The Cruel Miss

Oh, Downty, I love thee so.   Fair warning: I’m about to talk in depth about Season 6 Episode 7 of darling Downty including the Cruel Miss, so if you’d rather have our local weather report (frozen tundra), kitty tail, recipe for pork chops, and book update, scroll to the bottom! And now my dear Girlfriends? Strike up the MUSICA! Song for Mary. IMG_5678

There were just a couple of things I wanted to say about last week’s episode before I get started on this one. Just a couple mentions, because this was a beautiful dress and hat on Cora and should be given a little moment.

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But, I have to say, this hat on Henry was not really my cup of tea as it was precariously perched maybe a foot above his ears, thereby elongating the head not to his great advantage.

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But just as I was getting used to it, Mary and Henry got caught in the rain, the hat disappeared, and as he was zooming in on Mary’s lips, I felt myself warming toward this guy who’s only real fault is that he isn’t Tom.

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Also, I wanted to say a little something about this outfit!

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Wow! Dinner out with the boys. Wasn’t this whole restaurant scene, the men in tuxedoes, Mary illuminating the room in her gold gloves, her turquoise earrings, her satin headband, her gorgeous dress, just beautiful?

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And this week the fashion beat kept going . . .  Cora! That hat, the scarf, the colors, is that beading on her top?  And those pearls!

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And these glasses. Quite something. Not sure what, but very interesting and zippy for Mary. I’m with her all the way, her hats, her glasses and her headbands  because just like Mary  . . .accessoriesI just don’t have quite as many.

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Beautiful. These people have accessories that shine in the dark!

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But my favorite person this week was darling Violet, aka, Granny, Dowager Countess of Grantham and Queen of Downton Abbey.  Cool in defeat, she decides to whisk herself to the South of France to lick her wounds and try to forget the whole (and meaningless at it turns out) hospital debacle and the fact that they dumped her unceremoniously, actually without even bothering to tell her.  In small and totally understandable retaliation, Violet was going to France without telling the family, except she said she would write to Tom! Because he is “the sensible one!!” Me and Violet = on same page. But before she left she did two outstanding things:

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First, she went to visit Lord Merton’s (“Dickie” to his closest friends like us) daughter-in-law, who was clearly cut from the same cloth as her husband, Dickie’s hideous son, Larry. Dickie has two sons, both of them horrible snobs and selfish beyond measure, and they stand between Isobel (Violet’s best friend and mother of the sadly dead Matthew) and Lord Merton, who, tepidly, some of us wish would get together, why I don’t know. I think we’re supposed to but I haven’t really been able to care too much. Except for him. I do sort of feel sorry for him. Isobel does fine on her own, but that poor man with that rotten family really does need her.

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Anyway, here is the haughty daughter-in-law, mean girl Amelia Crookshank, who really just wants to foist her father-in-law OFF herself, just in case he becomes a burden, so that’s why she’s been being nice to Isobel. Granny saw right through this greedy “cruel miss” because her rat-o-meter is highly sensitive and sent off alarms the moment she laid eyes on Amelia. Granny made short work of her, exposing her true motives, then slapped her back with the “Not if I see you first” comment, and took off for France. But before she left she planned one more wonderful thing because Violet’s wake is almost as good as the woman herself. (← the Royal Purple)IMG_5845

She got her son a little THANK GOD FOR NOT DYING present.  A new puppy! I’m really going to miss this show.

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And he was thrilled of course… and weren’t we all!

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And either the dog was just as thrilled, or he deserves an Academy Award for best actor. “So natural,” the reviewers exclaim in unison! So, that was good.

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Something else good (although, despite what Edith says about never being so comfortable in her life, I find that a bit hard to believe, she doesn’t look comfortable to me).marryme

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But still, the languorousness of it must have worked because the enamored Bertie asked her to marry him.  Can I bring Marigold?  What? You mean The Ward? Really? You want her to live with us? Okay, I guess so.  So Edith’s thinking about it.  Happiness for Edith is a warm gun. Fleeting.  She is a girl balanced on a window ledge called Typhoon Mary and only we know it.aint life grandIMG_5795

And then they all go to the car race and THIS happens. Tom meets Bright Young Thing, editor Laura Edmonds who works for Edith. Course the first thing he tells her is that he used to be the chauffeur. Not sure what he wishes to prove with that one.  He is sure not the chauffeur anymore! Did you see Laura smoking in the office, how she waved that cigarette around like she was directing an orchestra? Very artsy! Ah well, so be it. I don’t want this good man to end up alone.  I am resigned.

Just kidding, truth is that I’m just trying to save face. I’m not resigned because in my heart I think Julian is just trying to throw me off the trail, but it can’t be done, I see through his ruse and hold on to idiot faith for Tom’s destiny to be entwined with Mary’s despite all his terrible hints to the contrary. Like this for  instance:

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Hint-Hint. Not even engaged but full-0n kissing in front of a grandstand in broad daylight.  I’m glad Granny was in France and did not have to witness this wanton exhibition.IMG_5803

Another hat, and works as a rather good head thickener, don’t you think? (Note: white bunting as racetrack decor!)

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And off they go without any seatbelts or football helmets. Don’t you just KNOW that Julian is having every kind of fun with these cars.  Just wonderful!!!

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But UH OH, tragedy strikes, you can tell by the shocked faces . . . . Could history be repeating itself? First Matthew dies in car crash and now . . . could Mary just be the car-guy jinxs of all time??????

IMG_5825 Oh. Okay, whew, just that other very nice guy died.  Charlie Rogers, Henry’s best friend, so now he is in tears. Mary wants to never see him again, she can’t take this car stuff, but we are beginning to feel his pain and think he is a wonderful, brave and honorable person for diving under that burning car in a last ditch effort to save his friend. It’s all so futile, Henry’s “Carpe Diem” moment is going down the drain. Later we find out that Tom is much more upset about Mary’s apparent change of heart than she is, and tells her she is making the biggest mistake of her life. But actually I think he is seeing his future career as a car-guy himself go up in flames.

It’s worrisome that there are only two more episodes for Mary to get herself in love and happy! (Not to mention Anna getting her twins!) I may not sleep! Oh yeah, they aren’t real. Okay. Whew.

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Now for Mrs. Patmore. Our girl fixed Mr. Carson’s wagon. Well done! Also, she got herself a dream. Her own Bed and Breakfast. Sturdy little business woman, quietly setting herself up.  But who was the guy in the bushes and why would he be watching her??? Anybody know? Hopefully he is bringing word that she will be receiving an inheritance from a long lost relative. Or that the baby girl she gave up for adoption all those years ago is coming back to claim her! (I just made that up.)

