Review - Bull Canyon by Lin Pardey

Let me preface this by letting ya'll know that I won this book from GoodReads. Out of 814 people, little ol' me received one of 25 copies. And let me say, that feels pretty darn good.

Ahem, sorry just thought you should know. It T'IS truly the little things in life. Not to mention, also enclosed was a letter from the author which just made the winning that much sweeter. When I become an author, please remind me how much it means to the reader to receive those small touches. I am currently ridding myself of all my books that just sit and collect dust, but this one was not only stamped with my personal book stamp, but will remain in my stash as a keeper.

I pretty much fell in love with this book instantly. I like to be surprised when reading a book, so as I have mentioned before the only time I read the summary of a book is when I first discover it. I really liked that I could pick this book up and start from the beginning and just feel like I knew the book already. It felt like I already knew Lin Pardey.

Lin Pardey is an incredible writer who instantly pulls the reader in with all the little details, but is able to make it feel like I am not reading a bunch of little details that go on forever. She has this wonderful way of making me feel at home as if I were walking beside her and experiencing it all before me. She allows the reader into her life and holds nothing back. She does an incredible job of summing up her experience getting to Bull Canyon from the sailboat in a simply chapter. I loved the introductions and continued antics of her neighbors. I am continually enamored with the way we are so surprised when people are outright kind to us and yet, I am glad to still be amazed by this. As this was a first time read for me of Lin Pardey's books, I look forward to reading her other books now.

A few of my favorite moments were these -

The aroma of garlic and sage rubbed turkey slowly filled the pine-paneled room, and my thoughts were drawn back to the list of tasks I had to do before everyone arrived. As I basted the turkey, then formed loaves of bread and set them on the long, clean counter to rise, I surveyed my country cottage. Then wondered, just as every daughter must, "What will Mom think?" Would she see only the peeling paint in the side rooms, the rotting ceiling panels in the kitchen, the old stains on borrowed tablecloths that couldn't disguise the rough legs of the rental table, the cracks in the few serving dishes we owned, the tree stumps and old packing chests that had to serve as seats for half the guests? Or would she see the sweet-smelling boughs of pine, the cattails and brilliant autumn leaves I'd gathered to decorate the long table? Would she hear the crackle of the old wood stove as it warmed the kitchen and kept my fruit compote slowly simmering, and the sizzle of the turkey in the propane oven? Would she then envision, as I did, the romance of this hidden spot as it slowly yielded to my guiding efforts and became a real haven?
This quote made me yearn for my mother.
"Show her every ring you've got for under ten bucks," he announced to the bored looking salesman in the credit jewelry store. "I'm only joking," he added as the man pointed to the two bands that cost less than ten dollars. The joke was on Larry as I tried on fifty bands to find the only one small enough to be worn by me that day cost $9.99.
This one just made me laugh at the way life works out sometimes.
"Lin, it's only money," Larry insisted as he had often before during our lives together. "I can always go out to the beach, live on Seraffyn, and find some boatbuilding work if we run short."
Simply warms the heart.

One of my favorite stores was about them encountering and eventually adopting a cat named Dog and how that came about, but sadly I cannot possibly ruin it for anyone who will be reading this story. It is way too entertaining to divulge.

I couldn't stop laughing out loud during the entire chapter entitled "Children of All Ages" where they discuss having children before it is too late even though they decided ages ago not to. They even go so far as to look around for children to borrow. Hilariously funny!

I fell even more deeply in love with this book during Chapter "Interlude," during which Lin describes their lives off Bull Canyon where she takes care of their boat that they sailed around the world. She details another couple who have similar lives to their own gypsy-like living and how they grew into a wonderful life long friendship.

On a side note, I really liked the added touch of the hard cover. When I read a hard cover, I take the outside wrap off the book. I don't want to ruin it and I tend to be very hard on my books, as they are like another part of my body, coming along wherever I go and with everything I eat/drink. As I have read many hard cover books without the cover, they are usually nondescript and just a plain, solid color hard cover book, but this book not only had the title embossed in the front, but the authors name and beautifully done.

A big thanks to GoodReads and Lin Pardey for allowing me to receive this book and be a First Reads winner to review it!

Summary from Good Reads -

Lin Pardey and her husband Larry are internationally famous for their sailing adventures. But in 1980 -- fresh from an eleven years-long sailing journey, where they forged the early years of their marriage on high seas and in exotic locales -- they came to California looking for a good spot to build a boat, test Lin’s skills as a writer and taste the apparent security life ashore could offer.

Nestled in a rocky outcropping of winding, sparsely populated dirt roads, 60 miles from the sea and 50 miles from Los Angeles, Bull Canyon would seem an unlikely place for boat-building. But when Lin and Larry set eyes on the abandoned stone cottage at the top of a rutted, dusty lane, it was love at first sight. The house was certainly a fixer-upper, but there was plenty of room to build a boat, not to mention peace, quiet, and an abundance of natural beauty. They knew they'd come home.

Bull Canyon would bring them joy, victories and failures – but also packrats in the pantries, flooding rains that would make Noah himself cower, the occasional cougar, and an oddball collection of neighbors as ready to assist these hapless appearing newcomers as they were to gossip or occasionally cause trouble. It would be a life lived close to the land, coaxing vegetables out of acrid soil, living side-by-side with wildlife of all types, navigating dangerous roads to simply get to the nearest grocery store, no piped in water, no electricity, no phones – not even a proper address to receive mail. Their marriage would be tested, too, working side-by-side, 24/7. Life in the canyon would prove daunting, gritty, and dangerous, and a tougher bargain in the end than what they'd signed up for.

But as tough as life could be there, Bull Canyon was, indeed, the place where dreams could come true. It was here that Lin and Larry tapped into the affirming core of their marriage, accomplished back-breaking physical feats (moving enormous boulders and pouring tons of hot lead, among others), and grew to love the magical yet difficult environment.
In the tradition of Under the Tuscan Sun and A Year in Provence, Pardey takes readers on a voyage – landlocked, but a voyage nonetheless – of the heart, sharing candidly and with great humor the four years she and her determined husband spent in Bull Canyon. From the Thanksgiving when they had to hang the turkey from a ceiling hook to keep it safe from invading animals, to their constant companion, Dog (who is actually a cat), to Lin's run-in with a couple of drunk hunters, to Larry's careful coaxing of rough-sawn timber into the beautiful boat, Taleisin, their story, related in the warm, personal voice of the fireside storyteller, is a funny, tender, and engrossing tale. Bull Canyon is the story of two "dreamers and schemers" who have taken life by the horns – and bring the reader along for the wild and joyous ride.


blueviolet said...

I'm sold! I have to read this one now.

I take off my dust jackets too so they stay nice looking, but I'm very anal about my books so I don't even break the binding. They usually look brand new when I'm done reading them. LOL

jayayceeblog said...

Oh, you are killing me here. This is one I am really yearning to read, which gives me another to add to the pile. I need more reading time. I might have to feign ill so I can lay in bed all day and read till my eyeballs fall out. Really great review! And congratulations on winning your copy!

Sarah said...

This sounds like a beautiful book. Not one I'd normally pick up, but that's the beauty of reading other people's reviews. You can find so many treasures that way.