Steps and Exes by Laura Kalpakian

Laura Kalpakian wrote my all-time favorite line in Steps and Exes:

“Bullshit,” said Eve,

but not too loud.

The book is set at Useless Point on Isadora Island, a fictional artistic enclave in the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest. The heroine, Celia Henry, became a young widow before she realized her late husband was not Henry West ~ she had married Henry Westervelt, the scion of a lumber baron family. Her life is unconventional and filled with a tribe of step children and ex-spouses and lovers. She runs a bed and breakfast on property that belonged to Henry’s great aunt Sophia. (See Educating Waverly by Laura Kalpakian.)

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Great Books by Susan Wiggs

When life hands me lemons, I go on a search for someone good at making lemonade or margaritas at a profit. This is why Susan Wiggs is my favorite author. She’s brilliant ~ she’s got a degree in math from Harvard. She’s funny, gorgeous, and sexy. She’s independent and super-successful in her personal life as well as her professional life. Like the heroines in her books, she’s resourceful, resilient, and generous. She’s better than Oprah at surrounding herself with terrific friends and colleagues. All her books are great escapes that teach me something important.

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The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas

Marilyn Stanton, my guardian angel at the Watseka, IL Public Library, recommended this book to me. It is one of my favorites. I hope y’all will read it and decide to make lots of quilts for Shalom Bayit’s clients. “Persian pickle” is an old-fashioned term for paisley scraps used in making quilts, and the Persian Pickle Club is the name of the quilting bee at the heart of the story.

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