How some people always manage to get it right is beyond me, but when I tell you this gal does, it’s true.
From the minute you enter this lovely Maine cottage you can expect to find welcoming vignettes.
If you are fortunate enough to pass through the kitchen, you will find something interesting or beautiful occupying every space and giving clues about the owner’s sensibility.
Lucky for the book group, she hosts us at least once a year, and we know the table will be a wonder to behold with a just right centerpiece and a mix of pattern and texture that make a perfect whole.
Our book of choice this time is The Woman Upstairs in which the main character is an artist whose creations are miniature roomscapes. Do you believe our hostess just happens to have pieces that capture the essence?
It would have been enough to have just one of these miniatures, but here are two, each with intricate detail meriting careful attention.
The hostess has magic fingers in her garden so we can always expect to see beautiful specimens artfully arranged to complete any centerpiece and complement the patterns in linens and dishes.
With so much energy emanating from the table, you can bet a lively discussion of Claire Messud’s novel ensued. This selection particularly lent itself to a variety of comments, some of which opened my eyes to a different way of looking at the book.
In a nutshell, The Woman Upstairs is a riveting confession of a woman awakened, transformed, and betrayed by passion and desire for a world beyond her own. Nora Eldridge, a thirty-seven-year-old elementary school teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who long ago abandoned her ambition to be a successful artist, has become the “woman upstairs,” a reliable friend and tidy neighbor always on the fringe of others’ achievements. Then into her classroom walks Reza Shahid, a child who enchants as if from a fairy tale. He and his parents—dashing Skandar, a Lebanese scholar and professor at the École Normale Supérleure; and Sirena, an effortlessly glamorous Italian artist—have come to Boston for Skandar to take up a fellowship at Harvard. When Reza is attacked by schoolyard bullies who call him a “terrorist,” Nora is drawn into the complex world of the Shahid family: she finds herself falling in love with them, separately and together. Nora’s happiness explodes her boundaries, until Sirena’s careless ambition leads to a shattering betrayal which is the source of many an interesting opinion.
The book haunted me for several days as I pondered who did what to whom. Each character was so needy, and that in itself can often lead to unhealthy relationships. All in all, The Woman Upstairs is a good selection for a book group as it allows a multitude of opinions as well as provides insight to the differences in perception. If your book club takes it on, I’d love to hear about your discussion.
i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind
10 thoughts on “Book Inspiration”
What a wonderful table that so represents the book…such great attention to detail…She certainly has such a talent for vignettes!
Hi, “Buzzin’ Cuzin” — Enjoy each and every one of your messages — food, trips, what-have-you, and often thought about commenting. However, as I tend to ” write long,” I move on. Nevertheless, I must say something about the puffins, which I have especially enjoyed. NBC Evening News on Sunday, Aug. 4, featured an alarming story about the puffins living off Maine’s coast. Local water has warmed up 5 degrees in past year or so, and puffins are in danger (again) of extinction. They eat cold water fish such as whiting and herring, and these are disappearing from local waters. Result: fewer nests, fewer eggs laid, and more babies dying of starvation. Water temperature will also affect fishermen who will have to travel further from shore to make their catches. If you all start a “Save the Puffins” organization, I’ll contribute, even though we don’t have any here in Kansas. Love ya, Carolyn
What a lovely home, when the post begins I think you are taking us on a tour of an historic home in Maine! I was surprised when you said it belonged to one of your book club members. It was a perfect spot for your book, I am envious, thanks for taking us along.
What a perfect table for your book club, and you did not overstate your friend’s ability to enchant with her decor! I had fun imagining the lively conversation and opinion swapping here following a wonderful meal~
the miniature roomscapes are beautiful, and as you say sound like they were perfect settings for your discussion.
what a cute little sweet little table you have set, it is so welcoming and charming and what a fun way to discuss a great book
How coincidental! I just started reading “The Woman Upstairs” last evening. It must have been perfectly enchanting to discuss the book in that setting. I’m interested in starting a book club, but the handful of friends I’ve mentioned it to are too stretched for another commitment. (Me, too; but I love to read and would like to talk about what I read with friends.) Can I come to Maine again?
Wow, such a gorgeous table…that tablecloth? They don’t make them like that anymore…Its so pretty and all the detail and thought put into it is wonderful….definitely going to have to check out that book.
Thanks for sharing it,
How fun to set the table with miniature rooms like the character in the book! I popped over to Amazon to look at the reviews, not a book for me but I’m sure there was much to discuss.
This was a wonderful setting to discuss your book! Your friend’s home is warm and lovely and she sure knows how to set a beautiful table!
The book sounds very clever and interesting! I have to say I’m intrigued and will put it on my list!