Two books that made my June sparkle

A Magical Inheritance by Krista D. Ball

book cover for a magical inheritance shows a women in regency clothes against a backdrop of bookshelves and flying booksAmazon Digital Services, 2019 
Format: ebook

From the Book Description: 

“Miss Elizabeth Knight received an unexpected legacy upon her uncle’s death: a collection of occult books. When one of the books begins talking to her, she discovers an entire world of female occultist history opened to her—a legacy the Royal Occult Society had purposely hidden from the world.

However, the magic allowing the book to speak to Miss Knight is fading and she must gather a group of female acquaintances of various talents. Together, they’ll need to work to overcome social pressures, ambitious men, and tyrannical parents, all to bring Mrs. Egerton, the book ghost, back.”

What I Thought

Oh my goodness, I do so enjoy Krista D. Ball’s sense of humor. The weekend I treated myself to A Magical Inheritance was one of the happiest reading weekends I experienced last June. Strong female characters. A sprinkling of magic. Period costumes. All delightful. But what really kept me hooked were the deliciously dysfunctional family dynamics. I am really looking forward to the next entry in this series. 

Who Would Enjoy This Book

  • Readers who enjoy their historical fiction peppered with capable women and spiced with magic

The National Trust Book of Scones: 50 Delicious Recipes and Some Curious Crumbs of History by Sarah Clelland

book cover for book of scones features a yummy scone filled with clotted cream and raspberry jam on a pale pink background. OMG I'm hungry. Is it tea time yet?National Trust Books, 2017 
Format: Cookbook

From the Book Description: 

“Scone obsessive Sarah Cleland has gathered 50 scone recipes from National Trust experts around the country, and has written a quirky guide to 50 National Trust places to delight and entertain you while you bake or eat those blissful treats. Eccentric owners, strange treasures, obscure facts—it’s all here. Whip up a Triple Chocolate Scone while you read about the mechanical elephants at Waddeston Manor, savor an Apple & Cinnamon Scone while you absorb the dramatic love life of Henry Cecil of Hanbury Hall, or marvel at a Ightham Mote’s Grade 1 listed dog kennel while you savor a Cheese, Spring Onion and Bacon Scone. 50 of the best scones in history and 50 of the best places to read about—you’ll never need to leave the kitchen again. Includes dual measures.

What I Thought

My summer project for 2019 is to bake more scones because baking scones scares me, and in general I think I should get over stupid fears like that.

While hunting the web for some scone recipes with which to get started, I stumbled across Sarah Clelland’s National Trust Scones blog. Basically, Clelland spends her days traveling to various National Trust sites in the U.K., learning their history, and reviewing the quality of the scones in their tea shops. Naturally, when I discovered she had a book of the best scone recipes she’s found so far, I had to buy it. I am a firm believer in supporting this sort of quality investigative work. 

Many of the recipes in the book are for savory scones, a concept I’m not ready to embrace yet. But the recipes for sweet scones I’ve tried so far have all been pretty tasty. I will admit, though, that my favorite remains the classic Plain Scone from the Tintagel Old Post Office in Cornwall. It really is the best with clotted cream and jam. And is a scone really a scone if it doesn’t taste good slathered in clotted cream and jam? 

Baker’s Note: This book is written for U.K. bakers, so the oven temperatures are in Celsius, the dry ingredients are often measured in grams, and the liquid ones in milliliters. U.S. bakers who aren’t in the habit of weighing their ingredients should be prepared to do some conversions. Fortunately, the recipes in this book are pretty simple–most only include 4-8 ingredients, so there just isn’t that much conversion work to be done before you can start baking. 

Who Would Enjoy This Book

  • Anglophiles curious about the history of England’s national parks
  • Bakers tired of baking the same old scone


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