I usually review paranormal stories of some sort, whether they are YA, NA, or Adult, and on occasion I review a contemporary romance novel, and so I was excited to read OLD SINS, LONG SHADOWS because it strays from the usual books that I read. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the story, but as soon as I read the first page I got a slight thrill as I was taken back to my college days when I took 18th Century Literature and read all of the usual classics of that era, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, etc… I enjoyed this story even more because it had more edge and unexpected turns than the traditional classics. Enjoy the blurb and review and afterward be sure to check out my Pinterest experiment making a rainbow swirl cake 🙂
Nominated for the 2014 RONÉ “Best Indie or Small Published book of 2013 Award”. A Cornish Victorian romance set against the backdrop of the magnificent Bosvenna Estate, with eccentric rural characters and the sweeping hills of the dramatic Bodmin Moor. Janey Carhart’s story is a tale of obsession, jealousy and love.
At the age of nine, Janey’s younger sisters die from scarlet fever and her grief stricken mother blames Janey for their deaths. Financial difficulties and a desire to win back her mother’s love, forces Janey to enter service where she quickly rises through the ranks.
Upon her arrival to the elegant Cornish Country Estate, she successfully secures a position of a lady’s maid for the wealthy and powerful Brockenshaw family. An exchange of letters between Lady Brockenshaw and her son ignites Janey’s interest, but Janey’s feelings for this mysterious and charming gentleman soon change her life forever.
Old sins cast long shadows and not only does Janey’s mother’s wrath affect Janey’s life, there are others whose sins risk destroying her, the people she cares about and her capacity to love again. Daniel Kellow, her neighbour, offers his help. Can she trust this man who has, it is rumoured, killed a man? Who is the real Daniel Kellow and can she trust him? Can he trust her?
This has been my of my favorite books of the year so far! Don’t let the cover fool you. Even though it is beautiful, I don’t think it portrays the emotional depth and romantic roller coaster that is experienced by the main character, Janey. Told from multiple points of view, OLD SINS, LONG SHADOWS is mostly told from the viewpoint of Janey who is hired as a lady’s maid. She struggles to find her way amongst the rest of the staff and soon fights her attraction to two very different men – one who is above her class and the other who is abrupt, mysterious, and aloof.
As the story progresses through rich English language and imagery of the Cornish countryside, made more realistic by an author who is from the country, Janey is confronted with one emotional struggle after another. It was a tale of love, turmoil, and emotional struggle, and without giving the story away, I adored the ending even though I didn’t want the story to end, and highly recommend this story to anyone who enjoys a rich, romantic historical saga. This was a story whose characters stayed with me long after I finished the book.
***** 5 Enthusiastic Stars!!!
My daughter knew exactly what she wanted for her 6th birthday – a rainbow swirl cake and a butterfly themed birthday party. I prefer homemade cake over store bought, and I am certainly not the most artistic cake decorator out there, but I came up with a cake design that was cute for a 6-year-old’s party and easy enough that anyone with a basic sense of how to bake a cake can do 🙂
The batter itself was easy because I used a simple box cake mix. I’m usually all about making everything from scratch – which is what I did for the frosting – but for this recipe, a box cake mix was just fine. To make a four-layer cake, as seen in the picture, I used two boxes. The rainbow swirl part is easy. As you can see in the pictures below, I measured out equal parts of cake batter into separate bowls then added food coloring to each.
After that it was a simple matter of dropping various colors into the cake pans.
I made sure to allow the cakes to cool completely before removing them from the pans, so the cake wouldn’t crack. The next step was to make the delicious, light and creamy frosting. I am usually picky about frosting, that’s one of the reasons I don’t like store bought cake, the frosting is usually too heavy and thick. If you like a light frosting, this one is perfect. (Note this recipe is for 2 round cake layers. If you want 4 layers as I made you’ll have to double the recipe.)
Cool Whip Frosting
- 1 8oz. Cool Whip (thawed)
- 1 3.5 oz package of instant vanilla pudding (other flavors would be good too)
- 1 Cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (that’s what the recipe calls for but I used orange extract instead. SO good!)
Combine the pudding with milk and flavoring. Mix until smooth. Gently fold in Cool Whip.
Once the frosting is made it’s a simple matter of laying down each layer of cake and spreading the Cool Whip mixture on top of each layer. Once all of the layers are stacked, spread the remainder of the frosting to completely cover it.
There was no way I was going to get the frosting perfectly smooth, so instead I used a fork and swirled it through the entire cake to give it texture. After that, it was a simple matter of pressing in the small candies around the cake. I was afraid the candies would be hard, but they were chocolately and soft on the inside (found in the cake department at Walmart). The butterflies on top were lollipops ordered from Oriental trading company. Super easy to stick into the cake. The only mistake I made (and I should have known better), don’t put the candies in until you’re almost ready to serve it. I made the cake the night before and decorated it, and by the next morning, a lot of the coloring from the candies had dripped into the white frosting. It was still cute, but if you want a cake that looks as perfect as possible, I would wait to decorate it.
Going along with the butterfly theme, I also found a few fruit, veggie, and candy ideas on Pinterest and tried to recreate them. The kids all thought it was fun 🙂
My daughter also insisted on a pinata. While I was considering projects for her friends, I came across these cute canvas butterfly bags, also from Oriental Trading Company. I bought fabric markers, and the bags served not only as a project for the girls, but also as candy holders once the pinata was cracked open 🙂
For more Pinterest ideas check out my Pinterest page. I also have pinned images from my Indigo Trilogy 🙂