Back to work this morning after a lovely week off. The tomatoes, basil & lettuce have been planted, the vegie garden mulched, the Christmas cake made & lots of reading, walking & playing with the cats has been done. A perfect holiday, in fact.
At one point last week, I had four books on the go, which is a lot, even for me. I reread Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers & then realised that it’s less than a year since I last reread it. I finished two other books that I’ll be reviewing later this week. And I’ve been dipping into Persephone no 100, The Persephone Book of Short Stories. This is a celebratory collection of short stories because one of the specialties of Persephone Books is the short story collection. About a third of these stories have been published in short story collections in the Persephone collection, another third have featured in the Persephone Quarterly & Biannual & the rest are stories by authors not published by Persephone. The authors include Persephone favourites Dorothy Whipple, E M Delafield, Mollie Panter-Downes & Dorothy Canfield Fisher. The “new” authors include several who would be perfect for Persephone’s list in the future – Phyllis Bentley, Malachi Whitaker & Helen Hull (who is about to become a Persephone author when her book, Heat Lightning, is published next year).
Two of my favourite short stories are in the collection. Good Evening, Mrs Craven by Mollie Panter-Downes is the title story of the WWII short story collection that was one of Persephone’s early successes. I love this poignant story of a woman who is a mistress, not a wife. She has met her lover every Thursday night but when war breaks out & he’s posted overseas, she realises that she will have no right to be told if he’s wounded or killed. Roman Fever by Edith Wharton is a story of secrets & misunderstandings between two women who meet again after many years on a visit to Rome. It’s a beautifully subtle story with an ending that you will never forget. I’ve read it many times & I’m always moved by the last few lines.
I’ve bought several cookbooks lately & this lovely book about baking was one of them. I couldn’t wait to try a recipe so I chose the Marbled Chocolate Crumble Cake.
Whether it looks like the picture in the book will have to wait until morning tea time when I see if I followed Rachel’s directions properly or overdid the swirling! The recipe called for two bowls of cake batter, one plain & one chocolate. Spoonfuls of each mixture are placed in the tin & then it’s swirled together with a skewer to give a marbled effect when it’s cut. It’s so easy to give the mixture one more swirl but it looks alright from the outside. Fingers crossed!