Hello, Dear Readers!
Oh, to be at the beach with a book in hand (another, in my bag). One of the great pleasures of life. Currently, reading vintage Fleming paperbacks – Bond; James Bond, of course – but here are a few other titles for your consideration.
Be well and enjoy summer!
The Myth and Legend of Black Gold
On the morning of May 18, 1924, households across America opened their newspapers to the headline: “Derby Winner Property of Indian Woman.” The woman in question was Rosa Magnet Hoots, a member of the Oklahoma Osage Nation. The horse, draped in the iconic red roses signifying his victory in the fiftieth running of the Kentucky Derby, was Black Gold. In a sport defined by its exclusivity, the pair’s unlikely appearance in the winner’s circle set off a firestorm of speculation that would uncover an origin story stranger than fiction.
Hoots himself would never see Black Gold, dying unexpectedly in 1917. But the legend that came to define the horse would begin with him. Languishing in his deathbed, Hoots claimed to have a prophetic dream that a colt born to Useeit would win the Kentucky Derby. He extracted a promise from his wife, Rosa, to breed the mare to the stallion Black Toney. The decision, which came to fruition three years after Hoots’s death, would set in motion a story that would forever change Thoroughbred racing.
In Dream Derby: The Myth and Legend of Black Gold, author Avalyn Hunter explores the personalities and histories that surrounded Black Gold. Told against the backdrop of a make-or-break moment for American horse racing and politics at large and framed by the racial violence that rocked Tulsa in the 1920s, Black Gold’s victory at the Golden Jubilee stands at the intersection of sport and history. Hunter’s work looks behind every stall and tack room door and celebrates the hard work that goes into a great horse and its rivals.
About the Author
Avalyn Hunter is a nationally recognized authority on Thoroughbred pedigrees and racing history whose work has appeared in The Blood-Horse, Dream Derby, Owner-Breeder International, Market Watch, New York Breeder, and Louisiana Horse. She is the author of American Classic Pedigrees 1914-2002, The Kingmaker: How Northern Dancer Founded a Racing Dynasty, and Gold Rush: How Mr. Prospector Became Racing’s Billion-Dollar Sire.
WELCOME TO THE GAME
Craig Henderson screeches onto the scene with this fast-paced debut starring ex-rally driver Spencer Burnham. Having moved his family from England to Detroit and opened a foreign car dealership, Spencer’s life was derailed by the death of his beloved wife.
Now disconnected from his young daughter and losing control of the cocktail of drugs and alcohol that gets him through the day, he only just keeps Child Protective Services at bay while his business teeters on the edge of bankruptcy.
Then he has a seemingly chance encounter with a charismatic but lethal gangster, Dominic McGrath. Feeling the squeeze from informants, the rise of tech surveillance, and the watchful eye of a hotshot detective who’s made busting him a personal crusade, McGrath’s been planning a last heist that would allow a comfortable retirement, provided he can find a very special type of driver—one who’s capable, trustworthy . . . and naïve.
Spencer quickly proves himself behind the wheel, with his innate sense of timing and precise, high-speed maneuvers. And McGrath even pays cash, lots of it. But it comes at a price; Spencer finds himself playing in an arena where rookies don’t last long. Wising up to the ruthlessness behind McGrath’s charming façade, he tries to break free, but McGrath has too much invested to allow him to leave. As the city swelters in a heat wave, the two men apply their considerable talents to besting each other, while mistakenly assuming it’s only a two-man game.
About the Author
Craig Hendersonis a British writer and a presenter of the BBC’s “Books That Made Britain” series. Scottish by birth, he gained an MA in Latin and Ancient History from the University of Edinburgh where he also won two scholarships. Welcome to the Game is his first novel.
EVERY ONCE OF COURAGE: A Daughter’s Reflections on Her Mother’s Bravery
Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino
It began with an unexpected phone call and a startling statement: “You don’t know me, but your mother saved my life.”
That late-night conversation with an American World War II veteran and POW revealed to Elizabeth Ann Besa Quirino the untold stories of her mother’s remarkable wartime heroism in the Philippines and sparked a twenty-year journey of discovery about her mother’s lifelong acts of bravery and compassion. The result is Every Ounce of Courage, Elizabeth Ann’s tribute to her mother’s amazing life.
“This phone call changed my life,” Besa-Quirino says. “I knew very little about my mother’s life during World War II, she never talked about it. Nothing prepared me when I discovered how many lives my mother saved and the dangers her family faced.” The caller wanted to thank Lulu for saving his life and told Elizabeth horrific tales of his incarceration and her mother’s bravery.
Lourdes “Lulu” Reyes Besa channeled the heartbreak of a childhood tragedy into a profound sense of compassion and service. She helped raise three brothers while still a child herself in the early years of the 20th century. Then, as a young socialite in the heydays of 1930’s Manila, she focused on meaningful philanthropy and charity work.
During the merciless Japanese occupation of the Philippines, Lulu embarked unflinchingly on dangerous missions to bring aid and comfort that meant the difference between life and death to countless Filipino and American prisoners of war, at great peril to her own life. In 1947, President Harry Truman awarded Lulu two Medals of Freedom, becoming the first Filipino woman and civilian to be so honored for her valiant efforts.
In her mother’s story, Elizabeth discovered a complex life full of joy, sorrow, selflessness, and survival, and learned precious lessons about how the timeless bonds of family, the steadfast strength of faith and the power of an indomitable will can provide solace and sense in a world of uncertainty.
Every Ounce of Courage is a daughter’s story of her mother’s courage, brave struggles, and humanity in the bleakest of circumstances. Elizabeth’s memories also involve the recipes her mother loved to make and the stories she told about them, some of which are included at the end of the book, providing a look into family life in the Philippine provinces pre- and post-war.
About the Author
Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino is an author and award-winning journalist, born and raised in the Philippines, and based in New Jersey, USA. She has written three cookbooks on classic Filipino food from her mother’s recipes. She is a contributor and recipe developer for SimplyRecipes.com, a digital food magazine; a correspondent for Positively Filipino magazine, and has written features on Philippine cuisine, culture, history. Read more of her stories and recipes on TheQuirinoKitchen.com.