Last week, my friend, Kate, and I received a rather cryptic email from a lady that we both know from church way back named Laura Valenti, she wanted to have lunch with us to talk to us about something that she hoped would benefit us (yes, it was that cryptic). Kate and I decided that we would go to the lunch together just incase she wanted us to sell Amway (no offense to those of you out there who sell or buy Amway). We met her for lunch at the Three French Hens and their Chicks, a not new, but new location, delightful restaurant and whatnot store of various and sundry things. I'd like to take a moment to talk about the food I had at this restaurant only because I love food, especially flavorful combinations. I had the chicken salad which was good because they made it how I like it with nuts and grapes and celery on a croissant and then I had the half Maple Pear Salad...butter lettuce and some other dark lettuce with feta cheese, pears, pecans, Craisins and a maple syrup vinigrette (seriously amazing), to drink iced Jasmine tea, and for dessert coconut cream pie and a bite of Laura's burnt sugar pie. Sigh. If you are from the area and have not been to this restaurant, go now and while you are there check out the antique store, Apple Days and the wonderful booth of do-dads for kiddos including hair bows, my weakness.
While we ate our lovely meals, Laura didn't waste time telling us about what she wanted. She'd been to a Writer's Workshop and wanted us to preview her latest book The Heart of the Spring to see if and how we could use it in our classes. And, while we were having a lovely conversation about family and teaching and summer, she gave us each a free copy of the book.
From the back cover:
Eighteen year old Becky Darling is thrilled with her first job at the Brice Inn in 1924, especially when she learns that Bennett Spring may become Missouri's first state park. It sounds like real progress until she discovers her beloved father is working hard against the idea. Life during that Prohibition summer is further complicated by her older brother's involvement in illegal moonshine, the impending birth of a new brother or sister and the surprise arrival of a state senator and his handsome aide. Becky can't help but wonder if life at Bennett Spring will ever be carefree again?I look forward to reading this book because it is historical (Valenti did all of her own research by the way) and for young adults, young adults who, nowadays, don't care enough to know anything about the area in which they live.
I asked her if I could talk about it on my blog and also if I could interview her later (which I hope to do later this week), right now I'm excited about reading a book detailing this area of Missouri and I am reading all about Becky and her family who 90 years ago lived just down the way in the land of trout and bass fishing.
I am amazed at how many wonderfully talented writers there are in the state of Missouri and am looking forward to reading this book that Ellen Gray Massey said is about "fishing, moonshining, distrust of outsiders, beauty of nature, importance of family and a romance."
Oh, and if you want to know more about Laura Valenti before I post the interview, she has a website and started a blog in January all of which can be found at: www.betweenthestarandthecross.com