In Penelope Fitzgerald: a Life, biographer Hermione Lee captures a world that Anglophiles and Downton Abbey fans will appreciate. Born in 1916, English novelist Penelope Fitzgerald descended from the famous Knox family. During World War II, she married Desmond Fitzgerald, who returned from combat decorated, completely traumatized and an alcoholic. With him she raised three children, often under dire financial circumstances. A year after her husband’s death in 1976, Fitzgerald’s first novel, A Golden Child, was published. Eight more would follow, all critically acclaimed and beloved by readers. —Maureen Millea Smith
Available at Barnes and Noble Booksellers.
The word “terroir” in the wine world encompasses everything that happens during a grape’s growing span. It also includes what happens to the grape once inside the winery. Where a grape is grown speaks highly as to how the wine will taste. A gorgeous spring sipper that speaks directly to this thought is Austria’s Landhaus Mayer Riesling. The soil includes shells washed ashore from the sea and helps the wines develop a rich, textured minerality. The climate, influenced by the Vienna woods and the Danube river, ensures a perfect microclimate with cooling effects to preserve the grapes’ fresh lemon flavors and white floral aromas. Like sunshine in a glass. —Leslee Miller
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Leslee Miller is a certified sommelier and owner of local wine consulting firm, Amusee.
Thoughts of springtime and warm weather are upon us. Every Minnesotan I know is thrilled! While looking for the right music, I thought I’d go with something that features classical and sacred pieces. I discovered a CD called Spring Songs which features Julie Martyn-Baker on flute and Gary Schock on piano. Most tempos are bright and breezy and include some very familiar songs like “Rondo Presto,” “On Eagle’s Wings” and “Simple Gifts.” You can hear the passion in Martyn-Baker’s playing as she delivers with great heart. One of my favorites is “Light and Airy,” sounding like it would fit beautifully in a movie scene filled with flowers and trees. I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I do. It’s a great backdrop for our change of seasons. —Patty Peterson
Patty Peterson is an award-winning vocalist and Jazz 88 KBEM radio host. pattypeterson.com