Viola Doyle or An Unconventional Gift by Amy Lynn Spitzley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Viola Doyle or an Unconventional Gift was an entertaining little jewel... like the pin! This book has a beautiful cover, the colours, and characters here are very eye-catching. The same goes for each section break, where the mysterious pin is ever present.
Each word of this standalone story are so very carefully selected to take you into an adventure with Viola, a seventeen year old girl who lives in a different fictional time in a sort of Victorian English setting, but ruled by Queen Olivia. Where propriety is the norm and women's roles are distinctively different from men. High social expectations are enforced. Viola dreams a different lifestyle than her own. She has a thing for bicycling and fantasy stories.
Viola receives a mysterious beautiful pin as a gift from her grandmother. She soon discovers that this pin actually chooses her owner, making her curious and wanting to discover the history behind this strange jewel. She gets help for this investigation from her grandmother and a cute history research assistant, Mikhail Robbins. The three of them uncover its mystery and find new affections between these short pages. I really enjoyed this story. It's very well written and it surprised me how much detail and care was put into each word. I wish we had more about this story, as it felt a bit incomplete in some parts.
Dear Amy Lynn, would you be so kind and give us a second book? Yes... Please?? I wish to know more about Emily Wentworth, the "Family", the adventures of Leonard Doyle, the dragon, the pin itself... and yes, more Viola and Mikhail please!!!
For my Fictional Meals section, I want to bring into attention the tasty, yet hardly never done in our home: cold chicken and cucumber sandwich. I want to try this one, but cucumber is not a loved vegetable by my husband (he hates it). I was doing some quick research and Wikipedia kindly pointed out that this was actually a very traditional Victorian era sandwich. However they only made it with thin slices of cucumber. In this book we've added extra protein with the cold chicken!!! It is very interesting to read that the traditional (non chicken version) has a low protein content, thus making it an upper class meal, because it was leisurely eaten.
According to Wikipedia (yeah, I'm lazy and that's the first site I find stuff in):
Cucumber sandwiches formed an integral part of the stereotypical afternoon tea affair.
The popularity of the cucumber sandwich reached its upper-class zenith in the Edwardian era, when cheap labour and plentiful coal enabled cucumbers to be produced in hotbeds under glass through most of the year. With the declining popularity of tea as a meal in the United Kingdom, there was a corresponding decline in the popularity of cucumber sandwiches, but they are still frequently served at teas, luncheons, and gatherings.
Most English cricket clubs supply malt vinegar and ground pepper to dash inside the sandwich, and this is the simplest form commonly used in England.
So basically, cucumber sandwiches have heavy historical relevance, and I had no clue about it!
This book was kindly provided by Curiosity Quills through NetGalley in exchange of an honest review. No cucumbers were harmed making this review or when reading the book. Thank you both the author and publisher for this little jewel!
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