The Library currently has a display of books for people who are fans of Downton Abbey, and I am one of them so I found the book Below Stairs by Margaret Powell to be fascinating. Powell was born in 1907 and had to start work when she was 13 years old. The book was originally published in 1968 but was reissued. The book jacket of the reissued edition says “the classic kitchen maid’s memoir that inspired Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey” and that sums up the book.
For many years, the Fond du Lac Public Library has been one of the only places in the area where the public can pick up free tax-preparation forms. However, the Internal Revenue Service recently informed the library that it would not provide printed copies of instruction booklets, citing budget cuts. Forms will be available – they likely will start arriving at the library in late January – but not instruction booklets for federal taxes.
The Sweetheart Sisters series by Shirley Jump combines sweet stories with plenty of heat. Set in Rescue Bay, Florida, the "sisters" are a trio of sassy, well-meaning grannies living at the Golden Years Retirement Home who think their mission in life is to play matchmaker for the town of Rescue Bay, all while giving some old-school lessons in love. Add in the elements of an animal rescue facility and numerous subplots, and these stories tug at your heartstrings while making you laugh out loud.
Juliet’s Nurse by Lois Leveen is historical fiction set in Verona, Italy that provides a backstory to William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It made me re-read Romeo and Juliet after finishing this book. Half of the book covers the years 1360-1363 from Juliet’s birth until she is three years old. The second half covers the five fateful days as depicted in Shakespeare’s play when Juliet is fourteen years old and meets and falls in love with Romeo.
Family and friends are such an important part of the holiday season and Four Friends by Robyn Carr is a perfect example of appreciating both. Carr has a way of writing about real people with real lives, and the four women in this book deal with very hard and very real issues. The constant throughout the book is friendship, and the strong bond between the four women sees them through. They may not always agree with each other's decisions, but their support for one another is unwavering and makes them stronger in the end.
Jan Karon continues her Mitford series, set in a fictional small North Carolina mountain town, with Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good. This is classic Christian fiction by Jan Karon—heartwarming, character-driven, and hopeful. Retired Episcopal priest Tim Kavanagh returns to Mitford with his wife Cynthia after journeys to his Mississippi hometown and a trip to Ireland. There is an upheaval at his old parish, and Father Tim is asked to fill in for the current priest who is leaving.