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By Midge Lyndee
Book Review 

Oh, To Love ...

The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment


February 5, 2022

There are all kinds of love in this world. Valentine's Day celebrates romantic love but again, I choose to mix it up a bit. We will start with dogs...

"Alice Louise's Silver Linings" by Sarah Kathryn Frey, takes you into the world of service dog training, and in this case, from the very beginning with a rambunctious Double Doodle pup and a girl willing to give a silly dog a chance to serve. Sarah Kate lives with serious illness but also with optimism, giving this dog she names Alice Louise a chance to show she has what it takes.

The training involved in preparing a pup for service is intense. There are necessary rules to follow and most importantly, the building of a deep companionship based on love that ensures the safety which people like Sarah need in their lives. What I liked best about this book is the care the author took to educate the reader on the process, while making it fun by telling the story through the voice of the dog. Many find inspiration in this book, and the obvious love between Sarah and Alice Louise touches the heart.

Teen love takes on a whole new perspective in "11 Paper Hearts" by Kelsey Hartwell. Ella has a perfect life with high school going great. She has lots of friends and a boyfriend. Valentine's Day is looking rosy. Then the car accident happens and Ella wakes with amnesia and many pieces of memory missing, including why she broke off her relationship with her boyfriend before the crash. Move ahead one year to the next Valentine's Day and Ella is still struggling with her memory, but when she can, she hides that fact. The school fundraising project is selling paper hearts for people to inscribe and offer to friends and sweethearts. Ella has no expectation of receiving paper Valentines except from her closet girlfriends. Then they mysteriously arrive, 11 paper hearts. Do they lead to friendship? Romance? Maybe answers to her lost memories? And why 11? Love can come in many forms and fill a wide range of needs.

Caroline Thomas waits 50 years for her husband to come home from war. She waters her roses faithfully, the roses that they had so joyfully planted at their new home before he waved goodbye from the train window. She had slipped him a Valentine heart to carry with him. Then he never came home. She had their baby and raised her son alone. He grew up happy and he married, having a son of his own. It was her grandson, who wanted to help his grandmother close this long awaited chapter in her life. He vowed to bring his grandfather's body home to her. There is a movie version of this book that played on the Hallmark Channel at the end of 2021 in honor of Betty White. She played Caroline with a gripping and heart wrenching performance, doing the book "The Last Valentine" by author Jonas Michael Pratt proud, giving readers a chance to see the emotions play out before their eyes. Not a dry eye in the house, at least in my house, with this one.

Going in a different direction, after 22 years of marriage, Katherine Price is expecting flowers and champagne and a dinner after work at their favorite restaurant. But in actuality, it is her husband who is "expecting." He is expecting a child with the other woman. A woman Katherine had no idea was in the midst of their comfortable, if childless, marriage. He tells her in the note sitting by the beautiful roses she was expecting to be waiting for her on the kitchen counter. He tells her with a note and she is devastated.

Not the usual theme for a happy Valentine's book for sure. But sometimes bad things bring good in the end, and finding oneself is a precious gift, especially since Katherine did not realize she was lost. And where does she end up looking for herself? In France of course, in the south of France. In Provence. And Paris. And cobblestone streets where she would not by chance see her ex husband walking his baby in a pram with his new love at his side. In France where flowers live in the air and good wines and foods warm the body as well as the soul. France is a place one can love again if past love has brought destruction. It is a place of beauty and hope. "The Promise of Provence" by Patricia Sands is the first book of a three part trilogy. Good reads for Valentine's Day into spring.

As I said, there are all kinds of love in the world. I hope you enjoy many of them in your daily lives! Happy Valentine's Day, with love, Midge!

Good books.

Good reading.

*Midge Lyn'dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.


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