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Anyway, Mrs. Patmore fake-bandaged Mrs. Hughes arm, thereby rendering her unable to make dinner. Poor Mr. Carson was forced to do it himself. It was heartbreaking, all that warming up he had to do, the two forks, two plates and all, the long walk to the table, poor man fell asleep over his dinner!

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Mrs. Hughes looks like she is having canary for dinner.  And allows Mr. Carson to “do the dishes in the morning.” So thoughtful. Because Mr. Carson is truly getting on my nerves.

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He is persecuting poor old Barrow. Never ever says one nice thing. I would find it very difficult to constantly be this mean to just one person who was doing me no harm!!! But Carson is steel. And now, Barrow’s only joy in life, the fragile place where his fragment of self-esteem had balanced itself, hanging by a cat whisker, the teaching of reading to Andy? Gone too. Whisked away by the do-gooder schoolmaster. No one wants Barrow around. He has nothing to live for. Not fair! And so handsome too.

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And this sentiment counts double today, because not only is it the end of the Downty recap for this week, this is also something I painted on my book.  Eeeek, I have been wanting to tell you.  She is done. yay! The flaps are written, the endpapers are done, the spine is designed, and so is the back cover, I chose the ribbon color, and yes, I cried. I have wanted to write this book my whole life. TeaTimeBut it took me till now to figure out how to do it, because it seems that all things happen when they are supposed to. The person wanting the movie option has called again! So it’s not over yet! I love it so much I’ve decided to call this trilogy, “Dinner in Three Courses.” Because you can take the girl out of the cookbook, but you can’t take the cookbook out of the girl: The Fairy Tale Girl is the Appetizer, Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams is the Main Course, and A Fine Romance is the Dessert, which of course, in this neck of the woods, we always eat first.

Susan Branch...life is short dishtowelMVID-Ad-Victoria This is the ad I designed for the May-June issue of Victoria Magazine . . . Joe added to the copy from where it says, “Based on….” Which makes it a family affair (which it actually always has been). ♥ MVID-Ad-TeaTimeThis one is for Tea Time Magazine (which btw, has really wonderful recipes in it!) . . . each ad got a different girl. Like her jammie bottoms?  I knew you would. And Now? I just designed the very first page of the 2017 calendars, which is my next project. Before we leave for our cross-country book tour at the end of April, all of my projects will be done, and turned in.  To celebrate it’s 30th year, we will have a brand new printing of Heart of the Home, with 16 new pages included, coming in July . . . yes, and all the calendars will be done. I will be FREE as a bird. FREE, FREE, FREE! (Till I decide what next fool hardy thing I should do!)  But now?IMG_5866

Now I wander around the house taking pictures of snow flakes frozen to  the windows. Because, until I was almost 36, I never even knew this existed!

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It all came as a wonderful surprise, these lovely wintry views across the frozen tundra.

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Little feathery ice trails.

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Look at what I was missing!

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 So what if the pipes are frozen in one of the upstairs bathrooms? So what if when we open the silverware drawer we get blasted with icy air because somehow back in there seems not to have any insulation! So what if they are  warning us that we can get frostbite in only ten minutes in the great outdoors? We can take it!  And, we stay in! We are no dummies!

IMG_3075We know where our bread is buttered.  And where our stuffing lies waiting . . .Stuffed Pork ChopsThis is our dinner tonight . . . Oven on for extra coziness! Apples, raisins, cinnamon, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and juicy pork chops . . . who could ask for anything more on a wild and wooly winter night? And I have time! No book!

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Jack knows how to stay warm!

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And we all send Valentine good wishes . . . from our house to yours . . .

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 Happy Valentine’s Day Girlfriends!!!  I can’t thank you enough for your wonderful support during this rather lonely journey through book writing. It’s such a difference to read your kind comments and know I’m not alone. And a special thank you to everyone who wrote yesterday to tell me it was Sunday! XOXO

Girlfriendsforeverart Girlfriends

Thank YOU!

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Book Tour MapBe sure to stop by and say hello while we are out and about!  I’d love to meet you!

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504 Responses to The Cruel Miss

  1. Debra Henderson says:

    Ah, Susan, your Downton blogs are my Monday highlight! As I was watching this episode, something very ominous hit me, and I have not been able to let it go…I’m afraid that we have seen the last of Granny! :(((( I don’t know why, but I’m scared that her trip abroad is how they have written her off! :'( I guess we’ll see, but that is my concern. I am so going to miss Downton! I heard Julian say that there will not be a happy ending for everyone, and I’m scared they’re going to leave Mary single, and Granny gone! I’m even worried about mean ol’ Barrow! I think he’s depressed and suicidal! What are we going to do??????

    • sbranch says:

      No no, they would never do that. She will come home for Christmas. Yes, she has to! As for your last question, life will be less interesting without darling Downty.

  2. Pom Pom says:

    Hi Susan! Congratulations! You finished the wonderful story! I can’t wait to see it, to read it, to LOVE it!
    I knew you’d love that puppy! Wasn’t Robert cute, cuddling it like he did?
    Aw, Granny! She’s the best, best, best.
    Mrs. Patmore IS so great, too. She’s turned into such a true-blue, salt of the earth, kindred spirit. Yay!
    I am so sad it’s almost over. The Christmas show is the last, right?
    A movie? How exciting!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I do think the Christmas Show is last, and something makes me think it’s 2 hours. Robert is a lovable guy and easy to see why Cora said yes!

  3. Laurie Nico's mom says:

    Am I the only Downton watcher who suspects that Mary is being set up to be the next dowager? No one seems to be good enough for her, the world is changing, but she and “George are made made of sterner stuff”. Maybe she’s had her romance and raising her son and running Downton will be her life. God knows finding a man to tolerate her sniping would be quite a chore.
    Laurie
    Nico’s mom

    • sbranch says:

      I agree, she is the young version. But her wit will have to be honed to a finer point, possibly by the time she is 80, she will be able to do it!

