I went for a walk around Seward Park again last Saturday. It was a beautiful day, sunny at times (well, it was when I left the house), cloudy (Linda, the clouds were scudding) and then windy and cold. A perfect time to walk at Seward Park because of the varied views that are affected by the different kinds of weather that roll in across this vast expanse of water. And it was the first Saturday of spring and could only be celebrated by being out in it. The daffodils were up and there were wide swaths of daisies blooming along the trail. A good time to try a new book.
I love reading while I walk (and, no, I have never walked into a tree or fallen off a curb.) and I love trying out a book I might not otherwise read during this finite time. If I can't stay interested for that period, well, neither will the people I might want to sell it to or talk to about it. I get lucky most of the time and the books I choose for these walks are well worth it. This walk included Coffeehouse Angel, by local author Suzanne Selfors.
Coffehouse Angel is, like My Life in Pink and Green that I mentioned in the BookNotes email newsletter, the story of a small family business going up against a larger, more monied business, with a twist.
Katrina, our heroine in Coffeehouse Angel, helps out in her grandmother's coffee shop, a local hangout for the old fishermen in town. It used to be the hangout for everyone until Java Heaven opened up next door, they actually share a wall, and took away the younger and hipper customers by offering organic coffee and fancy chocolate straws. Katrina serves sardine sandwiches and coffee with an egg in it. (My mother-in-law makes this coffee for us when the family all gets together. It takes longer than machine coffee but is so good, it is worth the wait. And there is something very elemental in watching and hearing the coffee perk into the little glass bubble on the lid. I have to write the recipe down on a card so I can make it now that Dee can't do it on her own. Family recipes get lost easily: write them down while you still can.)
One morning, early and still dark, Katrina is taking the garbage out when she finds a man lying on the ground outside the back door. Worried, she calls her best friend, Vincent, to come by and check it out. While she is waiting for Vincent, she takes a couple of pastries and a cup of coffee, a little bag of chocolate covered coffee beans, and leaves them on the step for the obviously homeless, probably cold, man. When Vincent get there, the man is gone, and so are the pastries; all that's left is the empty styrofoam cup that rolls up the windy street and stops at Katrina's feet.
A little later in the day, during the Monday morning assembly, the homeless man appears to give Katrina her reward for her good deed. He is dressed in a kilt, is extraordinarily good looking, carries a messenger's bag and must deliver his message and his reward before he can move on. The reward? Katrina's deepest desire. Who is this man? Why is he really here? What is Katrina's deepest desire? Who gets to go to the dance? Why does the stranger smell so good?
A great selection for reading around the lake! I got done with my walk and then sat in my (much warmer) Jeep and read for another hour-couldn't leave the park until it was done! A couple of rain squalls, seagull flocks and their attendant mess and feathers later and I was done! What a great book! Romance, mystery, good and evil, grand friendships, little guys up against the big guys-it's all in there and I am so glad I chose this particular book on this particular day.
You can pick this title up in August, 2009 (sorry! One of the best percs of working in the book business is getting to read books that won't be out for a while!). You can call your LOCALLY OWNED, INDEPENDENT BOOKSELLER (make yours Third Place Books, 206-366-3333; www.thirdplacebooks.com to order online) to reserve your copy of this romantic comedy now. We will let you know when it arrives as soon as it is unboxed. Ages 12 and up. (Walker Books, $16.99.)