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So…how was your turkey?

Me either. Somehow, lockdown in Italy with just the Hub and the dog didn’t call for the full Thanksgiving turkey and trimmings. First, of course, there doesn’t seem to be any such thing as turkey here. And cranberries? Fuhgeddaboutit.

Why a Duck? (with apologies to Groucho) My friend Ro lives in S. Africa, so she knows a thing or two about traditional American meals that are never going to happen. She sent me her recipe for honey-glazed duck. I used dried cranberries in the stuffing, along with liberal splash of Cointreau (some of which made it into the stuffing) and called it Thanksgiving.

But here’s something I really am thankful for. Georgia Rose’s pair of thrillers Parallel Lives and Loving Vengeance are now available as an audiobook box set. When they first appeared in print form, I gave each book a five-star review (Parallel Lives here and Loving Vengeance here), but was interested in how they would translate to audio. Thanks to the brilliant and spot-on narration of actor Henri Merriam, the answer is an enthusiastic “Well done!”

Until the end of December, you can purchase the set for only £5 from author Georgia Rose’s website here. It’s a tiny bit fiddly because you also have to download the Book Funnel app to listen, but it works well and is easy to access and use.


The Ross Duology, Two Book Box Set


Madeleine “Maddy” Ross leads a good, if somewhat boring, life. She’s friendly with her neighbors, has an unexciting job in the insurance industry, lives in a charming cottage, and is steadily easing into the life of her small village. And she doesn’t exist.

Or at least, she didn’t exist until Scarlet, running from a past where she was anything but a good person, invented her out of a need to hide from her former criminal gang, led by her ex-boyfriend. But as Scarlet forces herself to become the person she’s created, a strange and unexpected thing happens. She starts to like Maddy. She begins to care deeply for the people who care about her. She likes her new life and—scariest of all—she starts to like being the person she’s invented. And that’s dangerous. Because her new life holds villains too, and her old life wants her back.

The voice of Georgia Rose’s writing is a curious blend that I’ve seen very few other writers pull off. On one hand, the spirit of classic writers such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers is channeled in the almost timeless microcosm of an English country village, so that the mention of modern technology and settings almost comes as a shock. But then the action, initially slow-building, explodes in shocking emotional and physical violence.

Voice actor Henri Merriam captures this perfectly, and brings Maddy’s story to life as her old and new lives collide. Her narration has a Judi Dench-like precision that still conveys tension and empathy. For those who admire character-driven thrillers, who can handle brief but shocking violence, and who enjoy beautiful writing, I can’t recommend both books in this series enough.

PS: Another thing they don’t seem to do here is pie. I had to order a pie plate from Amazon UK and have it shipped here. My brother-in-law Barry is famous for his Pear-Apple Pie, so my efforts did at least channel the Thanksgiving spirit.