This & That: April 14, 2023
Friday April 14, 2023

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A FULL T & T this week with books about the rise of a woman of influence in Tudor England, an Editor’s Choice new memoir that takes us to Broadway, a new novel from a bestselling author involving the symphony, two cookbooks – one to bring calm into your days with its prose as well as its recipes and one to deepen your knowledge about the food that is super in many ways. On the big and small screen, there are oodles of new titles worth watching with the anticipated return of a favorite darling, a new limited series that tells an often unknown part of the war effort in WWII, Ray Romano’s directorial film debut, a children’s film for animal lovers that I think adults will enjoy as well, a French favorite series returns to AcornTV and an unexpectedly comedic take on a genre that takes us to Italy with a fabulous international cast. Oh! And if you are looking for a touch of French style, I’ve been shopping for the must-have style of a scarf that is easy to wear and adds a subtle, yet powerful finishing touch to any wardrobe. Still, yep, there is so much more.


Quitting: A Life Strategy, The Myth of Perseverance and How the New Science of Giving Up Can Set You Free by Julia Keller

While the title may shock, as I know the term ‘quitting’ comes with a normalized negative connotation, the author brings forward new research to help us better understand when such instances in our lives call for us to change our trajectory rather than stay the course. Being released this coming Tuesday, Julia Keller “dives into the neuroscience of nope and the cultural messages that drive our reluctance to throw in the towel . . . [as well, she] dismantles the myth of perseverance once and for all. Because grit isn’t always great. Sticking it out doesn’t always pay off. And quitting can be an unexpected act of self-love.” Ultimately, what Keller is actually presenting is the need for each of us to exercise the word “No” more often and thoughtfully without apology in our lives. “Quitting: A Life Strategy humanely reminds us that, in order to live meaningful, satisfying lives, sometimes we have to say ‘no'”.

Symphony of Secrets: A Novel by Brendan Slocumb

Also being released this next Tuesday is a novel by Brendan Slocumb who first brought us The Violin Conspiracy and now in Symphony of Secrets tells the story of a “music professor Bern Hendricks who discovers a shocking secret about the most famous American composer of all time—his music may have been stolen from a Black Jazz Age prodigy named Josephine Reed. Determined to uncover the truth that a powerful organization wants to keep hidden, Bern will stop at nothing to right history’s wrongs and give Josephine the recognition she deserves.”

Third Girl from the Left: A Memoir by Christine Barker

Released last month and a New York Times Editor’s Choice, Christine Barker’s memoir Third Girl from the Left takes us to both London and New York City. “At 20, determined and talented, Christine heads across the country from Santa Fe to New York City and, in a made for-Hollywood story, is chosen for the London cast of A Chorus Line . . . she finds a new family with the dancers and more fluid, open characters that fill the theater world in London, and later New York, in the ‘70s & ‘80s. Christine learns that one member of her family is equally at home in her new world: Laughlin, her older brother—divorced, a father, ex-military and a corporate lawyer—also makes his way to New York City, where he meets, and begins to build a life, with rising fashion star Perry Ellis. The two men enjoy a partnership and a financial success that Christine both admires. and envies.” As the AIDS crisis comes to the nation’s awareness, her journey goes through emotional ebbs, and yet again, she is forging a new path.

British Find

Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait by Gyles Daubeney Brandreth 

While already released in the UK late last year, Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait, the latest biography profiling Queen Elizabeth II is now released in the states. Written by Gyles Brandreth, who knew Elizabeth and her family for more than 50 years, meeting her in 1968, “he kept a record of all those encounters, and his conversations with the Queen over the years, his meetings with her family and friends, and his observations of her at close quarters are what make this very personal account of her extraordinary life uniquely fascinating.” Already a Sunday Times bestseller in Britain, a book to read as the coronation of the King Charles III takes place in May.

