Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hangman Blind

It's been a rough few days. Why is it as soon as you talk about something wonderful, it changes? On Wednesday I blogged about how great my health has been. Thursday morning I woke up barely able to walk again, and it's been more of the same since then. No changes in my meds or activity level, not too much change in the weather. I have no explanation, but it's making me nuts. The blessing is that I'm getting caught up on some reading and friends are reaching out to comfort me.

Jesse's parents found some old camcorder tapes and discovered footage of Mia before she was a year old. Jesse, Molly, Mia, and I sat and watched the entire thing. There's Molly's 5th grade concert, and her singing O Holy Night at the Christmas program that year. Doogie played Joy to the World on his trumpet for the same program. I can't believe how much he has changed in those 5-1/2 years! When he first talked on the tape, it sounded much like Mia does now (sorry honey!)! It brought back a lot of great memories, and Dad: we have you on tape too!

Hangman Blind by Cassandra Clark is the first in a new medieval mystery series starring nun Sister Hildegard. Hildegard was widowed when her husband died in battle leaving her control of their great fortune. With her children grown and gone, she enters the Cistercian order with the intention of creating a place where like minded women can offer education and care for the poor of the area. In the guise of seeking a grange she could use for this purpose, she is sent on a covert mission by the Mother Superior to seek information about the political ties of the Abbey of Meaux. With rival popes, an unsteady throne, and a recent revolt among the peasantry, political machinations are running high. But Hildegard stumbles instead into the attempted murder of her childhood friend, Lord Roger de Hutton. He begs her to allow everyone to think he is dead so she can discover his assassin, and there's more to this poisoning than meets the eye. First, I love Sister Hildegard. She makes a terrific protagonist: smart, funny, with friends in unexpected places. She genuinely cares for those around her and takes the time to carefully observe the world. I'm a huge fan of mysteries, and Clark creates just the right amount that the reader can solve while throwing in some completely unexpected surprises. There are a wide variety of secondary characters, all of them sublime. There are so many subplots floating around in this novel, Clark has no excuse for not writing several sequels, and I sincerely hope she gets on it!

Last night I French braided the girls' hair, and I think they both looked beautiful. Molly's stayed tight overnight, but Mia woke up with a nimbus of loose strands around her head. I took out the braids, and she went to church with the most luxurious curls. She's been revelling all day in feeling beautiful.