Baked Brown Rice (even my daughter will eat!)
A Corner of my Home

A Beautiful Wren Bay Review

Latea tea 0 

I just had to share this beautiful Wren Bay review by Gracious Hospitality . I have to say, always be open to making new friends. When I had LaTeaDah to my house for tea, l we had never meet. Now look at the wonderful friendship we have! Thank you LaTeaDah and I wish I could have all of you over for tea xoxo

Latea tea 

    Several summers past I turned onto a road that was so hidden in the trees that I missed it the first time I passed.  The road was lined with tall evergreens and consisted of a dirt and gravel lane that wound through the woods.  It led to a quaint old house that was once the home to an Admiral.  As the car stopped, the back door opened and out popped Clarice and her two lovely daughters.  Warm hugs and friendly words were shared as everyone started talking at once.  It was our first meeting, but you'd have thought we had been friends forever.  The Wren-like warmth of this trio made me feel right at home.  I was directed through a old-fashioned kitchen to the living room.  A cozy coverlet-lined sofa provided a comfortable place to sit, but I couldn't sit for long because there were so many interesting things to see.  Clarice's china closets were lined with unusual vintage pieces and bits of artwork.  Mayra, a black, floppy-eared rabbit hopped across the floor.  It's crate was open nearby with a bowl of bunny food beside it.  Throughout the house, interesting vignettes created pretty places for the eyes to settle.  A wooden doll house that was completely furnished and artfully decorated by Chloe for an upcoming holiday was set at a focal point.  It fit into the decor in the most charming way.  Auberne's passion for Tolkien and characters in that genre could be seen in her artwork and the books she surrounded herself with.  In the center of the living room, a large, antique table was set.  An assortment of wooden chairs surrounded the table that was draped with a colorful vintage cloth.  Mismatched vintage china and real silverware was set at each place-setting.  Dainty ladies hankies served as place mats.  The effect was so unique and charming; you would have to be there to completely experience its appeal.  Even with all the lovelies throughout the room, one's eyes were always set on coming back to rest on the beautiful table.  While Clarice was putting the finishing touches on making the food for tea, her sweet daughters gave an enticing tour of their cottage home.  The girls, Auberne' and Chloe, shared of the projects they had been stitching, crafting, and enjoying.  A beautifully appointed library was lined with rows upon rows of old books.  A comfy sofa with a plaid covered table beside it encouraged the reading of a good book and some time out.  Here, Mr. Fox-Hughes was cheerfully ensconced, watching some television in this cozy man-den, keeping out of the way so that the ladies could enjoy a special afternoon.  Upon completion of the tour, we sat down for tea.  The menu was unique and the food delightful!  Summer Hill tea spoke of rosemary and lavender as it was poured into china teacups from a crown-adorned Roseanna teapot.  Individual pots of thick chocolate mousse, walnut-lavender scones, homemade espresso truffles, and lavender honey gave the palate an experience not soon forgotten.  Chattering voices shared topics near and dear to our hearts, covering everything from crafting, home education, home remedies, recipes, and more.  The time flew by swiftly.  Those moments shared cemented a friendship that is cherished still and meaningful beyond measure.  Kindred spirits are always connected, even when distance complicates togetherness.

 Latea tea 2

    It is with this scene in mind that I opened the colorful cover of the novel, Wren Bay.  It is the very personal and cherished work of Clarice Fox-Hughes.  As I read its pages, I came to realize more and more that the protagonist, Wren, truly was the substance of Clarice.  Clarice's creative spirit was reflected so well in the story of Wren as she worked to create a warm and loving home for her beloved Devlin and herself.  Wren's privileged upbringing and appreciation for fine things reflected the childhood of Clarice, a child raised with foreign travel and affluence.  One couldn't help but feel that Clarice really knew her subject as her writing voice speaks of European elegance and Boston society.  It was obvious that Clarice had researched her subject well as she wrote of herbal remedies, fine-crafted stitchery projects, delicious dishes made from gourmet recipes, and more.  Clarice described Wren's experiences of learning to milk a cow with equal assurance and expertise, although after meeting Clarice I really doubt she has ever milked a cow herself.  The characters in Wren Bay are well-developed and become intertwined not only in the life of Wren, but to the reader as well.  Aunt Sophie could be any one's favorite spinster aunt, and Mimi obviously cooks with the talent of Julia Child.  Mary becomes a reassuring figure to Wren, taking on a mother-like quality for her, as the reading audience is aware that Wren was orphaned a child.  Heart-strings are pulled by the child, Lily, whom Wren takes under her wing, teaching her about life by the same whole-child techniques that Clarice used to home educate her own daughters.  Holistic and creative, using nature and objects from daily life, these methods were illustrated by the experiences of Wren and Lily as the child learned effortlessly by natural teaching techniques.  Wren's practical ease in creating a nurturing environment is reflected in Clarice's home.  As I completed the last page of Wren Bay, reading the final sentence which consists of the words "Wren's blessing tonight. . ." I could not help but say three words of my own.  Wren is Clarice.

