Reading Recommendations: The Seamstress, a novel, Frances dePointes Pebbles.
As seamstresses, the young sisters Emilia and Luzia dos Santos know how to cut, how to mend, and how to conceal. These are useful skills in the lawless back country of Brazil, where ruthless land barons called "colsuels" fued with bands of outlaw cangaceiros, trapping innocent residents in the cross fire. Emilia, whose knowledge of the world comes from fashion magazines and romantic novels, dreams of falling in love with a gentleman and escaping to a big city. Luzia also longs to escape their little town, where residents view her with suspicion and pity. Scarred by a childhood accident that left her with a deformed arm, the quick tempered Luzia finds her escape in sewing and in secret prayers to the saints she believes once saved her life.
But when Luzia is abducted by a group of canga ceiros led by the infamous Hawk, the sisters quiet lives diverge in ways they never imagined. Emilia stumbles into marriage with Degas Coelho, the son of a doctor whose weath is rivaled only by his political power. She moves to the sprawling seaside city of Recife, where the glamour of her new life is soon overshadowed by heartache and loneliness. Luzia, forced to trek through scrubland and endure a nomadic existence, proves her determination to survive and begins to see the cangaceiros as comrades, not criminals.
In Recife, Emilia must hide any connection to her increasingly notorious sister. As she learns to navigate the treacherous waters of Brazilian high society, Emilia sees the country split apart after a bitter presidential election. Political feuds extend to the countryside, where Luzia and the Hawk are forced to make unexpected alliances and endure betrayals that threaten to break the cangaceiros apart. But Luzia will overcome time and distance to entrust her sister with a great secret, one Emilia vows to keep. And when Luzia's life is threatened, Emilia will risk everything to save her.
And, Appaloosa, Robert B. Parker.
"It was a long time ago, now and there were many gunfights to follow, but I remember as well as I remember anything the first time I saw Virgil Cole shoot. Time slowed down for him. Always steady and never fast".
When Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch arrive in Appaloosa, they find a small dusty town suffering at the hands of renegade rancher Randall Bragg, a man who has so little regard for the law that he has taken supplies, horses, and women for his own and left the city marshal and one of his deputies for dead. Cole and Hitch, itinerant lawmen, are used to cleaning up after opportunistic thieves, but in Bragg they find an unusually wily adversary, one who raises the stakes by playing not with the rules, but with emotions.
This is Robert B. Parker at his story telling best.
And, Resolution, a novel, Robert B. Parker.
After the bloody confrontation in Appaloosa, Everett Hitch heads into the afternoon sun and ends up in Resolution, an old west town so new the dust had yet to settle. Its the kind of a town that doesn't have much in the way of commerce, except for a hand full of saloons and some houses of ill repute. Hitch takes a job as a lookout at Amos Wolfson's Blackfoot Saloon and quickly establishes his position as protector of the ladies who work the back rooms, as well as a man unafraid to stand up to the enforcer sent down from the O'Malley copper mine. When greedy mine owner Eamon O'Malley threatens the loose coalition of local ranchers and starts buying up Resolution's few businesses, Hitch and Cole find themselves in the middle of a makeshift war between O'Malley's men and the ranchers. In a place where law and order don't exist, Hitch and Cole must make their own guided by their sense of duty, honor, and friendship.
Raw! Not for the faint hearted! Robert Parker does know how to string words together.
And, Flash Floods in Texas, Jonathon Burnett.
In Texas, water is a blessing and a curse. How many times have you heard the television or radio alert, "We are now under a flash flood watch"? While this force of nature is a regular occurrence in the state and has caused a tremendous amount of destruction and heartache, no one until now has recorded in a single place the history of flash flooding in Texas.
Beginning with the famous Austin dam break of 1900 and ending with the historic 2002 flooding in the Hill Country, Burnett chronicles the causes and courses of these catastrophic floods as well as their costs in material damage and human lives.
Dramatic photographs of each event reveal some of the harrowing accounts of danger spawned by nature on the rampage. Our own town, San Saba, is pictured during the 1938 flood, as well as surrounding areas. Together, the stories and the pictures give readers a vivid and lasting image of the power and unpredictability of flash floods in Texas.
See you at Rylander!