Miserere: An Autumn Tale – A Review

Teresa Frohock’s Miserere: An Autumn Tale was an absolutely amazing book!

And, ironically, I have actually had it on my Kindle since it first came out. Why did I wait for so long to read it? I am still kicking myself over that one….

Truth is, I am much more of a straight sci-fi fan and I have to confess that Dark Fantasy is not exactly my favorite genre. It is generally…. well, dark and then there’s all that evil.  And usually, lots of swords and hard to pronounce names, too. So, generally, I have to be in just the right mood to read it.

But I realized that this book might be more than I thought it was when I read this review on GoodReads and the review’s opening lines had me totally enthralled:

From the start, I went into this expecting it to be a fantasy novel. I mean, the cover? Fantasy! The name? Fantasy! The blurb? Fantasy! So I was a bit shocked when, after a gripping and very fantasy-esque intro, we are plopped right down into a conversation between some teenagers leaving a ballet class and walking home. Wha…? Color me intrigued, and excited, and totally, totally hooked!

So, I read the book. It was sooooo good, I immediately started over and read the whole book again, this time slowly savoring. And I came to the conclusion that the cover and the blub for this book simply don’t do it justice. Seriously, that is the only reason I can think of for why this book is not a runaway best seller! The description only covers maybe the first chapter anyway….

So what can I say about this book? As a writer, Teresa Frohock has a lovely voice; the beauty of some of her prose is just stunning. Doubly amazing for a debut author! The characters?  Rich, fully developed, interesting. Lindsay’s character is so real, I can see why some people (erroneously) tried to classify this as young adult.  I wanted to meet her. I felt protective of her. I want to read more about her. (That’s code for she better be in the next book, LOL!)

Despite what the blurb might suggest, this isn’t a romance in the usual stereotypical or genre sense of the word. It does have an element of the feeling of a medieval romance: In the Middle Ages, a romance meant an adventure, a quest, one with themes of honor and/or redemption. This one fits the bill perfectly!

The exploration of Christian religious myth in this book fascinated me. The book never proselytizes.  But, as you might expect from a reality that exists to keep the fallen angels from taking over earth, the religious themes permeate both the world-building and the world view. It adds an additional delightfully authentic “touch of medieval” flavor to the book.

This book should be definitely be made into a movie – the story (and Teresa’s writing) really lends itself to a visual interpretation.

Okay, enough fan gushing! You: Read this book! Tell everybody you know about it! As for me, I want to read the sequel… now is good…. I’m waiting….

You can learn more about the author at her website, Teresa Frohock.com.  She is also on FaceBook and Twitter.

 

Ice Box Rolls

I was cleaning out a box in my office and found this recipe for these yummy bread rolls my mother used to make when I was growing up.  I have seen various versions of this recipe floating around the Internet and it supposedly dates back to the early 1950s. The name comes from the fact that you refrigerate the dough before you bake the rolls. The recipe uses leftover mashed potatoes and the bread has a really unique taste because of it.

The recipe is supposed to make 36 rolls. But my mother always made them bigger. When baked, they were the size of a big hamburger bun.  Hot out of the oven and slathered with margarine, the taste was just to die for. This is one of the strongest flavor memories of my childhood.

Ice Box Rolls

¾ cup shortening

½ cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk (luke warm)

½ cup water (luke warm)

1 package dry yeast (fast acting)

6 cups flour

1 cup mashed potatoes

Dissolve yeast in luke warm water and milk. Cream together sugar, shortening, and eggs. Add to yeast mixture. Add mashed potatoes. Mix well. Add flour and salt. Knead well. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down, and place in refrigerator (overnight or for about eight hours). Take dough from refrigerator and roll into shape for individual rolls. Let rise until double in size. Bake in 425 degree oven until brown.

Remaining dough can be covered and stored in refrigerator for up to 48 hours, but, honestly, it never lasts that long around here….