—Sinister Spring: Murder and Mystery from the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie

Compiling a bundle of Agatha Christie’s favorite short stories centered around spring themes, “Blossoming flowers and countryside strolls may sound innocent enough, but not when there’s murder in the air. Beware of secluded cottages, stolen treasure and fatal revenge schemes!” Starring her beloved sleuths, pick up Sinister Spring and discover Hercule Poirot mysteries as well as Miss Marple’s in “The Market Basing Mystery”, “The Case of the Missing Lady”, “The Herb of Death”, “How Does Your Garden Grow?” and still many more.

A Woman of Influence: The Spectacular Rise of Alice Spencer in Tudor England by Vanessa Wilkie

Being released on April 18th is A Woman of Influence. Vanessa Wilkie shares the “true story that transports us to Tudor and Stuart England as Alice Spencer, the daughter of an upstart sheep farmer, becomes one of the most powerful women in the country and establishes a powerful dynasty . . .

“With her sizable dowry, Alice married the heir to one of the most powerful aristocratic families in the country, eventually becoming the Countess of Derby. Though she enjoyed modest renown, it wasn’t until her husband’s sudden death (after he turned in a group of Catholics for plotting against Queen Elizabeth I) that Alice and her family’s future changed forever.

“Faced with a lawsuit from her brother-in-law over her late husband’s fortune, Alice raised eyebrows by marrying England’s most powerful lawyer. Together, they were victorious, and Alice focused her attentions on securing appropriate husbands for her daughters, increasing her land ownings, and securing a bright future for her grandchildren and the entire Spencer family. But they would not completely escape scandals, and as the matriarch, Alice had to face an infamous trial that threatened everything she had worked so hard for.”


An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler, (foreword) Alice Waters

While published just over ten years ago, when I learned of this book, essentially a cookbook, but with beautiful prose, I wanted to share. An Everlasting Meal has been described as a “meditation on cooking and eating. Tamar Adler weaves philosophy and instruction into approachable lessons on feeding ourselves well. Demonstrating the implicit frugality in cooking, her essays on forgotten skills such as boiling, suggestions for what to do when cooking seems like a chore, and strategies for preparing, storing, and transforming ingredients for a week’s worth of satisfying, delicious meals, remind us of the practical pleasures of eating.”

Your Super Life: 100+ Delicious, Plant-Based Recipes Made with Nature’s Most Powerful Superfoods by Mihael Kuech and Kristel de Groot

Being released on Tuesday April 18th, from the founders of the popular superfood brand, Your Super, comes a cookbook designed to supercharge health and healing with a customizable plant-based diet and 100+ delicious recipes. “In their first cookbook, Michael and Kristel will teach readers how to tap into the natural healing power of nature’s superfoods, with 100+ recipes featuring an array of potent healing ingredients. Enjoy inspired dishes like Berry Overnight Oats, Sweet Potato Toast, Eggplant Pasta, and Turmeric Bounty Balls while improving your health in meaningful and targeted ways, including: renewed energy, weight loss, improved sleep, less hunger, fewer cravings, reduced risk of chronic diseases and more.”

~Learn more about the authors and the cookbook in great detail here.


Jane, AppleTV+

Being released today on AppleTV+, and drawn from the life and inspiration of Jane Goodall, “Jane is a 9-year-old budding environmentalist on a quest to save endangered animals. Using her powerful imagination, Jane takes her best friends David and Greybeard the chimpanzee on epic adventures to help protect wild animals all around the world because, according to her idol Dr. Jane Goodall: ‘Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help, can they be saved.'” Have a look at the trailer below.

Mafia Mamma

Toni Collette. While initially I had passed over this film when I saw the word Mafia in the title, I kept coming back to it because of Collette, and based on the trailer, I think this film will be a hoot to watch. A comedy about a suburban woman (Collette) who has “inherited her long estranged (and now deceased) grandfather’s mafia empire in Italy, finds herself stuck in the middle of a deadly mob war. Guided by the firm’s trusted consigliere (Monica Bellucci), she hilariously defies everyone’s expectations, including her own, as the new head of the family business.” Have a look at the trailer below and look for it in theaters beginning today.

