Since the thermostat told me it was 63 degrees inside late this morning, I decided to get dressed in some real clothes and strip off the multiple layers of pajamas and the robe that I was wearing (yes, I’m a baby in the cold) and headed out to Starbucks to take advantage of their heat and free wifi to get some work done.
Ryan joined me there in the early afternoon for some hot drinks!
Grande peppermint mocha for me, chai tea latte for him.
Love the quarter-zip sweater look.
Before heading to Starbucks, I ate leftovers of last night’s homemade chicken soup and a piece of cheese toast (which also happened to be my morning snack).
Since we had some veggies on the verge of death and lots of chicken broth on hand (buy one get one free boxes at Publix!), chicken soup sounded like the perfect dinner last night. It also made a great belly-warming lunch this afternoon.
Last night I combined the following in a big pot:
- 1 pound chicken tenders, chopped
- 1 large box reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 3/4 large onion, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 1 yellow squash, chopped
- Leftover boiled collard greens from our New Year’s Day dinner (added at the very end)
I let everything simmer for about 30 minutes and then we dug in!
I meant to add noodles, but in the end the soup was already so full of veggies and chicken that noodles seemed like they would overwhelm the soup. It was delicious without ‘em!
And now it’s time for some book club discussion!
As always, please feel free to post your book reviews in the comments section. Discussion questions for the book are noted at the end of the post!
The Violets of March
The December PBF book club selection was The Violets of March, a book I wasn’t sure would be exactly my style until I began reading it and got completely sucked in!
The book follows Emily Wilson, a recently divorced young woman whose married unexpectedly ends following her husband’s infidelity. In need of clarity and some time to think and breathe, Emily books a flight to visit her Aunt Bee to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington.
While there, Emily begins reading a diary written much like a novel from the 1940s that she finds in the nightstand of one of the guest rooms in her aunt’s house. She becomes completely immersed in the story of Esther and her complicated and tumultuous love life, noticing parallels between Esther’s story and the things going on around her on the island. Emily finds herself constantly wondering how Esther’s life intertwines with her own.
It was Esther’s story that sucked me into The Violets of March. Esther’s diary kept me glued to the pages of the book and added mystery and intrigue to the novel. I couldn’t wait to read about what would happen between Esther and the true love of her life, Elliot, and what would happen to her marriage her husband.
The author of the book, Sarah Jio, did an excellent job of hooking me as a reader by constantly revealing just enough details and clues about Esther’s life and how it might relate to Aunt Bee and Emily’s life to keep me guessing and making my own predictions. I was so curious about how Aunt Bee and Emily would find themselves involved in Esther’s story and how Esther impacted their lives and that was the underlying mystery that kept me so infatuated with the book.
The Violets of March wasn’t a whoopsy romance novel like I anticipated, but was a mysterious book about love, loss and finding yourself again when unexpected events interrupt the path you’ve always envisioned for yourself.
SPOILER ALERT + My One Frustration
One thing that frustrated me about this book? ESTHER.
Her decision to fake her death absolutely killed me. I had a hard time understanding how she could fake her death a live a life without Elliot if she really did love him that much. But her “death” was basically the backbone for all of the tension and intrigue in the novel, so I wouldn’t change it. I am just a sucker for love stories and wish she could’ve been reunited with Elliot for longer than just a few moments before his death.
The Violets of March Discussion Questions
- Whose story did you find more interesting: Emily’s or Esther’s? Why?
- What do you think of Esther’s decision to fake her own death?
- Did you find yourself rooting for Emily and Jack to work out throughout the novel? Did you ever have conflicting feelings about their relationship?