Duty and Desire – Pamela Aidan

Way back in 2011, I read the first and third books of the Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman trilogy.     This was mainly because I couldn’t get my hands on the middle book at the time, but also because I had read that the middle book was skip-able.     I did keep it on my wishlist, and a copy came my way late last year.    And, it really is skip-able.

This book covers the time in Pride and Prejudice between when Darcy leaves Netherfield after the ball (when Bingley’s sisters also convince Bingley to go away), and when Darcy goes to Rosings to see Elizabeth.      The author takes the opportunity to send Darcy to a country house party that turns into a bit of a Gothic mystery.      I think it’s also supposed to illustrate to Darcy that the women of his class aren’t really all they’re cracked up to be.

The book’s not a bad story exactly, but Darcy really does all his growing as a person after Elizabeth rejects his first proposal, and that happens in the last book of the series.     I suppose, if you manage to work your pet Gothic romance into a trilogy that otherwise wouldn’t have one, and get paid for it, good on you.     It’s just a little odd, in the middle of what is otherwise one of the better Pride and Prejudice adaptations I’ve read.


Knitting Notes

Pattern: Lucca by Wally One
Yarn: Reynolds Soft Sea Wool and some natural wool yarn from a local to my brother fair
Needles: Size 2 and 4 DPNs

This pattern was ok.    The shaping portion got a little weird.    I’ve been doing this long enough I was able to fake my way through it, but I think it would have completely confused a newer knitter.     I would probably not make it again.

Garden Notes

It’s begun!     I’m totally pirating multiple seed starting systems this year.     I wanted little pots, but still needed some larger trays, so I’m reusing the tray for the pods from last year.     Filling those with soil and getting it wet through took forever!

Here’s the germination set up, on the relatively out of the way living room radiator.

I’ve got nasturtiums, blood sorrel, lacinto kale and Swiss chard.    My mother is also starting some shishito peppers and cauliflower because I only needed a few of those, and she has room to start more, and bring only a couple back to me.

And I also invested in one of these.     Which was perhaps a mistake searching for at work, on my lunch break.     Seriously, is anyone not hydroponically growing home pot these days?    The “Also Frequently Purchased With” selections on Amazon would lead you to believe that…

Knitting Notes

Pattern: Tiny Selbumittens by Miriam Rosoy Wathne
Yarn: Anzula Cloud in Dusty Rose and KnitPicks Stroll in Merlot Heather
Needles: Size 1.5 DPNs

This is a really cute pattern, and wicked fast.     I probably could have finished it in one day if I’d started a bit earlier in the day.

I’m quite over getting rid of this yarn.    It still looks like too much for hexipuffs, but I’m thinking I may just go there at this point.    I just want it gone!

Talking to Dragons – Patricia C. Wrede

Daystar had never been into the Enchanted Forest himself before, until the day a wizard showed up at the cottage he shares with his mother, and his mother unexpectedly destroys the wizard.     Even more strangely, she heads into the Forest, comes back with a sword, hands that to Daystar, and tells him he has an errand to do, and not to come back until he’s done.

Now, this being the fourth book in the series, we know that Daystar is the son of Queen Cimorene and King Mendenbar (of the Enchanted Forest), and Mendenbar went missing shortly before Daystar was born.     So this means it’s time for Dayster to bring Mendenbar back.

I do love these books- they’re just a ton of fun.     I think the action of this story takes place over two days, but they’re a great two days, full of old friends, and new, weird things in the Enchanted Forest.     A fitting end to this series.

Knitting Notes

Pattern: Roger Bear by Nice and Knit
Yarn: Classic Elite MountainTop Vista in Peat and Patternworks Bretton Heathers in color 9000
Embroidery Floss: DMC 581 (eyes) and 3716 (nose)
Needles: Size 5 DPNs and Size 8 circs

I really love this pattern – easy, uses up scraps, and super cute.    I’m definitely keeping this in my repertoire.

The Bretton Heathers definitely ended up being on the lighter side of DK weight, so I made the blanket a bit bigger than the pattern called for: I added two repeats into each row, and did one extra repeat of the pattern.

That’s really my only quibble with that Bretton Heather yarn – it’s other wise lovely to work with, and at five bucks a skein, it’s a steal.

The Virgin in the Ice – Ellis Peters

The civil war has caused people to flee from the city of Worcester.  Word comes to the monks in Shrewsbury that two orphans of a noble family – a thirteen year old boy and his eighteen year old sister, a girl of remarkable beauty – along with their companion, a young nun, have been lost on their way out of Worcester. Brother Cadfael is thrown into the search for them.

A monk is found on the road, nearly dead, and his fevered ravings may lead them to the missing children.    But on the way, Cadfael happens open the scene of a gruesome murder, which leads him to believe there’s far more going on than just three missing young people.

This story does end up being very layered – a lot of stuff packed into such a slim volume.    I think that’s what I like so much about these books – there’s always a central mystery, but so much else is going on in the world of these stories- they’re so interesting to read.