MUD SEASON by Ellen Stimson


How One Woman's Dream of Moving to Vermont, Raising Children, Chickens and Sheep, and Running the Old Country Store Pretty Much Led to One Calamity After Another
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In her debut, former bookseller Stimson recounts relocating her family from St. Louis to the bucolic beauty of Vermont.

The author and her husband, John, fell in love with Vermont on a getaway weekend. Years later, financially stable and in need of a change, they settled into a small Vermont town to enjoy the simplicity and beauty of the Green Mountains. That is when the trouble began, as Stimson brought in an out-of-state contractor and crew rather than hire local folks to fix her house. Then, in an impulsive moment, she bought the local country store with hopes of turning it into a high-volume gourmet shop. Though nothing really went as planned, the beauty of Vermont and its changing seasons gave Stimson solace. “There is no more naturally beautiful place I have ever been,” she writes, “and I have been to a bunch of them.” The author dramatizes the age-old conundrum of newcomers versus old-timers and the difficulties of fitting in—even if acceptance, in this case, only meant that the locals would not boycott the store after she moved the bread rack from the back of the store to the front, near the registers. Meanwhile, cats, dogs, sheep, chickens, goats and skunks traipsed through their idyllic setting, biting the minister and generally running amok. In a humorous, self-deprecating style, the author examines a variety of questions about her new life: In Vermont, what constitutes an emergency? When can you call 911? With aplomb, Stimson describes her rural Vermont setting, the changing seasons and what drew her to the state. A section of recipes—including “Lovely Fluffy Quiche” and “John’s Grandmother’s Roszke Cookies”—and the obituaries of three pets round out the volume.

A quick, light book to keep around as a pick-me-up.

Pub Date: Oct. 7th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-58157-204-9
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Countryman
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2013


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