  4. Kristi says:

    Let me add my warmest congratulations to all the rest, well done you! (I speak Downtonesque for a few days after a new episode…). I once made your pork chop dish noted above, my in-laws had come to town and I was cooking what I hoped would be a well thought out menu of goodies. When I went to remove it from the oven my Pyrex casserole broke into several pieces! I was far more sad to lose your wonderful pork chop goodness than I was to lose the dish, and we ended up going out to eat instead, and all was well. I no longer use Pyrex glass pans for anything other than sweet things, lesson learned! I am so happy for your soon to be free time, I can only imagine how it feels to finish the book of your life. And to know that someone wants to turn it into a movie? As they say, priceless. Congratulations on everything Susan, please try to make a side trip to Minnesota on your book tour!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s kind of shocking! I thought Pyrex was supposed to handle anything! But those kinds of cooking adventures make for very good story telling! xoxo

  5. Heather L. says:

    Congratulations on finishing the book!!!! YAY!!!!! So very excited! Glad you mentioned the calendars because I was wondering when you were going to get them done this year!!!!

    Love your Downton commentary and of course agree with you on everything!!!

  6. Brenda says:

    I love the frozen snowflakes on your windows, so pretty.
    It’s wonderful that you have finished your book, I can’t wait to get it but, I wish you were making a stop in Michigan. We’d love to have you here.

    • sbranch says:

      I wish we could. We’ll be going something around 7,000 miles and STILL not getting everywhere we’d like!

  7. Claudia Cole says:

    Yes, Violet really gave it good to that stuck-up Amelia. Yay! And that puppy – how adorable. A perfect peace gift for the family and especially Robert’s healing process. She hit the nail right on the head, that ole’ cunning Granny.
    Susan have you ever read “Daphne’s Diary”? It is a beautiful crafting/blog magazine from a young wife and mother in the UK. Anyway, there was a lovely article in number 8 – 2015 about Highclere castle and DTA cast. Since the series started here in the US it has attracted 11 million viewers! Wow! Thank you for your wonderful weekly blog, too.
    I can’t wait to receive your new book!! I’m going to read “Fairytale Girl” at the end of April, and then jump right into “Isle of Dreams”!! Looking forward to seeing you in Salt Lake in May, also.
    Have a happy week.

    • sbranch says:

      If you’ve preordered I’m pretty sure you’ll have Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams by the middle of April! First comes my Girlfriends!

  8. Carolyn says:

    Another great recap of Dowton and so glad for the clothes to be highlighted–so jaw-dropping! Congratulations on finishing the book and stay warm and cozy with Joe and the kitties!

  9. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan!! Everytime I see that red dot at St. Charles, MO for the book tour stop, I am thrilled all over again!!!! So happy that you have finished Isle and are returning to life in the “normal” lane…like knowing what particular day of the week it is….that was a good one…We are still in FL enjoying both the warmth of the sun and warmth from our wonderful friends and family….BIG Downton Abbey fan base here so there is lots of talk, rehash and speculation going on. Each episode brings forth even more devastatingly beautiful clothing for both genders. I still think that Lady Mary will end up with car guy and Lady Edith triumphs over everybody and will live happily ever after. LOVED Granny-to-the-rescue for her bestie (?)…every family needs and should have a “Granny”…especially one that passes out puppies!! Puzzled over the man in the bushes at Mrs. Patmore’s B&B and have enjoyed the GF’s guesses…..I am worried about Mr. Barrow..even though I was mad at him for a bit…it seems he has found himself and his life and now it is about to end(?) and Mr. Carson has been so abrasive here lately…he is seriously on my last nerve and Mrs. Carson has my permission to wallop him upside the head with a rolling pin!! I loved your pictures of being iced in……stay neat and cozy where you are..one of favorite places on the planet….
    love, cindy

    • sbranch says:

      Downton gives us something to gossip about that will cause no harm, only glee! See you in St. Charles!!

  10. Audrianne Hill says:

    Congratulations from being out from under! Can’t wait for the book, the calendars, et al.

    Loved your sharing of Jack Frost’s handiwork on your windows. The photo with the church steeple breaking through is delightful.

  11. OK, now it is my turn! I don’t know why, but I forgot all about Downton on Sunday!!! I really wanted to watch the week before again too. I loved the dress and dinner with the guys!!! Maybe Mr. Carson’s ego blew up when he got married, so now he feels he can insult almost anyone?
    Too many assessories are a bad thing! Too much to keep track of and too much to move!
    I love the kitty jammies. I hope I can finally meet you this Summer, as I may be traveling in the opposite direction!
    Did my comment on Jack Frost a few months back inspire you to take the pictures of the windows? For 11 years I have missed that beauty.
    Warm Hugs,
    Margot

    • sbranch says:

      Probably! I think I had some frost from last winter too… we don’t always have it, but when we do, it’s always beautiful!

  12. Robyn Brown says:

    So excited for the new book. On the D.A. front, I’m so happy for Edith. I swear I think she has gotten prettier since she has “come into her own”. I thought she looked positively elegant on the couch with Mr. Pelham. I hope it works out for her. I wish Mary would give Evelyn another chance. I really felt he was a great guy and he loves her so much. I hope Tom finds love with the new “bright young thing”. Every time someone mentions Anna’s pregnancy I cringe. I’m just so afraid something will happen. The poor Bates’ have been through so much. They are the Charlie Brown of D.A. I am actually kind of feeling sorry for Mr. Barrow. I wish he’d consider working in a clock shop or something like that. He has the experience and he needs to broaden his search for work.

    • sbranch says:

      I agree, she is very beautiful and stylish these days! Isn’t it funny how MUCH Mary and Edith don’t look alike!

  13. Laura in Sacto Ca. says:

    Before I settle in, I hope one day, you will come out with a coloring book for us adults that enjoy coloring. Now, I am getting anxious knowing there are only two more episodes left of DA. I feel doom and gloom is going to happen at any given moment because everything seems to be going along well….except for a blood bath and a death. Other than that it has been enjoyable. I love the fashion this season. I keep thinking: Mr. Barrow is going to kill himself, Edith will still be single, and Mary will be a very old woman before she finds the love of her life….Maybe I am thinking too many Thorn birds thoughts! (another all time favorite of mine) We will see! Happy Tuesday and I cannot wait to read your newest book.

  14. Penny Sempert says:

    Susan Branch you are one crazy girl! Don’t ever change.

  15. Bernie says:

    Tom is too good for Mary. The way she treats Edith…. I hope Edith finds true happiness and Mary has to watch from the sidelines. Karma!!!! I also hope Mosely and Miss Baxter end up together. Here’s a couple for you: Mary & Spratt!!! Ha!

  16. Jo says:

    Love your comment, “all things happen when they’re supposed to”. I believe you are right but it seems the easiest to forget.
    Probably have the most compassion for Violet and Miss Baxter, though “Granny” doesn’t really deserve it. Do hope Miss B. is able to leave the past in the past and get on with a life with Mr. Moseley, the school teacher!
    What will we do when Downton is over, I’m sure you, Susan, will get us involved in something else wonderful as you have before.