 Latea tea 3

    Wren Bay, the story of making a home, exudes charm, creativity, and warmth.  It is skillfully mixed with grace and elegance, with a true mix of practicality, economy, and the careful use of natural resources.  Later, as I pondered this delightful book, I remembered the day that I sat at Clarice's table and she shared with me that she agonized over any aspect of her life that required writing.  Her life-long experiences with dyslexia has caused her moments of concern and learning challenges.  I recalled how she shared that writing a blog post was agonizing at times as she struggled to choose just the right words and to place them correctly in a paragraph with spelling that was true.  These obstacles, the technical aspects of writing a book, were overcome by Clarice as she allowed her vivid imagination and creativity to shine forth.  She has written a novel that is fully developed, with settings the reader can picture, and with characters the reader comes to know as friends.  Wren Bay is a delightful book and a joy to read!  Great job, Clarice!  Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart!  

I anticipate volume two of the delightful life of Wren Bay.  

LaTeaDah @2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I just ordered Wren Bay. I can't wait to read it!

Tierney Barden

What a lovely post, and what an honor.
This is so special. Thank you for sharing.


What a stunning and descriptive review from your dear friend, LaTeaDah! I loved reading every detail! You certainly have the gift of making your house a home, and adding colour and interest to it.
I have been inspired once again!
Thank you Clarice!


What an absolutely lovely view of your book, Clarice. Congratulations!!!! :) And such lovely photos, too. I am SO thrilled for your success!!!! xoxo Theresa


Oh, I so loved this! And more than ever I want to visit your sweet home. Too, I'd love for my home to have the same coziness, creativity and interest which yours has, so I am inspired today to walk around my rooms and discover ways to make them cozier, better. Thanks so much for sharing this review, Clarice. It was wonderful seeing you and your family through another's eyes.

Tracey McBride~Frugal Luxuries™

What a lovely, lovely review Clarice...well deserved. Thank you for sharing it with us. :)
Love to you my friend!

Gumbo Lily

LaTea is right, Wren is Clarice.
I'm still taking my time, reading Wren Bay slowly and enjoying it.


Sharon D.

What a beautiful review Clarice. You are so inspiring. All of the special little touches truly brighten one's day :) I still need to get a copy of your book :)

Have a blessed day Clarice!


I so enjoyed reading this lovely story of your friend's visit to your home.

Your story of Wren Bay is charming Clarice, and it reminded me very much of the old books that you love.


A wonderful review...I felt like I was there for a cup of tea too!



Dear Clarice,

What a sweet review! I have to ask if you HAVE really milked a cow? :) I am so excited to be getting Wren Bay soon, and to see what you're working on now!




How beautiful and lovely to read.
Clarice you are blessed to have such dear friends.♥


What a lovely compliment for Wren Bay and Clarice both. I haven't had a chance to read, Wren Bay yet, but it is on my wish-list of books (wouldn't be at all surprised if it becomes a Mother's Day gift or birthday gift) I went to college for Creative Writing and I managed a book store years ago. I have always heard warnings about making characters too much like oneself or too much like people you know. Yet the very best books are always filled with oneself and the people in ones life if they are truly to be a blessing on others.


That's wonderful Clarice! It's amazing the people we get to meet through these little blogs. Friendships made..

The comments to this entry are closed.