Several weeks ago, a friend forwarded me an email from a group of Indie book publishers offering books to review. Sounded like a pretty sweet deal to me and a great way to motivate me to read an actual book, as opposed to a bunch of random articles on FaceBook. (Don’t judge. You do it too.)
I selected a book by a man named Lowell Press called “The Kingdom of the Sun and Moon.” I contacted Lowell which was kind of thrill for me since I’ve never corresponded with an actual published author. Boom! Response in a few minutes and my book was in my hands a few days later.
I LOVED IT!!!
This book was Lowell’s first novel and it’s great. It’s a YA novel about a mouse kingdom in and around the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, where the author and his son had many of their own adventures. There are battles, intrigue, ruthless evil mice, brave and clever mice, scary cats, not scary cats and food.
As the story goes, garden mice are recruited to go on quests for “Goldessen” for the evil mouse leader, the König, to give as an offering to the Emperor Wolfsmilch or he will attack with his huge army of forest mice and destroy all the mice in and around the castle. Or will he???? It is up to two mice, Sommer and Nesbit to figure that out.
There are so many elements of this book that I loved. I enjoyed the concept of the story teller who pretty much brainwashes the recruits into completing their mission. I also liked the “Giver” and the “Taker”. One entity or two? Woodland God? And I was really drawn into how the mice perceived the humans in the story.
There were big gaps between my readings, but I did finish this book pretty fast. I expect I read it in about four hours total. The book has something for everyone. It has many aspects to keep very young readers engaged and the political intrigue will keep older readers interested and perhaps even seeing parallels to modern politics. I know I did!
Now let’s talk about the Goldessen. Described as “a piece of the golden Sun wrapped in a piece of the gray moon to protect it”, this special cheese sounded a lot like Brie to me! It seemed obvious that my book review should come with a recipe that used Brie. But it had to be something worthy of a palace that wouldn’t take too much time. Well thank goodness for frozen puff pastry!
Brie and Pear Stuff Puff Pastry
1 sheet of puff pastry
A wedge of Brie
4 ounces of proscuitto
1. Thaw the puff pastry according to the instructions on the package.
2. Roll it out and mark it in thirds. I used a knife to mark a line on the pastry.
3. Cut the rind of the brie and slice it in long pieces and lay on the middle third of the pastry.
4. Cover the brie with prosciutto.
5. Top the prosciutto with slices of pear.
6. Slice each of the out thirds into pieces so you can fashion a sort of braid by folding one piece of pastry over the center, alternating sides.
7. Bake according to the instructions on the pastry package. Mine baked at 400 for 40 minutes.
I know I made it, but this dish was fit for a king. Or an emporer. But the König is not worthy of this really delectable treat. I loved the way the sweetness of the pears contrasted the saltiness of the Brie and prosciutto. And I really like that I managed to get a few European flavors into one very simple pastry.
This could be made so many ways. Apples, walnuts and Brie. Raspberries and Brie. Bacon! The possibilities are endless, as I probably say too much. Another good dish for the Easter Brunch crowd too!
I hope you’ll support this new author and read his book. It’s perfect for a spring break beach read.