Wendell Berry takes us on a trip down memory lane in his novel Hannah Coulter. Hannah is a retired farm wife who spends her time walking her property, watching the seasons change, and reflecting on her life in the small Kentucky town of Port William. She remembers a tough childhood in the depression that was cushioned by the care of a beloved grandmother, her first husband who died in World War II, and her second husband who she made a life with. She tells the story of a life where they learned to do without but were rich with community. We also see the decline of the farm economy and the migration of young people away from the town that raised them. Hannah Coulter is a heartbreaking yet hopeful story about family, marriage, and rural life.
Shizuku Kanzaki works in sales for a beer company and has never tasted so much as a sip of wine in his life. This was his act of rebellion against his famous wine critic father, Yutaka Kanzaki. When his father unexpectedly passes away, Shizuku finds that his estate and world-renowned wine collection will not pass to him as a matter of course. To inherit, he must compete against a young wine critic prodigy to identify twelve wines described in rich detail in Yutaka Kanzaki’s will, as well as a wine known as “The Drops of God,” that “stands above them all.”
If you are a wine lover or enjoyed the movie Sideways for its wine references, this is the manga for you. The Drops of God series was a huge hit in Japan and in France and is only now being released in English six years after its original publication. All the wines written about in the series are real, so you can learn about wines that cost a month’s worth of an average salary or some hidden gems in the $20-30 range.
The year is 1803 and the Darcy’s are preparing for Lady Anne’s Ball, a long-standing tradition at Pemberley. Darcy and Elizabeth have been married several years and have settled into life at the estate with their two sons and with Bingley and Jane living near-by. In the midst of their preparations, a carriage races up to the house with a hysterical Lydia Wickham inside. Her plan was to surprise Elizabeth by showing up at the ball uninvited, with Wickham (who has not been welcome for many years at Pemberley) remaining at a local inn with his friend Captain Denney. During the dark and rainy ride through the woodlands, Denny and Wickham argue, with Denny leaving the carriage and Wickham following him into the woods. Shots are fired, Lydia races to Pemberley, a search party is formed and Darcy and Fitzwilliam find Wickham bent over the bloody and dead body of Denny. Wickham is arrested as the main suspect and is placed on trial for the murder of his friend.
James has captured the original spirit of Pride and Prejudice and introduces new aspects of many of the chararacters that are so appealing in Austen’s work. James also conveys interesting information about the English legal system as well as the social system of the time. Death Comes to Pemberley offers a new view of life at Pemberley and a plot with twists and turns and an unexpected conclusion–an entertaining return to the world of the Darcy’s.