    • sbranch says:

      I only know that because I can look back and see it now. . . while I was waiting, it was torture! We’ll take you to Scotland. That will be a big help for the Downty sadness that’s sure to set in.

      • Susan, will you and Joe be going to Highclere? What a shot in the arm for all of us DA fans to see your take on that side trip…..Please go! South of Oxford, about a 40 minute car trip!!!! and you can have tea there or even spend the night!!!! WOW!

        • sbranch says:

          We tried last time but it was closed for shooting. I’m not a person who loves crowds so I’m a little nervous about it from that point of view (ropes, lines, etc), but I’m curious too. I’ll see what Joe says. I really like the smaller places best, like Hill Top and Jane Austen’s house. We went to Chatsworth, a huge estate like Highclere and home to the Duchess of Devonshire among others. Truly magnificent and a place that attracts millions of visitors every year. But it has a little bit of the flavor of Disneyland in the outdoor restaurants with the brightly colored plastic chair seating . . . and the crowds. What was amazing was the beautiful job they did on Anne Boleyn’s Hever Castle … another place where there are weddings and meetings and so forth, but it is plain gorgeous, they did an amazing job with it.

  17. Love, love, LOVE your recaps…and we are all going to cry when it’s over! But in happier news, I saw your date for your tour to Malaprops Book Store in North Carolina and boldly marked it in red on my SB desk calendar 🙂 June 27th at 7pm can not get here fast enough! xoxo Jacqui G

  18. jane alexander says:

    Oh my goodness! Not having watched Downton before this season, I am stunned there are only 2 more episodes. I am still learning their names! So sad! But, now I can go back and see the other seasons, but it will be without your comments, which I totally enjoy!
    I gave my sister in law your book for Christmas. She loved it, and has already ordered the other two. We all love and appreciate you, dear Susan.

  19. Starr miller says:

    Congrats Susan- you did it. Dreams do come true!
    Can’t wait to get my copy and read Martha’s Vineyard…. You have been so dedicated to finishing it.
    Downton Abby was wonderful again. Violet had me laughing out loud. Mr. Mosley brought tears. All the characters are so well written.
    Always love to read your take- and your comments on the latest fashions.
    Soon you’ll have all your projects finished, how exciting.
    I look forward to your next travel adventures across the USA.
    I love seeing the towns and events through your eyes.
    We’ve had some snow here in Chicago but it’s warming up this weekend. Such a strange winter it has been here.
    Be well–

    • sbranch says:

      Warm here too, like 38 degrees . . . just came back from a walk on the beach . . . so heavenly, I wished I had a blankie and could just lay there in my giant snow clothes and soak up that just barely warm but very bright sunshine, and be washed by the sound of the waves. I lingered as long as I thought I could get aways with it! 🙂

  20. Hi Susan,
    I love your D.A reviews. So much fun to smile about the show. Oh, I agree, Violet was the hit of the show. :-)) I loved how she cracked the nut!! Hee Hee
    So happy for you and the book!! Can not wait :-))
    Lots of Love,
    Carla

  21. Suzette Shoulders says:

    Dear Susan, I quit watching ‘Downton’ when Julian killed off Matthew, couldn’t take it anymore. But I do love the precis you give , so I will know the fate of the main characters that didn’t die! On another subject, I sure wish you were going to do a book-signing at ‘Annie Bloom’s Books’ in SW Portland, Oregon. The shop is named after their black and white cat, obviously you need to go there! Just sayin’! I LOVE your windows with Jack Frost decorations, how cool! Suzette in central Oregon, where we have had a false spring going on for days, very nice! But we all KNOW it cannot last!

    • sbranch says:

      That was beyond cruel. But since the actor was going, the only other choice was to demonize him and that wouldn’t have been too good either! I was pretty upset with Sybil too. That was awful and no reason for it! We tried to go to Portland, but both Annie’s and Powell’s had other things going on and we just ran out of time and needed to move forward with the rest of the trip . . . I’m so sorry, we really wanted to get up there. Seattle too, not a lot of reception, but we’ll definitely try again next time! Joe’s never been up there and I really wanted him to see that gorgeous area.

      • Christie says:

        Oh, I so much hope you and Joe do get to the Pacific Northwest someday! I completely agree with you, it is a gorgeous area – bordered on the east by the Cascade Mountains and on the west by the Olympic Mountains, Seattle is snugged next to Puget Sound, Portland lives on both the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, and wonderful evergreen trees grow tall everywhere in between! I think you both will feel right at home there while enjoying so many new sights. I’m from Seattle with lots of family in the Portland area. Although I live in No. CA for now, I did write to both Powell’s and Elliott Bay bookstores requesting a Susan Branch event. Having you at either would have been a such a super treat for my WA/OR friends, and of course I would have HAD to visit family at the same time. Both bookstores (and the surrounding PNW population) lost out by not inviting you. Maybe next year….when your Scotland book is published? 🙂 Meanwhile, I am very glad that Danville is only a few hours drive from Sacramento. See you in May! xxoo

        • sbranch says:

          Oh good Christie, makes me happy to know I’ll see you! I took a train once from Seattle down through Portland and then around Crater Lake and I’ll never forget how gorgeous it was.

      • Tawni urrutia says:

        So, sweet Susan Branch, I ‘ve read in few comments how you weren’t received with open arms, and lots of panting(ok, that’s how I would react to your call!)for book signings the Pac Nor West. I am so shocked everytime I read it, I finally had to comment. Even if they’d never heard of you, poor dears, couldn’t they look at your body of work and let the cartwheeling down the hallways begin? I can’t help but imagine Mr Potter, from It’s a Wonderful Life, as the bookstore owner that would pass on the honor of having you.
        I hope you and Joe will get to take a vacation to that part of country a do a few signings for the Girlfriends that are missing you this go round.
        ❌⭕️❌⭕️
        Tawni Urrutia in Lodi, Ca

        • sbranch says:

          Oh Tawni, you are so sweet. I’ve always run a little bit under the radar, and I think that’s what it is with these bookstores. But you know, I have my Girlfriends and pretty much, that’s what matters. Thank you for all your support! XOXO

        • Charissa says:

          You are so right! I completely agree. Your Mr Potter reference made me laugh. Thanks for putting into words how we all feel. 🙂

