This is the moment you've been waiting for: the announcement of next four selections of our book club.
I received a copy of Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe in a book subscription box I tried out. Sadly, it has been languishing in my TBR stack for almost two years and so I thought that choosing it as our August/September selection would be a good push for me to finally read it. Plus, it sounds charming, I believe a touch of magical realism now and then is good for the soul, there's a flock of blackbirds that only sing at night, and of course, there's pie!
From the Publisher:
Nestled in the mountain shadows of Alabama lies the little town of Wicklow. It is here that Anna Kate has returned to bury her beloved Granny Zee, owner of the Blackbird Café.
It was supposed to be a quick trip to close the café and settle her grandmother’s estate, but despite her best intentions to avoid forming ties or even getting to know her father’s side of the family, Anna Kate finds herself inexplicably drawn to the quirky Southern town her mother ran away from so many years ago, and the mysterious blackbird pie everybody can’t stop talking about.
As the truth about her past slowly becomes clear, Anna Kate will need to decide if this lone blackbird will finally be able to take her broken wings and fly.
I've only thumbed through the book a bit so far but it looks like there is more food inspiration than the mysterious Blackbird Pie the cafe serves so I am looking forward to seeing what this Alabama set novel inspires in our kitchens.
Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
Deadline for contributing your post is Thursday, September 30, 2021
This novel was originally recommended, on our CTB suggested reading page, five years ago by Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm. It sounded quite intriguing and so I looked further and read some reviews. What an original concept and development of the whole idea. A bit of historical fiction, some romance on the high seas, adventure with pirates, and the food!! It looks to be a great story for us all.
Here's what the Publishers have to say:
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. He will be spared, she tells him, 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. His first triumph at sea is actual bread, made from a sourdough starter that he 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-banana cider.
But Mabbot—who exerts a curious draw on the chef—is under siege. Hunted by a deadly privateer and plagued by a saboteur hidden on her ship, she pushes her crew past exhaustion in her search for the notorious Brass Fox. As Wedgwood begins to sense a method to Mabbot’s madness, he must rely on the bizarre crewmembers 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.
Sounds like a fun read, with lots of food inspiration.
Claudia, Honey From Rock
Deadline for contributing your post is Tuesday, November 30, 2021
On a recent week’s vacation, I ran across a quick blurb for Midnight Chicken in a magazine. I was intrigued. I then found an NPR review which made me even more determined to pick this "book of hope" for my hosting gig. This review describes Risbridger writing as echoing “Bridget Jones' self-effacing wittiness, Julia Child's companionable forgiveness and Sylvia Plath's poetic prose.” What a combination and such high praise!
Midnight Chicken contains recipes with categories for breakfasts, soups & breads, picnics, “Storecupboard Suppers & Midnight Feasts,” weekend cooking, and “Sweet Things.” But, it’s also a poetic tale of hope and perseverance and savoring life.
Debra, Eliot's Eats
Deadline for contributing your post is Monday, January 31, 2022
To round up the list of selections, for the February / March 2022 edition Simona (briciole) picked the novel Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews (2014)
Have you ever heard of a spy novel with recipes? I had not until I read the description of Red Sparrow (the first volume in a trilogy) written by a former officer of the CIA’s Operations Directorate.
From the Publisher:
In contemporary Russia, state intelligence officer Dominika Egorova has been drafted to become a “Sparrow”—a spy trained in the art of seduction to elicit information from their marks. She’s been assigned to Nathaniel Nash, a CIA officer who handles the organization’s most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence.
The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception and, inevitably, a forbidden spiral of physical attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America’s valuable mole in Moscow.
The combination of espionage thriller and recipe was too intriguing to pass. You can get a taste of it in the Excerpt available on the publisher's website
Deadline for contributing your post: Thursday, March 31, 2022.
Remember that membership in our book club is open to anyone and we hope you will join us by reading these selections and creating inspired recipes. For more information about participating, click here.
As always, specific announcement posts can be found at Cook the Books at the beginning of each two-month period and the current selection is always shown on the right side of the homepage.
August / September 2021: Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber (hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen)
October / November 2021: Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown (hosted by Claudia at Honey from Rock)
December 2021 / January 2022: Midnight Chicken by Ella Risbridger (hosted by Debra at Eliot's Eats)
February / March 2022: Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews (hosted by Simona at briciole)
Happy reading and cooking!
It looks to be a fun selection of books, and I'm looking forward to getting inspired from them all!
Thanks for posting this up, Simona. Interesting group. Can't wait to start checking them out.
You're welcome, Claudia and Debra. I'm also very much looking forward to reading these books :)
What a great selection in these upcoming months. I'm very excited and thanks Claudia. I had forgotten all about wanting to read that book and now I cannot wait.
Glad you like the selections, Wendy. Happy reading :)
Midnight at the Blackbird Care does sound good. Happy Reading
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