Somewhere in Queens

Ray Romano directs and stars in the new film Somewhere in Queens alongside Academy Award winner Laurie Metcalf. Both star as parents struggling to recognize the potential of their son’s basketball promising future as he nears the time to leave the nest. Have a look at the trailer below and look for it in theaters now.

Francophile Find

Candice Renoir, Season 6, AcornTV

Wahoo, wahoo, wahoo! One of my favorite French drama series is Candice Renoir, set in the south of France, there are actually nine seasons of the show, and gradually, AcornTV is releasing one at a time; however, they just released season 5 this past February and now season 6 is set to be released on April 17th, so the wait has not been that bad at all. A police commandant and divorced mother of four, she brings her life experiences and parenting know-how to solving crimes that initially leave her colleagues doubtful, but her successful results speak for themselves. As season 5 concluded, Renoir and Antoine’s relationship left viewers wondering how or if it would heal, and therefore, season 6 cannot begin soon enough for me ☺️🇫🇷❤️.

Hermès Isola di Primavera ribbon scarves

The single ribbon scarf is a must-have in any closet that aspires to welcome the French effortless chic style. Such scarves can be worn in a myriad of ways, but simply wrapping them around your neck is all I usually do. No need for jewelry, just these beautiful scarves from the French brand that knows a thing or two about this wardrobe staple accessory (and the ribbons are much more affordable as well!).


Breton Long Sleeve Tee, La Ligne NYC

With the talk of dropped shoulders when it comes to Breton tops recently with a TSLL reader, La Ligne’s favorite tee with a boatneck came back in stock, so I wanted to share. Scoop up this style if you too attempted to purchase last fall, but your size wasn’t available. (Navy and ivory – the reverse of what is seen here – is also available.)

Toteme Striped Silk Ribbon Scarf

One more ribbon scarf that is timeless and ideal offering a bit of refinement. Ivory and black, simple, chic and one more idea for how to wear this style of scarf.


The Diplomat

Premiering this coming Thursday April 20th is The Diplomat, a new series consisting of eight episodes on Netflix starring Keri Russell. Russell is tapped as the ambassador to the United Kingdom, a similar position her husband once held who is a fellow career diplomat, and so this plot is a bit of a drama and a bit of a comedy; the latter due to the everyday back and forth between husband and wife. So while many of us became used to Russel in The Americans – all serious, all drama – this set-up is a bit different and I think it will be an enjoyable watch. Find out what I mean when you check out the trailer below.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, AmazonPrime, Season 5

Yep, Mrs. Maisel and the entire cast are finally back, and this time, it is the final season, so binge thoughtfully (more a note to myself than anyone else 😬). Three episodes will be available today when the show premieres and then a new episode (there will be 9) will drop each Friday through May. Have a look at the trailer below and enjoy!

Transatlantic, limited series, Netflix

I stumbled upon this limited series last week and thoroughly enjoyed it (and zoomed through it far too quickly). Set in Marseilles, France, during the start of WWII before the US entered the war, Transatlantic is a seven-part television limited series based on the novel The Flight Portfolio by Julie Orringer (a book I very much want to read now). Based on the true story of the “Emergency Rescue Committee (ERC), a committee established in late June 1940 in New York by German and American intellectuals, academics and scientists to help attain asylum papers for Europeans, specifically Jews, fleeing the war and seeking refuge in America. The aim of the aid organisation was to rescue persecuted artists and politicians from France to the United States”.

Starring Gillian Jacobs as an American journalist who, during 13 months spent in France in 1940-41, managed to arrange safe passage out of France and on to the U.S. for more than 2,000 refugees who were in danger of losing their lives”, I found each of the leading cast members (seen in the first image here just below) endearing, inspiring and likable (and her four-legged companion remains safe the entire time and is found each time he appears to have gone missing, always brought back to the star of the show – just in case this puts your mind at ease as you watch). Have a look at the trailer below and enjoy.