  22. Susan McKenna says:

    Thanks for all the smiles. When I get an email from you I find a quiet time to brew the Oolong (or Geen or White or whatever the spirit of the moment moves me to), sit back and savor it (the tea AND your email)! That’s when “All is well with the Worlld” for me; time for “Tales from Susan; Vineyard news, Downton reviews, chit-chat, recipes and more. Now that “The End” of your book has arrived….(congrats!), WHEN the book tours and tea times and travel have ended…. BEFORE the movie rights….(By the way… Stick to your guns in keeping the story your own. “They” often change the true script… And that’s how people will remember you. It happened to my son. A movie came out having to do with his life and several scenes/instances were not true and changed by the screenwriter, or whomever. I find myself often telling people the true happenings. Your story is great. Why fabricate it?)
    This friend (me… and I am sure others) would love to see a series of functional, old-fashioned, easy to use, difficult to destroy “Spiral Bound” 5″x7″ or 7″x9″ Susan Branch cookbooks to save our special Susan Branch from splattered pages and finger prints. Think about it….when you have time! 💕🙋

  23. Kathleen Spaeth says:

    War & Peace, which was shown in 4 parts of 2-hours, was shown on Lifetime Television and the History Channel (and finished last Monday: 2/8/16) out here in Massachusetts. It was a very interesting adaptation, I greatly enjoyed the Military Costumes, and we (my Husband and I) watched it faithfully and he recommended it to me (since he read about it on-line prior to its first part). We faithfully watch Downtown Abbey together too! He, my loving Dude of 26-years, wants Mary and Tom to become a couple. I find that hard to handle since Sybil and Mary were faithful Sisters (and Tom has a namesake Daughter). I have not liked Henry (but I found his boldness to be refreshing), even though I so felt bad for him losing his Best Friend in a horrible Race Car Crash that he could have died in instead, because he is below Mary’s Station. I want, but alas he got Married to another women who was originally his Finance before Mary broke his heart, Lord Tony Gillingham to come back. I was rather shocked that Mary risked her reputation, and her Family’s Name, to have such a torrid affair with him (but she never married him). Edith must tell Bertie the truth about Marigold (she is more than just the Family’s Ward). Thomas was such a former wicked and conniving man with Mrs. O’Brien, and Mr. Carson remembers what he did and how he acted. Now Thomas wants redemption and kindness extended to him. But, I feel conflicted about this and so does Mr. Carson. I don’t know that I trust Thomas, since he does everything he can to enamor himself to Mary and George. Since when was Anna expecting Twins? Mr. Carson will now realize just what it is like to run his Private Household and how important Mrs. Hugh’s is and I hope he appreciates her more? I am rather shocked by Daisy’s behavior and no Lordship would have tolerated her language and outspokenness towards the new Land Lord. She should have been fired and would have been had it not been for Cora’s intervention. Violet’s kindness, and her gift to his Lordship, Robert, so touched us. We have an almost 9-month old Female Black Labrador and we always wanted to get a Puppy and raise it up. We call 2015 the year of the Roxie Puppy! We always looked for Isis and were so sad when she died. Violet redeemed herself by giving Robert Teo and showned everyone that she can be kindhearted too. She knows how much Isis meant to Robert, how he came close to dying, and how he needs something to cheer him up. Now who gets to housebreak her? Labradors will lick your face without being coaxed. It is in their happy nature. I Love how everyone gathered around her bed, placed on the downstairs’ dining room table no less, and was overjoyed with her introduction! Yes, we watch and analyze Downtown too!! So I greatly enjoy your Downtown posts!!!

  24. Mamey says:

    I can’t wait for the new book!!!! Congrats on finishing it!! I am so excited!

  25. Cheryl says:

    Congratulations on finishing the book! The ads look fabulous. I can’t wait to see it in person.
    Oh Mr. Carson….. so funny.
    I was so happy when Lord Grantham saw that puppy! So sweet.
    Love your show recaps.

  26. Pam says:

    I look forward to your Downton recaps almost as much as I do watching the program!! I’ll sure miss them when (eek!) the series ends!
    Thank you!!

  27. Diane Profy says:

    Will miss Downty, but also your comments which keep getting better and better.
    Followed you in early days, always loved your illustrations and recipes. Looking
    Forward to seeing you in May at the New Hope Library! best wishes on book and travels!

    Diane

  28. Vivian S. says:

    Hi Susan- It’s me Vivian. You know what’s funny? I was waiting for the latest “narrow” head comment. You are so funny. And totally right about that hat perched on top of his head. I hope he doesn’t read this! Congratulations on finishing the book. I am excited to see it. I wish you were coming to Portland Or, Powell’s books should make room for you. My daughter and I would be first in line. Say “Hi” to Joe and the kitties.

    • sbranch says:

      I hope he doesn’t read it either, I thought about that, that’s bad of me! He is ADORABLE and we all know it! Jack is sitting next to me now, warm little furry guy. I’ll say Hi!

  29. Troy Louise says:

    I love your Downton reviews! I don’t know what I will do when it’s all over, but knowing I can come back to your blog & see all the fun pics will certainly help. Congrats on finishing the book. Love your ads, which I will check out when I receive both of those fun magazines in the mail. Stay warm & give that darling Jack a tummy rub.

  30. Regina Carretta says:

    Susan – thank you for your wintery photos and your witty observations of our Downton…..now, Tom is a warm, sweet-natured man, and our Lady Mary is not warm, and is a bit of a snob….Tom seems made for a kind-spirited, caring, working woman…..Mary and Tom are better suited as family….he can share his human kindness with her, and tutor her to become thoughtful …. warmth is a hard thing to teach, eh? This says a lot about what excellent actors they all are – they get under our skin and make us believe, make us think…..particularly Thomas….life was difficult, I would guess, for a gay man in the 1920’s so I imagine his story line won’t be wrapped up in a bow….but him finding work he loves, in a home where “he has roots” would be an excellent ending for his character…..
    thanks again, Susan – from rainy Seattle, where daffodils are poking their heads up….

    • sbranch says:

      I think, for the long run, it’s what people have in common that matters most, what they love, separately first, but then when they come together, and love the same things, it gives depth to the relationship. I don’t think Mary loves what Henry loves. She loves Downton and so does Tom. And you have daffodils! That is such a hopeful sign! xoxo

  31. Sandi says:

    Susan, I seldom comment but I do get such a kick out of your DA review! I simply love Violet. Imagine taking off without a word but leaving her son that adorable puppy! Gotta love her! Just wanted to say thanks for your fun post. It’s highly entertaining, almost as much as the show itself, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. Also, Congratulations on finishing your book! I’m sure it’s splendid.

  32. Wanda Susanne says:

    I can’t wait to read your next book! I loved the first two, and am so happy that you finished this story!!!
    Thank you for adding such a joy in my life! I love everything you write about, and it inspires me to be a better person.
    You are such a blessing to me.

