her role, especially as an elder sister. She is always there for her brother and never hesitates to give up so that he can achieve more.

The indulged brother: Danny

Danny, on the other hand, felt like a bit of a spoilt person to me. He is forever incapable of making mature decisions, I felt and was confused as to what decision to make. He seemed like a passive person most of the time and that makes him a bit unlikeable to me.

The evil stepmother: Andrea

Coming to Andrea, the ‘evil’ stepmother, I feel that she is sort of an enigma. The author has not really provided a solid back story to her and her two daughters which is why I think I have mixed feelings for her. On the one hand, I hate her for being the typical cruel stepmother and on the other hand, my mind is still holding on, unable to let go without knowing more about her.

The Dutch House is a beautiful book

Overall, I loved the way the author has written this beautiful book. It is a truly beautiful and nostalgia-inciting book, one that pulls you into the world. The way the house got back into the particular owner’s hands (I am not going to give you a spoiler), felt as if the story had come to a full circle. In a way, it was satisfying to behold. This has been one of the best books I have read this month, without a shadow of a doubt.

I rate it 4/5 stars!

Links: Amazon, Goodreads

You might also like to check out: Some Very Dignified Disclosures, Let’s Hope For The Best, An American Marriage

Celtic Tales: Fairytales and Stories of Enchantments from Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, and Wales

Title: Celtic Tales

Illustrated by: Kate Forrester

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Genre: Short Stories/Fantasy

Format: Hardcover

Language: English

Synopsis:

Selkies, wyverns, witches, and giants. Perilous quests, true love, and animals that talk.

The traditional stories of Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, and Wales transport us to the fantastical world of Celtic folklore. These timeless tales brim with wit and magic, and each on is brought to life with elegant silhouette art in this special illustrated edition.

My review:

I received a review copy from the publishers in return for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

This was an absolute delight! I am so glad I could read this amazing set of tales, so full of magic and fantasy! I have never read any folktales from these places in the world, to be honest, and I loved every second I was immersed in them!

Separated into the categories of Tricksters, the Sea, Quests, and Romance, the stories all come with some amazing illustrations by Kate Forrester, and as is common to all folktales, morals. I found some similar tales in Nordic Tales as well and so it is really interesting to see that there are such overlaps in all our different cultures too! I absolutely enjoyed it and am giving it to my brother to read!

Verdict:

A gem! 5/5 stars!

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

If Characters from Winter Dream Were Candle Scents (Guest post!)

To say that I love candles is slightly an understatement. I love candles. Even more so – Christmas candles. So much so, I know to avoid the stores around this time of year, because I’ll want to buy them all!
Around the holiday time, many of my favorite scents and flavors become popular. Peppermint, Mocha, Cinnamon, Sugar Cookie – and more. Just the thought of reading a good book in front of a warm fire, while the air is filled with a smooth, rich “Christmas-y” scent – made me wonder if my characters from  Winter Dream were candle scents – what would they be?
And how fun of a post it would be to share with you! Now as you read “Winter Dream,” perhaps you’ll be able to choose your own favorite candle scent, and enjoy some quality “you-time” that you deserve!
 
Clara – Home for the Holidays. Cinnamon and clove, mixed with earthy cedarwood and balsam. This IS my favorite candle, of all time. I burned this scent MANY of times as I wrote “WinterDream.” When I think about the main character of this book, it feels only fitting to give her this candle.
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The Nutcracker: Balsam Forest. The wonderfully clean, wintry fresh scent of a breeze blowing through a thick stand of pines. As a Nutcracker – made of wood – would smell; he would have the scent of a wonderfully, magical forest – fit for a Snow Prince.
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Uncle Drosselmeyer: Magical Frosted Forest. An enchanted place where icy breezes playfully dance through tall, snow-coated pines. Uncle Drosselmeyer is a magical being in the story of “The Nutcracker,” and “WinterDream.” It feels only right to place him with a “magical” candle – but still stays close to the wonders of Christmas and snow. Drosselmeyer plays a key role in the mystery of the WinterDream land – and Clara and the Nutcracker’s story. I’m sure this candle would delight anyone (just as I hope the story does too!)
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Mother Ginger: Frost Gingerbread. Gingerbread freshly frosted—a holiday delight that fills any room with welcome and warmth. It would only be fitting for Mother Ginger to be represented as a warm and welcoming scent – and one that consists of ginger. She’s sure to make anyone feel at home in her inn, just as this scent should too!
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Lady Irina: Icy Blue Spruce: A fresh breath of winter forest—juniper berries, blue spruce, spearmint leaves. Lady Irina is the daughter of the Lord and Lady of Sugarland Forest – so it felt only right to give her too – a candle that had something to do with forests. But in her case, something darker – blue.
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Marzipan: Sugar Frost Christmas. Fresh-baked and topped with creamy vanilla frosting—a delicious holiday treat. I thought this was perfect for Marzipan – who is named after a delightful dessert! She, as a character is sweet and wonderfully kind to Clara upon her arrival to the WinterDream palace.
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And those are my choices for candle scents that I’d associate with my characters in “WinterDream”! Be sure to check out “WinterDream” on November 27th as it waltzes onto bookshelves near you – and of course, stop by Yankee Candle (and/or) check out local candle makers for amazingly wonderful Christmas scents as the holiday season gets underway!
 
(Guest post by the author of Blinding Night, Allerleirauh, Between the Sea and Stars, etc., Chantal Gadoury, on occasion of the upcoming release of her latest book Winter Dream)
Amazon Best Selling Author, Chantal Gadoury, is a 2011 graduate from Susquehanna University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing. Since graduation, she has published “The Songs in Our Hearts” and “The Songs We Remember,” with 48Fourteen Publishing, and “Allerleirauh,” “Between the Sea and Stars,” and “Blinding Night” with Parliament House Press. Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues with that love of writing today. Writing novels for Chantal has become a life-long dream come true! When she’s not writing, she enjoys painting, drinking lots of DD Iced Coffee, and watching Disney classics. Chantal lives in Muncy, Pennsylvania with her Mom, Sister and furry-’brother’ Taran.
Chantal Gadoury Author
Here’s the synopsis for Winter Dream!
This Christmas Eve… no creature was stirring…
Except, maybe, a mouse.
At long last, can true love break the Nutcracker’s curse?
For Clara Stahlbaum, this Christmas means the end of her youth. A daughter of the aristocracy, Clara is expected to give up her dreams of adventures and the extraordinary for more normal days as the wife of a cruel Viscount.
But when magical Uncle Drosselmeyer returns with his wondrous, dancing contraptions, and one…special gift for Clara, she is beckoned to the land of Winter Dream, where she is thrust into the greatest adventure of her wildest dreams. But will she be able to break the Nutcracker’s curse?
Uncle Drosselmeyer’s apprentice, Anton, is handsome as he is mysterious. But what is it about him Clara finds so alluring?
Winter Dream is a phenomenal retelling of The Nutcracker from the eyes of Clara Stahlbaum with all the magic of the Holiday season. If you loved S. Jae-Jones’ Wintersong, you’ll fall in love with this stunning tale of love, war, redemption, and Christmas magic.
Book Teaser Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMRGyNtnhZI
 
You can reach her at:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CGadouryAuthor
Blog: http://www.chantalgadoury.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chantalgadouryfans
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8059023.Chantal_Gadoury
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chantalgadouryauthor/
Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/Chantal-Gadoury/e/B00MTLD0P0/
Parliament House Press: http://www.parliamenthousepress.com/
Parliament House Press Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theparliamenthouse