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Dec 26, 2012
An Uncertain DreamAn Uncertain Dream by Judith McCoy Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you've read the first two, you must read this one to see how it all ends. These books should be read - in order - to make any sense to the reader. Again, fascinating history about the town of Pullman and that social experiment gone awry. Leans heavily toward the pro-union sentiments, but still well written. Well worth the read for the history alone. No spoiler in here. :)

Dec 21, 2012
Whispers Along the RailsWhispers Along the Rails by Judith McCoy Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The story of Olivia Mott and the town of Pullman continues. Olivia has settled into her job as assistant to Chef Rene when Mr. Howard assigns her to go out on the trains and spy for the company. Although she'd rather stay in the hotel kitchen, Olivia fears losing her job if she doesn't do as she's told.

The relationship between Olivia and Fred heats up as trust is rebuild. But the town's troubles are also heating up and with so many uncertainties, their future is far from settled.

Lady Charlotte finds herself in dire straits until she winds up a the home of Mrs. Priddle. Forced to work for the first time in her life, Lady Charlotte learns more about life - and God - under Mrs. Priddle's no-nonsense tutelage.

A nice second book in this series, it continues the story of Pullman and builds on the relationships of the people there.

Dec 17, 2012
In the Company of SecretsIn the Company of Secrets by Judith McCoy Miller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Historically interesting look into the town of Pullman.  George Pullman not only invented things like the Pullman railroad car, he also invented the "perfect" town.  Smacking of socialism, it was seated just outside of Chicago.

As with so many social experiments meant to improve things for all mankind, with no saloons, no independent newspapers, strict codes to adhere to for the public good, etc., Pullman was far from perfect under the surface.

Into this town comes Olivia Mott.  Newly escaped from a bad situation in England, Olivia helps her former mistress, Lady Charlotte, settle into Pullman.  Their life - built on lies - gets off to a shaky start.  When Olivia meets handsome Fred DeVault, the lies hiding her past and the tempers simmering under the surface of the town of Pullman collide.


Dec 6, 2012
Anyone Can Build a Tub-Style Mechanical Chicken PluckerAnyone Can Build a Tub-Style Mechanical Chicken Plucker by Herrick Kimball

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is great!  Seriously, step-by-step instructions on building your own backyard chicken plucker written with enough humor to keep you turning the pages.  Okay - I admit - it's a niche market book, but it's extremely well done.


Dec 2, 2012
Why are some traditions so difficult to let go? We’d often rather lop off an arm than part with deeply held family traditions. Especially when it comes to our holiday comfort food. More than one family brawl at the holidays has resulted from an errant comment about Grandma’s dry-as-toast turkey or Aunt Martha’s triple-bounce cranberry salad mold.

Take the Christmas fruitcake. Please. Take it. Nobody actually eats that thing anyway. Yet all across our country are thousands – dare we even consider tens of thousands – of ovens being cleaned in preparation to keep this holiday tradition alive. Some die-hard fruitcakers have theirs already baked and aging – a thought that chills the fruitcake-adverse among us.

In case anyone of Scandinavian descent missed the memo, we now have refrigeration. I mean really, pickled fish? “Here Johnny, have a candy cane and one of Grandpa’s pickled herrings to go with it.” I’m convinced you have to be born Scandinavian, or at least first generation, to appreciate a holiday platter of pickled fish staring back at you.

Then there is the haggis from Scotland. Loosely explained, so as not to frighten the children, a haggis is a type of sausage made from the parts of a sheep not likely to be found in the meat department of a grocery store. It’s then boiled for about 72 hours and served with mashed turnips and potatoes. It’s just my guess, but I’d be willing to bet more people eat the turnips and potatoes than actually eat the haggis.

Times change and taste buds change. Deep fried Twinkies are no more, and some other gastronomical traditions may need to go that same route. Happy eating this holiday season and pass the haggis. . .right out the window.