April Book Review | Captain Freeman Inn

by Donna Cain

our dream garden at the Captain Freeman

It’s been a very productive April at the Captain Freeman.  I loved all of my April reading books and am excited to share the details with our readers and guests in this blog. We also finished building our new vegetable and herb garden. Shown above is our inspiration- ours is still a work in progress!  Bruce, our friend and past gardener for the inn came down to help us over the weekend, and he was joined by his lovely partner Jamie and new family member Pixie, who they just adopted. Bruce is very talented,  and we call him our “fairy gardener” as he sprinkles his garden gold everywhere.

Captain Freeman Inn
Pixie with our gardeners in the background

We planted asparagus, peas, beans, thyme, parsley, rhubarb, rosemary, pumpkins, nasturtiums, 2-kiwi bushes and many flowers too.

Pixie in motion

Onto my April reads……


My April reads

I loved all 4 of my April reads! I order most of my books through Amazon and had to smile when I saw the books that they recommended for future purchases. Many of the recent suggestions are about Paris! Our daughter April, who owns the Boston General Store,  just asked me to go on a buying trip with her to Paris in September. I am beyond excited.

April at the inn

Somewhere in France and The Women in the Castle were fictional stories about World War I and II. In the past, I never liked to read or watch war movies. And while I still find it hard to read about violence and harm coming to innocent people,  I think it’s important that we are all educated about the horror of war. The Edge of the Orchard is about a pioneer family in the mid 1800’s that settles in the swamps of Ohio to farm apples. It’s a depressing story at times, but I enjoyed the tree metaphors and reading about Golden Pippin Apples- a family favorite. The last read, A Gate at the Stairs is about a young woman coming of age in the midwest.

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

The Women in the Castle– I have a fascination with castles and knew immediately after reading the cover summary that I wanted to read this book. The storyline is set in post war Germany and is a captivating story about three German women who are the surviving wives of the men who participated and failed in the assignation attempt on Hitler in 1944. The strongest of the wives, promised her husband that she would take care of the other wives if they were killed. She gathers the surviving families in a rustic  castle that was owned by an aunt, where they remain though the unsafe times after the war.

I enjoy reading books that  allows my mind to think deeply about the human condition, and to continue those thoughts even after I finish the book. I never really thought about what it would be like to be a German citizen after the war and how they coped and moved forward in such a confusing world. The characters were well developed, full of flaws and very human. I loved and hated them all in equal measure and continued to try to understand war time choices that were made by both the guilty and innocent.


Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson

Somewhere in France– This is Robson’s first book lovingly written about the Great War.  I found the book utterly engaging and each evening when I started reading her novel  I wanted to read it slowly to fully absorb the tender yet frightening times Robson poignantly writes about war time in France and England. This is a love story similar in styling to Downton Abbey about a upper class Edwardian character who is willing to leave the protection of her privileged upbringing to make a difference for her country. She succeeds in doing her assigned duty as a front line ambulance driver. One was constantly aware of the human cost of conflict by the descriptions of the injuries and medical treatments. I also found the love story sweet and caring. There will be a new book in this series that I will definitely be reading.

At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier

At the Edge of the Orchard– I loved the metaphors in this book especially the forbidden yet magical apple! The Goodenough family settles in the swamps of Ohio and battles the muck and harsh weather conditions in the Black Swamp, Ohio in 1838. The family is very dysfunctional with a VERY mean mother. The apple orchard that James Goodenough painfully yet persistently  plants and nurtures  is a reminder of what one can do when determined! Many of the trees come from the folklore figure, Johnny Appleseed but there is one kind of apple that is cherished by John Goodenough- an apple that was brought with him from his family farm in Connecticut, the Golden Pippin. It tastes of honey and pineapple and is talked about throughout the book. The story shifts to follow the son, Robert who heads out west running away from his past.  I loved this book and want to read the Girl with the Pearl Earring, another book written by Chevalier. My only complaint was wishing the ending was better developed. It all happened so fast and was a little unbelievable. All in all I thought this was a very enjoyable read.

A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore

A Gate at the Stairs- The story centers around  a 20 year old college student whose is hired to babysit a biracial toddler in foster care. The adoptive parents that hire our main character have a failing marriage and come with many secrets. It’s a rather weird story that combines issues of foster care, gender roles, post 911 fears, race and class.  Not my favorite read of the month!

Happy Spring everyone!


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