After some wonderful rains last weekend here in Bend, the lawn and daffodils have begun to bring the spring vibe and color to the garden, and while we are about one month later than we have been in previous years, I am that much more excited for the spring gardening season to begin. Which is to say, that is where I likely am if you are reading this Friday or Saturday morning. ☺️

With a regular schedule enjoyed here at home and in Bend this week, I have been savoring this everyday routine. Having taken some fun walks with Norman and Nelle, delighting in the ever-increasing birdsong, wrapping up well FR 103 to take the next two weeks off before classes resume in May, I am grateful that I have two weeks to really get the garden into shape. With the dahlias potted up last week, and the lawn thatched, today the compost arrives to be dispersed around the borders, and that always seems to announce that the new gardening season has begun. Of course with a new spring weekend means, a new episode of Gardeners’ World, and that episode will likely be enjoyed whilst nibbling on either a Morning Glory muffin or a slice of citrus yogurt lemon cake (both sitting in the freezer – one as a batter, the other already baked and just needing to be be sliced and enjoyed) paired with a hot pot of tea.

I do hope you had a wonderful week, and I so enjoyed the comments on the reveal of the Kitchen Curtain and Cookbook Library Nook earlier this week. Thank you to everyone who stopped by. As well, the monthly Ponderings . . . post was shared just yesterday (a more intimate and personal version of the This & That post for TOP Tier Members), and if you have ever wondered if It Will All Work Out?, whatever your It is, Monday’s Motivational post addressed exactly this question.

Speaking of joining TSLL Community, I want to thank and welcome all of the new members who became a TOP Tier Member this past weekend, and a quick thank you to returning Member Aleissa who shared this comment with me earlier this week on IG.

Learn more about the many benefits of becoming a TOP Tier Member here as well as all of the different options in pricing to fit your budget.

And now to the weekend! I am willing it to be sunny with a side of spring rains, but if that doesn’t happen, I have books to read, pups to snuggle with and am grateful to just be able to rest this weekend when I need to. Wishing you a wonderful weekend and thank you for stopping by. Until Monday, bonne journée!

~Francophiles who love solving crime and art, some very good news! L’Art du Crime is returning with Season 6! I am not sure when, but rest assured, I will share on a future This & That when it becomes available on MHzChoice. (discover all of my favorite series found on MHzChoice, including The Art of Crime, here)

~And for Anglophiles – Beyond Paradise has been renewed! Yep! Learn more here.

~Oh, I do like embracing this skill: The importance of being idle [Town & Country]

~If organizing your refrigerator is something you are trying to fine-tune, here are some highly functional ideas [House & Garden UK]

~I knew there was a reason France always had my heart, and this post shares why – Top Chien: Owning a Dog in Paris [Hip Paris]

~Things aren’t as bad as people think – a thoughtful article to take to heart [WSJ]

~A guide to visiting (and tasting) France’s Champagne region [H & G UK]

~The co-creator and star of Ted Lasso, Jason Sudekis gave a interview recently on The Great Creators podcast, sharing his winding path from the midwest to SNL to Ted Lasso in the UK and how starring as Lasso changed his image of himself.

~A flavor-filled seasonal spring dessert – rhubarb, almond and blood orange cake [House & Garden UK]

~A simple luxury to try while traveling alone abroad [WSJ, subscription needed]

~Yep, yep, yep! Season 3 of the French thriller/mystery Lupin is returning to Netflix, likely this summer. Stay tuned! Here’s the trailer, starring Omar Sy.

