Aubrey’s Ageless Romance Café

In this literary world, a handful of stories will stand the test of time. A modern classic novel holds the attention of every generation with a thoughtful plot, complex characters and a scene or two that lingers long after the final page. These books will never be traded in at the paperback store or sold for a quarter at a garage sale. An ageless romance is passed on to your sister, then to her daughter who loans it to a friend. By the time it makes it back to your shelf, the pages are yellowed, earmarked and appreciated. And ever so often, when you need to be reminded of the remarkable power of love, you dust off that old friend and peruse its pages again. These are the stories I want to share with you in Aubrey’s cafe.

Loving Frank

By Nancy Horak

Published: 2007       Publisher: Ballantine Books       POV: Third person

Setting: Oak Park, IL and Spring Green, WI 1907-1914

Spoiler alert! A true story with the ending discussed in graphic detail.

Loving Frank is an historical romance about the love affair between architect Frank Lloyd Wright and feminist Mamah (Mahmuh) Borthwick Cheney. In the beginning, we think: classic boy meets the right girl at the wrong time. Although both Frank and Mamah were married, the attraction proved too strong to resist.The affair became headline news and reporters followed their journey from a passionate escape to Europe, their cold welcome home to the ghastly, abrupt end of their relationship.

Even in childhood, Mamah Borthwick considered herself an outsider and chose books for her closest friends. The written page filled her mind with adventures and she longed to ‘do something’ with her life. As a young woman, she left her hometown of Oak Park, Illinois and attended the university in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There, she caught the freedom bug and a feminist flu. Hoping to become an author in support of the Woman Movement, she moved to Port Huron to teach high school and later ran the public library. After six years, her determination to maintain her independence waned as one by one, her friends married and family became their new focus.

Edwin Cheney lost his heart to Miss Borthwick on their first meeting and vowed to win her hand. She saw thirty drawing close and realized independence also meant loneliness. His persistence finally convinced Mamah to give up the ‘modern’ life and give in to conformity. Her life took on a comfortable routine. With the birth of a son, Mamah soon convinced herself that contentment and affection were a fair substitute for passion.

Frank Lloyd Wright, an eccentric, up-and-coming architect, had made a name for himself and his Prairie Houses outside of Chicago. The focus on nature in the construction of a home became a hot trend for those who could afford it. The simplicity and open concept of his design appealed to men; his charming manner and larger than life personality appealed to women.

Enter: the Cheneys. Edwin commissioned Wright to build a Prairie House in Oak Park. Since her husband worked long days, Mrs. Cheney handled most of the consultations throughout the project. The housewife and architect found they were kindred souls intellectually. Just as they considered becoming intimate, Mamah discovers she is pregnant and refuses to see Frank again.

Jump ahead several years later. Frank Lloyd Wright is speaking to a group of women in Oak Park. Mamah knows it is dangerous to attend the presentation but can’t help herself. The moment their eyes connect, the reader knows there can only be one conclusion.

This is a story of a woman who gave up everything for love. Yet with this sacrifice, she eventually finds her own self worth and makes a name as a literary translator. While she never regretted her decisions, the reader is left to wonder if she would have done it differently if given the choice.

It is the account of a man who considered his talent a gift to the world and only Mamah could keep him grounded. The reader learns not only the intricacies behind Frank’s genius but the flaws within the man as well. He left behind a legacy accompanied by a mountain of unpaid bills.

Nancy Horan accurately describes the time period with intellect, humor and grace. She plops the reader in the middle of Europe, sipping tea in a German or French cafe and introduces us to the social radicals of the time. We share the frustration of women at the turn of the century as they struggle to transform their roles in a changing society. The author also brings us step by step through the construction of Frank Lloyd Wright’s beloved home, Taliesin. We are transported into an extraordinary time when architecture began to alter not only the landscape but the world.

