Michaeline: Pure indulgence

I’m having a very indulgent week. I made strawberry jam near the beginning of it, and every day since, I’ve had a big slice of buttered toast smeared with jam to go with my breakfast (brunch? lunch?) every day since. I feel so decadent!

Then, the day I had to go to the dentist, I spoiled myself rotten with shopping therapy, even though it was just a final fitting for my mouthguard (no drilling, no scraping, or digging, or prodding – I don’t know why I thought I needed to reward myself). Not one, not two, but three little boxes of plants and flowers from three different shops. I was proud of myself for avoiding shops four and five.

Left box: morning glories, blooming nemophila, blooming white snapdragons, green and white geranium leaves. Middle box: blooming Moody Blues 30 cm. tall phlox, blooming cotton candy pink petunias, button mums and a rose geranium. Right box: tall blooming hot pink snapdragons, shorter blooming light pink snap dragons. All in the trunk of a Toyota Aqua.
Trunk of flowers. Want to know the details? Ask in the comments. E.M. Duskova

And at the last stop of the day, I got ice cream. Loads of ice cream, not just for me but for the whole family. Spoiling myself is great, but spoiling others is also a simple pleasure and indulgence.

Visible: box of chocolate-covered ice creams on a a stick; two pints of Lady Borden ice cream (1 chocolate, 1 vanilla), three double packages of Papiko brand chocolate mini-smoothies, five packages of chocolate ice cream "berries" and two packages of pear ice sherbet "berries". Japanese ice cream.
A basket full of ice cream. I’ll take any questions in the comments below, but I do want to point out, there are five adults in the family, and I intend this to last two weeks. (Although, two adults in the family have no qualms about indulging in ice cream, so good intentions may be lost along the way.) E.M. Duskova
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Michaeline: Wolf Hall and the Journey with a Well-Known End

Thomas Cromwell sitting at a table covered with a beautiful green fabric. A book is by his side, with writing quill, letters, and broken seals.
Thomas Cromwell, the main character of Wolf Hall, was a practical commoner with a genius for languages and people. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

It’s interesting to think about how stories grab our attention and propel us along through the pages until the end.

When I was a kid, I read mostly fantasy and fairy tales. The point was to find out what happened – although, I often cheated and checked out the last pages of the book to make sure it was a happy, satisfying ending. Even as a very young reader, I wanted a HEA, and I disliked cliffhangers – after all, I was in a small town 90 miles away from a Waldenbooks, so if there was a sequel, I needed to know I could get it soon.

But the romance genre isn’t really about the ending; it’s about the journey. Most romance writers make sure the reader knows who the main couple is, and it’s not in the romance genre unless the writer establishes a relationship that looks like it is going to last.

OK, digression, some romance writers like to play with the genre. I’m thinking of Georgette Heyer’s Cotillion. If you haven’t read it, it’s a masterclass in playfulness. SPOILER: there is a HEA, but it’s not with the delightful, handsome rogue.

I’m reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel this week. It’s about Thomas Cromwell in the time of Henry the VIII and Anne Boleyn. It won the 2009 Man Booker Prize, and the language is a bit dense (though very smooth and easy to read). The plot is not a thrill a minute, and the writer stays far away from the romance between Henry and Anne . . . because we all know it’s going to turn out with Anne getting her head chopped off.

So why read it?

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