  33. Connie Haltermann says:

    So–today while I was deciding WHICH cookbook pages of yours would have the privilege of being the first on display on my brand new Susan Branch red wrought iron cookbook holder, I ended up rearranging all the various cookbooks I have collected over the years. It then occurred to me, out of the blue, to write and ask you when you are going to write SPRING and WINTER cookbooks to go with your AUTUMN and SUMMER cookbooks. [C’mon, Susan….you know we all HAVE to have them eventually.] By the way, the SPRING and MORE SPRING pages from Vineyard Seasons won out to be the first on display. This will help me get ready for Spring. Thanks so much for brightening up my red and white kitchen!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank YOU so much Connie! xoxo

      • Connie Haltermann says:

        You’re welcome! (Will you ever do Spring and Winter cookbooks to complete the set??? I hope so!)

        • sbranch says:

          I hope I can before my hands stop working or something. I have a Breakfast book I would like to finish . . . and maybe a diary about Scotland, but we’ll see . . . there was so much winter in the Autumn book, and so much Spring in the Summer book, and so much of all of it in my calendars, I never felt as though it was an emergency, but others have asked for them too and I should try.

  34. Kay Bennett says:

    Susan, I’d love to share with you and the rest of our Downton Abbey fans, an interesting blog I discovered today. (You may already be aware of it). It’s Lady Carnarvon’s blog. She is married to George Herbert, 8th Earl of Carnarvon. She and her husband live in Highclere Castle. She handles all the affairs of the castle and has written interesting books about the women who have lived there. I think it will help to follow her blog and read some of the interesting things happening in and around the castle to help ease the “pain” of losing Downton Abbey. I do hope you will be able to visit the castle whenever you are in England again. I have to admit I love everything about the English countryside. Your book, A Fine Romance, is the perfect description of how beautiful the countryside is. Thank you!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve seen her blog — so interesting! Can you just imagine what the people who lived there in the 1700s would think of that!?!

  35. Cyndi in NC says:

    Oh my!! The book is done!! I love it!!! (I’m a little excited as you can tell!!!!) I just got home from Disney World trip with my daughter, son in law, two darling step grand daughters and son in laws mom who I love. Three days at Disney World!! I was worn out. I missed Downton but knew it was DVR’d. So when I saw this blog entry in my mailbox and opened it I stopped in my tracks and asked my husband if I could watch it before I cooked dinner. Of course he said sure! (He watched it on Sunday live. *L*) Yes, was happy to see Mr. Carson get his comeuppance! He needed to be taken down a notch or two! Mary, what can we say. Too much happening!! The puppy, I just knew that was how Violet had sent with her butler. SO SWEET!! All the face licking, a warm puppy body to cuddle. Life is good! Love the peek at Jack behind the couch pillow. Oh Susan, I can’t wait to try the pork chops. My husband thinks pork is a food group all it’s own! Ok, I have to stop and calm down, it’s almost bed time!!!!!!! Hugs to all!

  36. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Was it Dinah Shore – see the USA in your Chevrolet? My 1st thought seeing the map with all the little red dots (I think they’re really hearts)! Will your “Love” machine have all 3 books covering it now? I’ll need to know, in case I get out of Smallville & am out on the road whilst you’re touring!!!! You were probably skipping as you & Joe made your way to the water. The ads are great, & Joe’s contribution too! And the snow flakes, with the steeple peeking through….sigh…., a lovely sight! And, I don’t want the movie folks to change one word, not one word, not any of your words…they’re wonderful words! To see ”
    The End” so beautifully painted, thrills me too! So proud of you girlfriend….you did it! Joe and the kitties, kept those home fires burning so you could get out those words…..bravo to them! Happy, happy, happy & congratulations! xoxoxo!!!

    • sbranch says:

      We are skipping . . . for a few days there, we have been waiting, in vain, and, as time went on, kind of hysterically, for the permissions for the MUSICA I used in the book, they didn’t come, they didn’t come, and all the time, the rest of the book is at the printers, waiting for these approvals. If these permissions didn’t come, I had to remove the songs from the book. This morning I got up, facing the music and began looking at each page and what I could do, how I could remove these songs and keep continuity etc. Then around noon, they were ALL APPROVED!!! You have no idea. Its a true roller coaster, up to the top, stomach dropping, down to the bottom, climbing and then the top again. Yikes! But we have them, and now its all Okay again! Book writing looks so benign! Thank you dearheart, for all your wonderful and forever support … you’ll never know how much it means.

  37. Lyn Cooke says:

    Just a note to tell you what joy you bring to your readers! Reading your books and blog are pure delight and inspiration. I’m almost done reading “A Fine Romance” and cannot wait to read “Isle of Dreams”. Thank you for sharing your most special gift. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      That is so nice to hear Lyn, thank you so much. I hope you like it! And thank you for the kind words. xoxo

  38. Laurie Walt says:

    Hi Susan! Can’t wait for the book! I love having something to look forward to. Especially when it comes from your beautiful mind! My hubby and I are talking about a trip to M.V. in 2018 for our 40th anniversary. I have never been to the ocean and I love all things beachy. I am crossing my fingers and toes! Ferry rides, lighthouses, sandy beaches, and maybe a cottage with a fireplace because we don’t have a fireplace! Wish upon a star for us! The snowdrops will be blooming soon! Got one in my windowsill that I am forcing although I like to use the word encouraging because it sounds friendlier. Love.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Laurie, to have never seen the ocean and then to get to go? Isn’t that the best? I’m so excited for you! All that you hope for is here, just like you dream it. Lots of little cottages for rent here, for a week at a time or more, with fireplaces! I’m wishing on a star for you!

  39. Dianna says:

    Have always wondered where you get the fabulous still photos from the Downton Abbey episodes… love reliving them with your commentary!

    Have bought your calendars every year since you started doing them and have all your books and several of your art prints… love your work! We won’t have Downton Abbey anymore but hopefully will always have you!

    • sbranch says:

      You are so sweet, thank you Dianna, I’m afraid it might not be the same without Downton. As for the photos, I just take pictures of the TV! Some of them come out good, but defintely not all! xoxo

  40. nancy says:

    Dear Susan, As Ka Ka Katie said to Hubbel, “I love the way you write”. Yes, that hat on Henry gave me a Laurel and Hardy moment and the kiss was like
    kissing your hand. Fellows just doesn’t get it. However, the setting in the
    tunnel and all the clothes are just wonderful. Can’t wait for April – your
    book, more PBS and new Outlander in Paris with beautiful costumes. Enjoy
    the best cozy season we’ve ever had.