I thought this story appropriate for October and Halloween because of the brutal murders of Mamah and her children. John was twelve and Martha only nine years old. In August of 1914, a disgruntled household servant, Julian Carlton, dished up lunch as usual for the master’s family. He then went outside, locked all the doors except for one, poured gasoline around the perimeters of the house and lit a match. Back inside, he took an axe to the family, split their skulls and watched them burn. Other staff, eating in another part of the home, smelled smoke and ran for the only open door. An axe greeted them as they exited. Martha lived for several hours so severely burned she was unrecognizable. Mamah’s ex-husband dug through the ashes to find his son’s bones. Frank Lloyd Wright rebuilt Taliesin only to watch it burn again. He never fully recovered from the tragedy. I found this novel to be engaging and thought-provoking.

A few times in the middle of the novel, I skimmed a chapter or two. Yet, I also found myself hoping that the novel would end differently and my heroine would live happily ever after. A huge a happy-ever-after fan, I cannot give five mugs but highly recommend it with four to fans of historical romance, Frank Lloyd Wright or architecture.

4 coffee mugs
Hot, strong, and addicting.

Aubrey’s Ageless Romance Café

In this literary world, a handful of stories will stand the test of time. A classic novel holds the attention of every generation with a thoughtful plot, complex characters and a scene or two that lingers long after the final page.
These books will never be traded in at the paperback store or sold for a quarter at a garage sale. An ageless romance is passed on to your sister, then to her daughter who loans it to a friend. By the time it makes it back to your shelf, it is worn, earmarked and loved. And every so often, when you need to be reminded of the remarkable power of love, you dust off that old friend and peruse its pages again. These are the stories I want to share with you in Aubrey’s cafe.

Morning Glory
By LaVyrle Spencer

Published: 1989
POV: Third person
Setting: Georgia, 1941

Ellie had few social skills and little knowledge of human nature except malice and distrust. Born out of wedlock, she was raised in isolation, by an aggrieved mother and cynical grandmother (widow of a cheating minister.) She married the first man who showed her kindness. A beekeeper and hoarder of junk, he died after falling from a tree onto his beloved beehives. Crazy Widow Dinsmore is left with two young boys, a baby on the way, and a ramshackle property.
She needs a handyman but the townspeople would rather gossip about her past than come to her aid. So she gives them something to talk about with an ad in the newspaper. Wanted-A Husband. Need healthy man of any age to work a spread and share the place. See E. Dinsmore, top of Rock Creek Road.
Will Parker is a drifter and an ex-con. He can’t seem to escape his past. After three days, his boss discovers his conviction of first-degree murder and fires him. With no money and a growl in his belly, he is reduced to stealing a clean shirt and jeans from a backyard clothesline. The ad he previously saw in the newspaper no longer seems a joke but a possibility for his future.
The love story that evolves between Ellie and Will is slow, natural and sweet. Both complement one another in temperament and life skills. She longs for recognition as a woman and needs a partner and a friend. He dares to hope for love and craves validation as human being after a life of ridicule and abuse.
LaVyrle places two complicated characters into a simple, believable setting. She avoids the usual hero/heroine conflicts or misunderstandings and instead offers real life bumps in the romance. World War II, the Draft and narrow-minded people threaten the couple’s happiness. Their journey will make you laugh, cry and smile through your tears.
All of Ms. Spencer’s books have that one scene to make the reader pause with sadness, joy, desperation or wonder. In Morning Glory, Will enters Ellie’s home for a meal after working on her property and he points to the sink. The description of intense pleasure he feels as warm water flows over his hands makes the reader want to wrap her arms around this deprived and lonely man. Ellie begins to fall in love as she watches his reaction to this simple act, and knows she has found a kindred soul. We glimpse the beaten down boy and root for the man he becomes through her love. We watch as Ellie draws her strength from him and fights to keep the life they have built.
The sensual level is sweet. The sex scenes are the weakest part of the story. But the emotion pulls your heartstrings and does not disappoint. Plump up the pillow, grab the Kleenex box, sit back and enjoy.
Although LaVyrle Spencer retired in 1997, she remains one of my favorite authors and her books will never leave my shelf. She has won five RITA awards, been on the New York Times best seller list over a dozen times and consistently sold over 1.5 million copies with each new cover. I believe new readers who ‘discover’ Ms. Spencer will only be disappointed by the fact that no new titles will come our way.

