I have to admit, this piece came to be because of sweet potato fries. Ok…actually, sweet potato fries and a trip to the post box…proximity to my local independent bookstore, aka palace of wonders…and a fondness for the folks who work there.
I went to drop a letter in the box and thought, While I’m out, I should see if P wants to have lunch and a visit…let me call her. I called. She did…specifically, a lunch of sweet potato fries. Which meant I had fifteen minutes to pass before picking them up and heading to her apartment. Oh lookie, I’m right by Bookmark! In I go…and get talking/laughing with the three booksellers who are at the counter…Before I head out, I’m handed an ARC of The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett and encouraged to read it, circulate it, enjoy it as a good summer read. Which I did…pretty much all in one refreshing read. This blog entry is my shout out of gratitude for an awesome bookstore, a great group of booksellers, and a story well told.
In brief and without spoilers…Eudora Honeysett is 85 and tired of living. Rose, her new next door neighbour, is 10, soon to be a big sister, and flamboyantly herself. Stanley Marcham is an aging widower who misses his wife, Ada, and is often out walking his dogs. They are three seekers, each looking for answers to unique questions, who find each other as they search.
There is a beautiful sense of time in this book. Every other chapter is back story for Eudora, explaining how it is that she finds herself in current circumstances. WWII, family personalities and tumultuous dynamics, and personal choices, each play their part and are explored in ways perfectly suited to her age and era. With Rose, by the end of the book there is a clear sense of who she is now and an open-ended hope for her future as she grows in confidence and creative expression. Through crosswords, the support of friends, and a bit of karaoke, Stanley learns to live in the graced reality of now.
Julian of Norwich also has a featured role in this suited-for-summer read. It could easily be read and enjoyed in other seasons, and I hope The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons receives the readership it so readily merits, but it feels especially right to read it now, in the sticky heat of July, 2020, in the midst of fluctuating graphics about the state of a global pandemic and all of the preparations for an uncertain autumn and future.
No one knows what lies ahead. The best to hope for is to choose to be surrounded by love and to help maintain the faith among friends that somehow, through that love, all shall indeed be well.