~Explore last week’s This & That: April 7, 2023

Two new novels that are receiving high praise across the board from critics and readers alike, a new book on entertaining inspired by the French and European approaches, three new films – one set in Portland and all about art and creating what calls you, another that is a critic’s pick receiving much applause and still another starring someone who may not sound like the person he portrays but seems to embody him quite well. As well, clothing for spring – dressing well and simply along with two new televisions series to bring a chuckle, both starring two well-known names in the television business. Still, there is more. 

~Please note: TSLL is supported by you, readers who take the time to stop by (merci!), peruse and sometimes welcome into your life mentioned and recommended finds. Affiliate links are present in today’s post and may earn commissions for TSLL when you purchase. View TSLL’s full Privacy Policy here.

14 thoughts on “This & That: April 14, 2023

  1. Friday with a fresh T & T, yes, please! It is always fun to see what you have selected for us. Thanks, Shannon. 🙂

    My favourites here:
    -“How Does Your Garden Grow?” – One of Agatha Christie’s best plots, in my opinion. It might not have the glamour of the Orient Express to chug things along, but it is tightly constructed and clever. A delight.
    – Ribbon scarves – I love ribbon scarves (truly, I love all manner of scarves…). Hermès is Hermès, of course, ‘nough said, so I can only afford one every decade or so 😉 . But there are other places where to buy them – ribbon scarves are my go-to scarves in summer. This black and ivory one, is superb.
    -Transatlantic – Even if only one single life had been saved it had been worth. I do admire these people.
    – Lupin – so glad to hear it. 🙂

    Thanks for the photo of the beautiful daffodils. Enjoy your Petite Pause doing your favourite things – or doing nothing! 🙂

    I will try to binge thoughtfully 😉 while watching Mrs.Maisel, and wish you all a great weekend! Many pats to Nelle and Norman!

    1. Thank you for stopping by Isabel! What a wonderful gift to give yourself each year. Such artistry in each of Hèrmes items and will be enjoyed for a lifetime or more. Wishing you a great weekend!

      1. Only every decade… One for every decade of my life. 🙂
        In my view, Hermès scarves are “portable art”, and to enjoy it better, one should not have too many (even if one can afford it). It would cause an “indigestion of beauty”…

  2. This is packed with great suggestions! Both Transatlantic and Mafia Mama look good, as well as the book recommendations. I see my to be read pile growing.

    1. Thank you for stopping by Mary! I thoroughly enjoyed Transatlantic and didn’t know anything about the series or book that inspired it. A well done show, strong leads and good story telling. Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

  3. Hi, Shannon! This weekend’s T&T really delivers, as usual!
    The Mafia Mamma trailer made me laugh. Transatlantic looks
    good too. And the books! I put Symphony of Secrets on reserve at the library. I’m not familiar with this author.
    I’ve been going back and forth all day reading T&T. Such a wealth of information. I need to put the cookbook Your Super Life on reserve too because the Sweet Potato Toast sounds interesting. The book about Alice Spencer will be on my TBR
    list as well.
    I was reading one of the links you provided and I discovered
    author Stefan Zweig. I read a lot about him today.
    Thank you, thank you! Enjoy your weekend with Norman and Nelle!!

  4. Lots of wonderful things to look forward to! We enjoyed L’Art du Crime and Lupin very much. The Diplomat looks intriguing, and so does Symphony of Secrets. I’m also adding A Woman of Influence to my list!

  5. I don’t know if you mentioned this movie last year or not, but “Chevalier” is being released this week. Seems like they made it in 2022 but it’s coming to theaters in my area (NYC). It looks amazing! Based on a true story, it’s about a black violinist who becomes the talk of Marie Antoinette’s court. Francophiles will enjoy this, I suspect. Here’s the link:

    1. Jenna,

      I am so tickled you are excited about this film as well! I cannot wait to watch it when it opens this coming weekend. I have shared with TOP Tier members in two previous posts, and have on my schedule to share this coming Friday on the This & That post as readers plan their weekends. 🙂

      Thank you very much for thinking of me and TSLL and sharing!!

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