Blogaversary Celebration Day Three: Cerella D. Sechrist, Author of Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania
My Review of Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania
Being that today is St. Patrick’s Day, my thoughts have turned to things green and Irish and filled with good fortune. In celebrating Renee’s blogaversary, I decided to highlight the seven reasons why I think Sadie Spencer, my heroine in Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is a lucky woman.
Even though Sadie has experienced some tragedies in her twenty-nine years (and struggles with her ineptitude at desserts – which IS rather embarrassing for a chef), I still think she’s blessed. Here’s why –
1. Jasper Reeves is her best friend.
He’s faithful, sweet, patient and good-looking. What more can you ask for in a friend you’ve known since childhood?
2. Her five-year-old daughter, Kylie, is a pistol.
And she makes me laugh. Whether its bathroom adventures or Barbie-doll mayhem (or the time she tried driving!), Kylie is a daughter to keep a mom on her toes.
3. It’s not so bad to have a good-looking Russian adversary.
Dmitri Velichko is a man of mystery, and even Sadie isn’t sure whether he’s friend or foe. Still, there’s something appealing about a tall, dark, and handsome man with a secret, isn’t there?
4. She can’t bake desserts, but she can still cook.
Sure, the dessert thing is an issue (and one that really bugs her), but whipping up salivating entrees is still a great skill to possess. For more recipes on the subject, visit the Recipes page for the book at my website: www.cerelladsechrist.com/books/lfyhershey/recipes/
5. She lives in Hershey: a town of chocolate.
Need I say more?
6. She has some wise people in her life to guide her.
Such as Belva, the mother of her deceased husband. Belva reminds me of a charming Southern woman who was a part of my own life growing up – the type of person who isn’t afraid to tell you about your mistakes while loving you without condition. Those people are rare blessings.
7. She gets a happy ending.
But I don’t want to give anything away here so you’ll just have to read Love Finds You in Hershey, PA, for yourself. =)
Excerpt from Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania:
When it came time to return Matilda to the nursing home, Sadie and Kylie helped the old woman to her room as Jasper lingered at the nurses’ station to speak to someone in charge about Matilda’s denture collection.
While Jasper was occupied, Sadie pulled forth a decorative tin filled with cookies, which she had carried in with her from the car.
“Aunt Matilda, I brought you a little special something.”
Matilda tugged an orange-and-brown afghan around her shriveled thighs and eyed Sadie warily. Clearly, her assessment of Sadie’s character had not been entirely reformed just yet.
“Mommy, Kylie doesn’t think that’s a good idea,” the five-year-old girl piped up, eyeing the tin with a similar expression of wariness.
Sadie glanced at her daughter. “Why not?”
Kylie just sighed in a way that made Sadie narrow her eyes at this seemingly long-suffering forbearance.
Ignoring this reaction, she turned her attention back to Matilda. “I made them myself,” she assured the elderly lady. Removing the tin lid, she waved the container back and forth beneath Matilda’s nose.
“They’re chocolate chip–walnut.”
“Ohhh.” Kylie’s little hands covered her face.
Sadie felt a prick of irritation at that. “Come on. Try one.” This was a new recipe, and Sadie felt absolutely confident that, this time, her dessert-making efforts had been a success.
She’d been practicing.
Removing a walnut-encrusted disk from the tin, she waved it under Matilda’s nose.
Matilda sneezed. “Smells like cat litter,” she declared.
A few stray crumbs floated onto the afghan. Matilda stared at them. “Looks like cat litter.”
Kylie giggled, and Sadie threw her a look. The expression on Sadie’s face instantly silenced her.
Sadie’s teeth clenched tighter than a vise, and she forced through them the suggestion, “Why—don’t—you—just—try—one?”
Matilda may have been old. And she may have been senile. But she was certainly not stupid. “Do I look like your guinea pig, young lady?”
Sadie pursed her lips. “Eat it.”
“You’ll like it.”
Matilda crossed her arms. “Why don’t you eat it?”
Sadie’s hand, hanging in midair, drooped slightly. “You want me to eat it?”
“Well, I—I suppose I could… . ” She lifted the crumbly cookie toward her face.
Kylie’s eyes grew round. Sadie licked her lips, and Matilda’s eyes narrowed to thin slits.
With a little breath, Sadie stuffed a bite of the cookie into her mouth and chewed vigorously.
“Mmmm! Dell-esh-us!” she muttered around the dry mounds. Cardboard cutouts tasted more appetizing. But it had to be just her. She could whip up bisques to soufflés, appetizers to entrees…surely her desserts were not so bad.
She grinned confidently and extended the remains of the cookie. Kylie’s eyes darted rapidly back and forth between the two women.
Matilda’s head cocked.
She’s buying it… .
The old woman leaned forward and opened her mouth, the clean line of her dentures standing at arms. Taking no chances, Sadie immediately stuffed the rest of the cookie into Matilda’s mouth and waited breathlessly.
The wrinkled jaws chewed seemingly involuntarily. Chew, chew, chew…a few attempts to swallow…no swallowing…
Matilda opened her mouth and attempted to gasp but managed only a raspy, sucking sound. Her bleached blue eyes widened and filled with liquid, but no sound escaped her lips except that constant rasp.
Sadie grew alarmed as Matilda’s bony fingers reached for her throat. Kylie scurried over.
“Mommy! She’s choking!”
Matilda’s vein-thickened hands clutched at her neck.
Only the sucking sound in reply.
“Mommy! She’s blue!”
Copyright 2010, Cerella D. Sechrist, Summerside Press
Trust me, though. Sadie Spencer is a lucky girl. And to keep things ‘sweet’, I’m including a St. Patrick’s Day-themed cake recipe here that’s so easy…even Sadie could do it. (Someone should have Geico call me for that one. *g*)
Lucky Cake, Sadie-Style
1 package white cake mix
2 packages of instant pudding mix, Pistachio flavor
1/3 cup of oil
4 whole eggs
½ cup of water
½ cup of milk
Start by mixing the wet ingredients in your mixer and then slowly add in the dry ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 45 – 50 minutes (or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.) Voila – a delicious cake with a hint of St. Patrick’s Day green. If you want to go overboard, add a few drops of green food dye to some white icing. Or top with green sprinkles. And if you’re feeling decadent – shave some Hershey’s chocolate on there, as well.
Sadie would be green with envy.
Cerella D. Sechrist makes her home in southern Pennsylvania, under an hour's drive from the sweet life in Hershey. Growing up, her family annually celebrated an event called "Cookie Baking Day" where everyone gathered to bake over 80-dozen cookies, including one of their specialties: Peanut Blossoms topped with a Hershey's kiss. It therefore stands to reason that her love of desserts is a genetic inheritance and not to be taken lightly. When dieting, she consoles herself with midnight viewings of the Food Network.
Learn more about Cerella and her writing @ http://www.cerelladsechrist.com/
Blog and personal site: http://www.thecerellalife.com/
Follow her on Twitter @ thecerellalife
Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is available @:
Barnes and Noble
One winner will receive a collector’s tin filled with a variety of Hershey’s Kisses in flavors like Cherry Cordial, Pumpkin Spice, Truffle, Caramel Apple and classic Milk Chocolate, along with an autographed copy of Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania by Cerella D. Sechrist!!!
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~Contest open until March 21, 2010 at 11:59PM EST.
~One winner will be chosen, their name posted on this blog, and they will be notified by email on March 22, 2010 and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be selected.
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