  41. KarenP. (Wisconsin) says:

    So thrilled! It’s been a Susan Branch kind of day for me today! I finally ordered MV: Isle of Dreams! I booked a spot at the tea party for the Women’s Exchange in Illinois (was so worried I’d missed my chance), AND I found, at long last, the black iron Pilgrim candleholders that I have been admiring on your Thanksgiving tablescapes for years! I shall think of you fondly with thankfulness every Thanksgiving! ♡

    • sbranch says:

      You are kidding! You found those candleholders? I have never seen another pair, so that is really quite amazing. How very fun, you will truly love them, I’m sure, just as I do. SO happy to know you’ll be at the Tea Party!

      • KarenP. (Wisconsin) says:

        I have literally been looking for several years….since you blogged about your Thanksgiving table. Sooooo thrilled with them! Apparently they are from the 70s? I guess if you search for something long and hard enough in this technological age you can find it! So excited to see you again at the tea! And my sweet friend, Dawn, whom I met there last time! xoxo

  42. Mary S. says:

    I have been trying to find the comment left by one of the “Girlfriends”, recommending “War and Peace” and cannot find it. Maybe she will read this – I want to thank her for telling us how good it is. Because of her recommendation, my husband and I started watching it, and it is wonderful!!! We absolutely love it! Lily James is just as adorable in it as she is in “Cinderella” and “Downton Abbey”!
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  43. Janet says:

    Susan, I am giving you a heads-up – please make sure do remember it is Sunday this weekend because you MUST NOT MISS the next episode. My jaw is still on the floor!! I “accidentally” saw it on Amazon/Roku. I am home recovering from foot surgery and watching a lot of live streaming things. I hadn’t watched last Sunday’s Downton yet so I settled in with my cuppa and the clicker. Well, when the last episode was done it went right into the next one which will be this coming Sunday’s episode. I think I can watch the next episodes all the way through to the end now but I don’t want to get ahead of everyone else so I’m trying not to. I am trying very, very hard….

  44. jane says:

    Good Friday morn, dear Susan! Is the snow melting yet? Is there still God’s art on the Windows? In the northwest, we are just dodging raindrops and breezes.
    It’s Jane, the whiner, and her sidekick, Sue, — the ones booked to come to SLO on the train. We received our event tickets and are Nos. 6 and 7 in line, so we feel confident we will FINALLY get to meet you!
    Could you give us some quick advice about where to stay? We have an “in” with Best Western and Executive Suites but don’t know if we should book a room in SLO or Morro Bay. We arrive on Saturday and will want to shop. We love scrapbooking, knitting, antiques, and, of course, eating. Do I remember a blog from long ago where you raved about fish tacos? Was that SLO?
    WE ARE OVER THE MOON with excitement and our last chore is to decide where to stay. We would appreciate your ideas — we don’t know if there’s much of a trek from SLO to Morrow Bay for the event.
    Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      If I were you, I think I would look stay in Morro Bay, and shop in Cambria. Look on your map. There are GREAT antique stores in Cambria, cute little shops, it’s a tiny town with good restaurants (see Moonstone Beach) and really lots of pretty countryside and ocean views between the two towns. Cambria is probably 20 min or so north of Morro Bay, and SLO is probably 20 min south of Morro Bay. In Morro Bay, over by the golf course is Bayside Cafe, yum! Have the Tres Leche Cake. San Luis has some serious shopping . . . on Higuera and Monterey and the side streets that hook them together, mainly. But it’s bigger . . . and Cambria is filled with charm. So it’s up to you!

  45. Kathleen from Philly says:

    Dear Susan,
    I too, look forward to the Monday posts, which raise more food for thought. The funny thing is that my husband Rich, a fellow Downtonian, now also reads them because I’m always laughing or talking back as I read. I think this has been going on for some time, though I’m sure he will deny it! Peter Rabbit alert for you! I work in that wonderful kitchen dreamland, “W-S”. I’m not promoting the store but they have all manner of Peter Rabbit goodies for Easter. I was helping a customer the other day and we discovered we were your “girlfriends”, both with tickets for the tea in New Hope. We are looking forward to that day !

    • sbranch says:

      How fun is that? My WS spatulas have Peter Rabbit on them 🙂 FUN place to work, I’ve been going there for pretty much my whole life.

  46. Cathy Hoff says:

    I think the phone number listed for An Unlikely Story bookstore is incorrect. Their website lists it at 0244; your web page says 0255. Sorry to leave this here…wasn’t sure how to let you know otherwise. I called to see when tickets go on sale – can you see how anxious I am? lol…don’t want to get left out. Have a great weekend.

    • sbranch says:

      Oops, well we will have to fix that. Are the tickets on sale yet? I was thinking about calling them . . .

  47. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh, how I love this music! Just fits the post perfectly!!! Cora’s dress at the beginning of your post was gorgeous! And how Mary (who is way to curt for me, most of the time) dresses so beautifully. And of course who wasn’t happy to see the puppy?? Do you think this was the last we will see of Granny?? I loved her and of course will miss her dearly..

    Snow…now that in itself is another story. I had some nieces and a nephew who were transplanted at a very young age, to CA! Their uncle brought them back to visit and it was so fun and exciting to see them frolic in the snow for the first time. We were so use to it, sometimes we don’t realize what we have in life. I always loved the seasons, and now you are experiencing them too. Wonderful, huh??

    Blessings…

    • sbranch says:

      A complete surprise to me still, every year, even after all this time. It seems so much more “real” to me. The year is marked with them in the best way, like celebrations that no one can harness! I think Granny will come home for Christmas, and make us all cry. xoxo Love to you Gert.

  48. Virginia says:

    My Downton week is not complete til I have read your blog and all the posts, examined every photo–how do I miss so much on TV?–and put in my 2 cents so here it is. I think Mr Carson is acting up because, much as he loves Mrs Hughes and wanted to marry her, it was a huge change that inevitably came with the loss of a life he lived and loved for so many years. So it’s not about the way she cooked dinner. It’s just his way of grieving one thing while adjusting to something new. I hope that’s not too psychobabbly!

    And now for something completely different, to quote Monty Python. People have asked what kind of camera you use and you have told us but I keep forgetting to write it down. Would you mind telling us again? I promise to write it down this time!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s so smart. He’s having to give up power in a way. And my camera is a Canon T2i .. and a few years old. 🙂

      • Virginia says:

        Hmmm. I honestly don’t think it’s a power thing tho I might be wrong. Just a massive adjustment.

