These dog days of summer have me longing for a trip to the close, yet much cooler, mountains of North Carolina's High Country. Luckily, there are several books that can take me there at a moment's notice.
One of my favorites is Emeralds in the Snow, written by Maggie Bishop, published by High Country Publishers, Ltd. Maggie Bishop manages to pack a lot of punch in 188 pages. There's wealth, greed, romance, murder, mystery, and adventure.
Emerald Graham is beautiful and rich. Lucky Tucker is a rugged and handsome guy, whose is generous, despite a life of hardship.
Emerald meets Lucky when she falls while skiing, and he is working for the ski patrol. The two become romantically involved. Things get a little more complicated when they discover that their lives had been intertwined long before they met.
I have met Maggie Bishop on a couple of occasions. She is a sweetheart, and I suspect that she is also a foodie. Emeralds in the Snow includes several food scenes. In the first chapter, after Emerald and Lucky have their first meeting on the ski slopes, they have coffee in the ski patroller break room. There are a couple of other occasions where the two drink mugs of hot beverages, which lends a cozy tone to the story. If you love outdoorsy types, you may even envision yourself drinking a mug of cocoa with Lucky Tucker!
One of my favorite scenes in the book is a beautiful illustration of the contrasts between our two main characters' lifestyles. Emerald and Lucky make a pizza at his house. Emerald, accustomed to having a hired cook in her home, is unaware that there is such a thing as pizza dough in a can. Lucky helps her through the process as they top the dough with jarred sauce, deer sausage, frozen vegetables, and cheese. Other meals prepared at Lucky's cabin include a spaghetti dinner, where lucky surprises Emerald by serving a bottle of wine, instead of his usual beer, and breakfast waffles topped with his grandmother's jam.
The contrast in upbringing is further explored when Lucky accompanies Emerald to a swanky event, where he tries escargot and lamb in a mint sauce. Later in the book, the two have a picnic. When Emerald gives Lucky's peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and apparent snub, the two discuss the differences in their backgrounds.
As the two become closer, Lucky invites Emerald to have Sunday lunch at his grandmother's. Emerald creates a bit of a stir, when in an effort to help, she sets the table in formal place settings, which becomes a bit confusing for Lucky's family. A flustered Emerald soon relaxes as she stuffs herself with flaky biscuits and warm pie.
If the summer heat has you longing for the mountains, check out this read, and check out Maggie's site: http://maggiebishop1.tripod.com/