Renea Mason's latest interview with Stanton by Ann Lange. Have you read Symphony and Light yet?

He sits at the right hand of … Cyril

He sits at the right hand of … Cyril.ds

Help Me Choose A Cover For My Musketeers.

Magnificent Valor is an upcoming series about the four musketeers. The first novel is set in 1643 France and revolves around Athos, his love interest and a plot against a young Louis XIV. The novel retains the flavor of the original by Dumas, while following the historical records of the actual musketeers. All grey areas are filled in with my vivid imagination.
The talented Malinda Prud’homme has finished my book cover. I now have four choices and I can’t decide. Which one is your favorite? Voting will run from September 8-15. Thanks for your help.

Magnificent Valour - Book Cover Voting

You can also vote and see more of Malinda’s work at www.Facebook.com/MalindaPrudhomme or visit her website www.MalindaPrudhomme.com

Highlanders, Weddings and Moore! – Featured author, Shehanne Moore – via ReneaMason.com

I adore a good Highland romance. Shehanne Moore reminds me why. I’d like to share Renea Mason’s interview with her from the Coffee Talk website.

Where Did the Summer Go?

As August rolls to an end, I marvel at how quickly the summer flew by. So many adventures, so little time. Let me give you the short version of the my busy vacation.

In June, I loaded up my horse, Handsome Jack, and headed to Shawnee National Forest. A group of old friends and I camped out in the beautiful southern Illinois state park. This is some of the best trail riding in the country and I recommend this trip to anyone who loves horses and nature. Garden of the Gods, Indian Kitchen, the Little Grand Canyon, One Horse Gap are all breathtaking places to see. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the beauty. It was hot but worth every drop of sweat.

July turned into a whirlwind of family fun. Living close to Lake Michigan, my sisters and the kids joined my husband Dan and I for a week at the beach. Harbor County is just over the Michigan state line and is less than two hours from Chicago. Take a drive along Red Arrow Highway and enjoy the numerous shops, restaurants, fruit stands and, of course, the famous Wine Trail. (I did not take my horses on this trail.)

This scenic journey begins in New Buffalo which boasts a gorgeous harbor dotted with yachts and sailboats. The public beach gets a little crowded but most rental properties in the area offer an alternative smaller but less crowded stretch of sand. Don’t miss Oink’s, a New Buffalo tradition, just off the main strip. It has the best ice cream in the area. Don’t worry about the long lines, the staff is friendly and efficient.

Farther down Red Arrow is the historic town of St Joseph. Besides a fab beach that includes a park and a splash pad, the old-fashioned carousel and museum still brings a smile to kids and adults alike. The music always takes me back to my childhood and the traveling carnivals. My fellow authors at Coffee Talk came along with me through the Vacation Crashers Contest. Valerie Twombly, Renea Mason and Cait Jarrod all posed in front of the Carousel and a refreshing fountain in the local park.

Wine connoisseurs  will appreciate the local tastings. St. Julian’s is my personal favorite but don’t take my word for it, try them all.

This trip stripped me of all tension and gave me the rest I so needed after a long school year. And then we headed for the East Coast in our new camper. But that’s another story…

Aubrey Wynne, Historical Romance http://wp.me/p3aWxC-1u

My husband, Dan and niece, Ana having fun at Oink’s.

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Sophie Jones has a new short story free for a limited time. Ghosts, steamy romance and a great plot. How can you go wrong?

Click the picture to download your free copy from Amazon.com.

Find out more about Sophia Jones at http://coffeetalkwriters.com/Sophia phantom

#sophiajones, #coffeetalkwriters, #reneamason, #freebooks, #amazon.com, #eroticromance, #paranormalromance,

It takes your breath away.