Book Review: “Sweetbriars, Leaving the City”

It’s been awhile since I wrote about a new book I read, and today is a good day to review and recommend one. Although I have been busy lately tending our gardens, doing a little travelling, and drafting a new novelette, I always set aside a couple of hours each evening to read the books in my library. In this case, the author, Hollie Anne Marsh, got in touch with me and asked if I would be interested in reading and reviewing one of her books, “Sweetbriars, Leaving the City”. It has horses in it, so there was no hesitating on my part.

What an absolutely sweet and engaging story! I am weak for anything equestrian, and I had a hunch this novel would feed my “weakness.” I glad it did, and this story swept me away.

To summarize, Cate and her family moved to the Devon countryside from Hertfordshire, and she had to leave behind all that she knew in life: Her best friend, Beth, her classmates, the familiar landscape, et cetera. One of the best things, though, about moving to the country is that the family now lived on a horse farm, where she could ride with her mom and brother, help her dad, and engage in and compete in the pony club. Cate makes a friend in Violet, a quirky girl who is also feeling the effects of a new environment. Over time, Cate and her newfound friends get to know the mysterious Sophia, a girl who isn’t quite like the rest of them, but still loves horses, too. Ah, the comfort of shared passions!

I can’t say enough good about “Leaving the City.” The masterful writing skills of the author, Hollie Anne Marsh, impressed me greatly. I was reading a story, yet I felt completely immersed in the tale, the environments, the conversations, and the understanding of different personalities and cultures. At the end of this wonderful, wonderful story is a chapter on all the horse lingo—“from ears to tail”—that the reader should know to help round the understand of everything equestrian.

This book brought back some good memories for me, in the days of my childhood where I sometimes rode horses at the stable just eight blocks from my house, to the mornings after breakfast when I would ride my bicycle to that stable, sit on the fence, and watch and dream while I watched older kids take lessons. It was a rare occasion when I would have the three dollars saved so I could ride a horse for one hour in the ring, or venture across the street to the forest preserve and pretend I was Joan of Arc or Dale Evans (It didn’t matter who, as long as I was riding a horse!). “Leaving the City” has a lot of scenarios that are reminiscent of events I personally went through: Changing towns and schools at “that awkward pre-teen age” stage, my love of horses and riding, and the politics of making new friends and navigating a new type of life.

I highly recommend Hollie Anne Marsh‘s book,  “Sweetbriars, Leaving the City.” This is a good book for those who love horses and enjoy stories of growing up. I give it ten out of ten horseshoes. It would make a dandy, thoughtful gift for a young person who loves to read, and who wants to get lost in the equestrian world. You can find this book on Amazon. Check out the Kindle version HERE, or the paperback version HERE.

You can read more of my book reviews on Goodreads by following the link to my page HERE.

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.

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Morning Meditation: Old Fashioned Summer Day

This scene caught my eye during an early afternoon walk in town.  I took the photograph in black and white to see what it would evoke.  I took me back to a feeling of an earlier era.  How about you?

Original photograph by Susan Marie Molloy

Midnight Show

Technically, it was at twelve-thirty this morning that my beau and I stepped out on the town. The local doughnut shop was deserted, but that wasn’t our destination anyway.  It just made an interesting photograph:

Earlier yesterday, we drove into town to buy advance tickets to a movie. We were hedging our bets that it would be crowded, and we didn’t want to be left out of seeing the movie. We spent the rest of our Friday doing the usual, except we did toss in a short nap, so we could be fresh during the twelve-thirty a.m. show.

At a few minutes after midnight, we turned in our tickets, bought a stale bag of popcorn and a couple of drinks, then walked to the theater where the movie was to be shown. There were the usual advertisements and trivia questions on the silver screen, a few coming attractions trailers, then the lights started to dim. I turned around, and this is what I saw:

The entire theater was empty, except for my beau and I. Can you beat that?

The lights completely went out, and the show began:

Yes, we saw a special showing of the 1972 version of “Superfly”!

When this movie originally came out, I was too young to be able to see it, and my beau was overseas in the military. So—this was our first time watching it. What struck me—or reminded me—is how cool people dressed back then, with the natty suits, spiffy hats (reminded me of the old men’s store we went to last week!), the great ‘fros and ‘dos, and the cars! That was a time when I could tell the difference between models. Curtis Mayfield was in it; great stuff.

There were beer cans with the old pull off tabs. A box of Sunshine® Teeny Pretzels. Wide bellbottoms. Long, long coats. And the priceless line, “You want to give up all this? An eight-track player and a color TV in every room?”

Those were the days.

Another couple of things that struck me about his movie was the cursing. There was less cursing than in the newer movies of today. Plus, there was an intimate scene or two that was tame, tame, tame by today’s standards, too. The basic story of “Superfly” revolved around drug dealing, which I didn’t know until I saw it.

What’s funny is that this past February, my beau and I spent a week at home digging up old Blaxploitation films via YouTube. We saw some of the best, worst, and whackiest ones. It was an education. I mentioned to my beau that I wished they would bring some of these old films to the show so people could watch them on the big silver screen. And look at what we watched this morning!

I also read that a new “Superfly” movie is out, and the synopsis tells me the new film nothing like the original. There are too many differences to infer that it’s remake. It sounds more like a new generation story.  I’d name it, “Son of Superfly”.  Ha ha.

So, all in all, we saw the special showing of the 1972 “Superfly”, we had the theater to ourselves, and all for a whopping $12 and an abbreviated amount of sleep.

It was well worth it, and we’d do it again.

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.

 

Walking and Peacocking

The weather was sunny, warm, and dry, so my beau and I decided to take a midday break last Friday from our work and drive into town for a quick bite and a leisurely walk-around.

Our first stop after a hamburger and iced tea was a men’s department store that dates from around 1950. Look at this one section of the store’s window! Talk about peacocking:

My beau bought a couple of stylish hats and put a few fancy schmancy shoes and suits on his must-buy-later list. There were a couple of fedoras that I had my eye on, but they were felt, and I would rather have summer-friendly straw. Maybe next time.

We took up our walk, where we passed this interesting café. It looks like it would be interesting to stop by for a cup o’ joe sometime:

Looks like Marilyn is still popular and has a summer job here:

A sad little sight. I wondered what was here once:

Before we knew it, the sky quickly clouded up and turned a dark grey. The rain fell in buckets, but only when we got back to the car. It’s that time of year, where almost every day it rains, either as a happy little sun shower, or furious thunderstorms. The particular one that day was one of the angry types.

We happened upon a few other interesting sights, which I will share later with their stories.

And wouldn’t you know it? I just looked out of my window now, and the sky is clouding up already. I’m hoping for a light shower.

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.

Morning Meditation: A Pelican in the Sun

I took this photograph of a pelican flying away from the sun near the barrier island of Santa Rosa, Florida.

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