Sunday, June 18, 2023

Norah tells us why she found a connection to Major von Gottlieb, by Diane Scott Lewis


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Interviewer. "I'm sitting here with Miss Norah Cooper in the small village of Saint Guenole in Brittany. Miss Cooper, you were trapped in France after the Germans invaded, visiting your cousin for personal reasons, and now you just want to go home to England. You're an artist and decided to draw the Major, the man in charge of the occupation. Why was that?"

"He offered me a great amount of money, and I needed to pay my way." Norah brushes a hand through her strawberry-blonde hair. "My cousin's husband threatened to demand I leave. I had no place to go."

"You didn't find this idea with the Major repulsive?"

"Yes, at first. But the Major surprised me." Norah smiles, looking a little embarrassed. "He was very kind, and then I learned a secret about him that really changed my mind."

"And what was that?"

"He hated Hitler's policies. Plus he brought more food to the village after I asked him to." Norah sighs. "He wanted the war to end and live a peaceful life."

"Then an attraction grew between you two?"

"Slowly." Norah gazes around. "When we got to know each other better."

"Weren't you afraid of being ostracized?"

"I am ostracized. The villagers, my cousins. It is very difficult. The Major, August, he told me a terrible weapon was on its way. And he planned to disable it so it wouldn't be used against my country."

"I see. Did you fall in love with him?"

Norah smiles again, though it's a little sad. "We fell in love. As crazy as that sounds. I discovered the man he really is, inside. We have a passionate relationship. But I knew it would be perilous."

"Do you have plans for a future?"

"He has to complete his sabotage. I got involved with forging documents. We kept secrets. But our love is strong." Norah presses her fingers to her cheeks. "We speak of escaping to Switzerland. But there are so many obstacles. Threats of arrest. I still hope we can have our happy ending. Or maybe I'm being naïve."

Interviewer. "I hope you can find a happy ending in the midst of war. Thank you for speaking to me."

Diane lives in Western Pennsylvania with her husband and one naughty dachshund.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

A Brief Excerpt and a Brittany recipe, Outcast Artist in Bretagne, by Diane Scott Lewis


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August risks both their reputations by taking Norah to draw a castle, then lunch at an outdoor café. Their relationship exposed for all to see. A forbidden love that could end in heartbreak.

The waiter served steaming bowls of Cotriade, the local fish stew, made with bass, eel, mackerel, other fish, potatoes and onions. A rich smell with a hint of fishiness.

Norah dipped in her spoon and tasted. “Delicious. So much bounty. And the perfect spices.”

They each spoke of their childhoods and later years, trying to find common ground. He left out the growing chaos in Germany, the march toward totalitarian authority that corroded his youth. He almost told her of the day he was shot and nearly died, but didn’t want to ruin the pleasurable interlude.

“I’m surprised the Germans haven’t taken over this city with the expansive harbor.” She glanced down across the coastline. There were a few sentries.

“I couldn’t say if we have.” Many bunkers were being built here. He poured them another glass of wine. The wine relaxed him, and he wished they didn’t have to leave. He had the urge to trace his finger along her collarbone and lower.

She looked at him with a wry smile. “We each have secrets, though you know most of mine now.”

“That might be so. I still need to find out who murdered my landser.” August said it casually, certain she wouldn’t admit if she knew. He finished his stew. “I’m sorry, the commandant returns in me.”

“Are you trying to scare me off?” She ate more stew, her tongue licking juice from her lips, eyes sparkling. “I haven’t heard anything; that’s the truth.”

He laid his hand over hers. “I believe you. And again, forgive me for asking.” He curled his fingers around hers. “This is a perfect day with an exceptional woman.”

Norah drank her wine. “Please continue. I’m listening in earnest to your flagrant flattery.”

Recipe for Cotriade:
 Heat 3 oz butter in a large saucepan
Add one chopped onion and stir for two minutes
Add one chopped leek and two chopped garlic cloves, stir for another two minutes
Add three sprigs of thyme 
Add six medium potatoes, peeled and quartered.
Cover with one litre of cold water, season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil and cook for five minutes
Add three pounds of whole fish (monkfish, flathead, john dory, whiting), cleaned and cut into one inch pieces
Add the fish pieces and shake the pot. Simmer for five minutes
Add twelve mussels, cover with a lid, and cook for 2-3 minutes until the mussels have opened up.
Serve the stew in large bowls and sprinkle with half a cup of parsley

Diane lives in Western Pennsylvania with her husband and one naughty dachshund.

Can their love overcome dangerous obstacles? by Diane Scott Lewis

  To purchase, please click HERE Formally "Outcast Artist in Bretagne," my WWII novel is now "Bretagne: a forbidden affair.&q...