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The Very, Very, Very Last Rose of Summer

Here in my neck of the woods in the South, there is no definable boundary between the heat of summer and the cold of winter. It’s blazing hot from May to September when we get a short respite, followed by Indian summer and heat again. In November the rains come, the temperature drops to near freezing at night, and people like me, who love the very essence of autumn and winter, start to celebrate. One advantage of the endless days of summer is the long growing season. The very, very, very last bloom on my rosebush died only yesterday as the temperature dropped to 29 degrees overnight. I’m sorry to see it go—it’s an English old rose hybrid named "Mary Rose" (in honor of Henry VIII's flagship) and its fragrance is deliriously sweet.

With the shorter days and colder weather, I tend to read more. I also have more mental energy for writing, the torpor of summer having been expelled by a crispness that clears the mind. So I’ve made a few plot changes on The Pelican in the Wilderness, added a critical new character, and it’s full-speed ahead —50,000 words and counting.

If you plan to do some reading this winter, I’d like to suggest the work of mystery writer Ruth Ware. I’ve just plowed through all three of her books. Her first, In A Dark, Dark Wood, is excellent and contains all the elements of a good mystery set in a modern country house in England. The third book, The Lying Game, is also a winner with a twisty plot and protagonist to root for. The second book, The Woman in Cabin 10, is my favorite. The central character is a young woman who drinks too much and is prone to depression and panic attacks. She is positive that someone on board the cruise ship on which she's sailing has been murdered. Trouble is, all the passengers and crew are accounted for. You can find an excerpt here.

One note of caution: if you plan to read Ruth Ware’s books, don’t plan to do anything else. Oh . . . and don’t plan to sleep.

Happy reading and writing!



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