        And many thanks for the camera info!

        • sbranch says:

          Well not the normal kind of power, I was just thinking after all those years he had things figured out to be just the way he wanted them to be. But now there was someone new in the mix, a new place to live, a new lifestyle and maybe he unconsciously he felt that he didn’t have control of his life anymore. Not really realizing the changes marriage would bring. So he reacted by trying to gain that control back. Or something. VERY analytical for a Saturday morning about someone who doesn’t exist!!! 🙂 Ha ha ha!

  49. Saartje says:

    Ok, I just have to ask, because I keep fighting with my mum about this (not really fighting, more arguing). In your add it says your third book (Martha’s Vineyard) is ‘hand lettered’. Apparently it says this somewhere on the second book (Fairy Tale Girl) as well, whereas, or so my mother claims, on the first it says hand written. So, she says, you have written the first book by hand, but in the following books, you have ‘just’ created a ‘Susan-Branch-handwriting-font’ and are CHEATING! That’s what my mum calls it. I think the book are all written by hand, but should they not be, I wouldn’t feel cheated because The Fairy Tale Girl looks just as lovely as the first. But it does keep bugging me, and to be honest, I would like to win the argument with my mum. It’s not pretty, I know, but maybe you could humor me and let me know the TRUTH? I remain a committed fan, regardless of your answer, but I cannot promise I will tell my mum the truth if it turns out she was right. Mothers have this irritating quality of being right way too often… 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, as I’ve mentioned before, let your mom know :-)…up until and including A Fine Romance, all of my books are completely handwritten. It was easy because my cookbooks didn’t need much editing and the few fixes were relatively easy because each page stands alone (didn’t need to flow as part of a story to the next page). But a handwritten story book is very difficult, actually impossible, to edit because each handwritten page is done as a separate piece of art, so if you remove or change a word or a sentence or a paragraph, you have a hole on the page that would require a complete rewrite that would have to carry on to the next page and the next and the next … you might never finish! Which came to sad light during the writing of A Fine Romance — after that we realized that in order to get my books edited (which bookstores were urging me to do), I would make a font from the printed handwriting in A Fine Romance, and use it for the body of the writing for both The Fairy Tale Girl and Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams. But for both, I kept all the cursive, the pen quotes and the watercolor words in my hand lettering. Plus all the laying out of each page is done by hand, and the artwork, of course. As it turns out, I’m not so sure about using the font, it certainly didn’t make things any faster or easier, I would much rather handwrite it, but at least I could send the words to the editor for corrections. Does that make sense? I am sorry but your mom is right! As usual! But I would never want to deceive anyone . . .Sometimes I wish I wrote books the normal way. Just words, no pictures. I could write so much more! Time wise! I’m glad you asked, I like to clarify when I can . . . Thank you!

      • Saartje says:

        Thank you very much for taking time to answer me! I really don’t care either way, the books look gorgeous and I’m glad you write the way you do. It makes me feel as if I’m taking a peek into a diary (with permission, of course). But who knows, you might write a ‘normal’ book yet… . I’m looking forward to the next one of the trilogy, as is my mum. Even though, according to her, you’re ‘cheating, she doesn’t stop nagging me to borrow my books as soon as I’ve ordered them, and she still hasn’t returned the first two. Like me, she likes to keep them around and leaf through them now and then. Maybe I should get her the set as a gift some day!

  50. Ooh the pure delight of finishing a task – most particularly a joyful one!
    Glad you are finished- can’t wait to read it and to see you in May on the book-tour. <3

    Now… cozy on down and hug those kitties- the photo of Jack burrowing into the couch cushions is delightful. I just know he and our Poirot are kindred cat spirits- with their "leetle moos-staches" and tuxedo purrs-sonalities. 🙂

    On Downty- (love that) haha! poor, poor Carson working his fingers to the bone warming up that meal had me completely cracking up- I loved the smug little smile of Mrs. Hughes-Carson so graciously giving him permission to wash the dishes in the morning. AND O love Mrs. Patmore for thinking of the perfect solutions and explaining generosity of spirit to Daisy too. Cooks rock the wisdom! Please let her little B and B thrive. fingers crossed.
    Also, I too, feel a small pang for Barrows- even though he has been such a nasty piece of work through the years. They discard him so callously. 🙁 Oh boy can't wait for tonight!
    Sending love and light and hopefully some warmth in that cutlery drawer. 🙂
    xox
    G

  51. Beth Barnat says:

    Dear Susan, I noticed in the picture with the fireplace and the kitty (near the end) the top of a book (an old book) by Lloyd C. Douglas. I don’t know which one it is, but I’ve read about 3 of his books and wanted to tell you something fun about him.

    My best friend from high school lives off a country road in Larwill, IN. On the way to her house there is a little church called Salem Community Church, a cemetery and an old brass sign saying that Lloyd C. Douglas was the minister there (I can’t remember the dates on the sign). I was so excited when I first saw that sign. He was a wonderful author, but did not have a good experience with the production of “The Robe,” based on his book by the same name.

    From Wikipedia: “The Robe” sold more than 2 million copies, without any reprint edition. Douglas sold the motion picture rights to this story, though the film, starring Richard Burton, was not released until 1953, after Douglas’s death.
    His own unhappy experience of filming prompted Douglas, when he produced The Big Fisherman as the sequel to The Robe, to stipulate that The Big Fisherman would be his last novel, and that he would not permit it to be made into a motion picture, used over the radio, condensed or serialised. Eventually, The Big Fisherman was filmed in 1959, starring Howard Keel in one of his few non-singing screen roles as Peter.

    • sbranch says:

      So they did it anyway, even though he said no? That’s amazing! The book I have is an old Christmas book called Home for Christmas.

  52. evangeline says:

    Dear Susan, So glad to be back on computer…has been many months… I am happy that you finished you book! Hurray!! I went back to school this past summer and now am a licensed massage therapist, 36 years a nurse so now another road to experience…. I lost my beautiful son in May 2015….. I have not been able to more than survive most days…my sweetest grandboy, Malakai, keeps the sunshine in my life ……I am more than excited, you are coming to Asheville NC in June….I will be first in line!!! So happy you are finished with book! I so appreciate your way of seeing such beauty and fun in every day life….much love always, Evangeline…………

    • sbranch says:

      SO happy to hear your voice Evangeline . . . I look forward to meeting you in NC. I’m so very sorry about your son. Terrible and wrong on every level. Nothing like a grandchild to help the sun to keep shining. xoxo

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