About Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

My name is Sally Cronin and I am doing what I love.. Writing. Books, short stories, Haiku and blog posts. . I move between non-fiction health books and posts and fairy stories, romance and humour. I love variety which is why I called my blog Smorgasbord Invitation and you will find a wide range of subjects. Free Book Marketing, Music, Health, Book Reviews, Short Stories, Poetry and Humour. Find out more at https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/about-me/

Smorgasbord Book Reviews rewind – #Mystery #Thriller- The Vanished Boy by Harmony Kent.

Today I am sharing my review from June this year for The Vanished Boy by Harmony Kent... a parent’s worse nightmare.

About the book

It’s so remote out here. Anything could happen …

A missed phone call in the night is all it takes.

When Carole’s 18-year-old son goes missing, she breaks into Jayden’s laptop to try to understand his life.

All too soon, Carole discovers just how little she knew her boy.

And when one lead after another dead-ends, the distraught mother has to face the unthinkable.

Sucked into a sticky web of deceit and lies, nothing is as it seems.

When your life turns inside out and upside down, who would you trust?

My review for the book June 23rd 2021

A parent’s worst nightmare. A missing teenager and a realisation that you didn’t know them as well as you thought you did.

The author has created a fast paced thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat, as widow Carole searches social media for clues as to where her missing son might be. She heads down paths that lead to even more questions, as the empathetic detective in charge of the investigation does his best to keep her updated on developments.

The circle of family and friends she can turn to is small, and as she slowly uncovers key pieces of information, she begins to feel even more isolated and her sanity is threatened. The physical evidence mounts up and turns her world upside down; trust in everything and everyone in her life is challenged.

The characters are relatable, as are the extremes of emotions and pain that fuel the events leading to the unexpected climax of the story.

Can you believe all that you see and hear? Or are you being manipulated by someone with something to hide? You will have to read the book to find out.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US

A small selection of other books by Harmony Kent

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Harmony:Goodreads – Website:Harmony KentTwitter: @Harmony_Kent

Harmony Kent

About Harmony Kent

After spending around thirteen years as an ordained Buddhist monk, living in a Zen Buddhist temple, and six years after a life-changing injury following a surgical error, Harmony Kent returned to the world at the tender age of forty.

Indie Author Harmony Kent is an award winning multi-genre author. Her publications include:

The Battle for Brisingamen (Fantasy Fiction) AIA approved – The Glade (Mystery/Thriller) AIA Approved/BRAG Medallion Honouree/New Apple Literary Awards Official Selection Honours 2015 – Elemental Earth (YA Fantasy Fiction) – Polish Your Prose: Essential Editing Tips for Authors (Writing/Editing) New Apple Literary Awards Top Medallist Honours 2015 – Finding Katie (Women’s Fiction) – Slices of Soul (Contemporary Poetry) – Interludes (Erotic Short Stories) – Moments (Short Stories and Poetry) – Jewel in the Mud (Zen Musings) Backstage (Erotic Romance)- Interludes 2 (Erotic Short Stories)

As well as being an avid reader and writer, Harmony also offers reviews and supports her fellow indie authors, Harmony works hard to promote and protect high standards within the indie publishing arena. She is always on the look out for talent and excellence, and will freely promote any authors or books who she feels have these attributes. Harmony lives in Cornwall, England. Harmony is passionate about supporting her fellow authors.


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed my review for Harmony’s  book.




Smorgasbord Short Stories – Authors in the Sun – #WWII – Butterflies of Dunkirk by Claire Plaisted

When I worked on radio in the south of Spain I presented and recorded four series of Authors in the Sun showcasing local writers and their short stories. I ran a series here on the blog in 2017 which was much enjoyed and showed off the skills of some amazing writers.

There have been some wonderful stories shared in  this summer’s series with the last being shared next week.

Butterflies of Dunkirk by Claire Plaisted

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

All shapes and sizes of vessels left the English ports. Any seaworthy boat went to rescue those from the French shores and the horror of the massacre on Dunkirk. The boats approached the French shoreline, horror on the faces of the captains and seamen, as they watched the slaughter continue. The boats powered ahead to rescue as many men as they could, praying for the souls of those they couldn’t.

Close enough now, men were running towards them, guns were firing at them, some toppling dead in the water, having been shot before they could get to the boats. Big black bursts of smoke overhead, where Spitfires and Messerschmitt’s fought aggressively in a massive dogfight. The Spitfires in protection mode, the Messerschmitt’s doing what damage they could. British, American and Canadian men fell in their thousands. The captains hauled those they could into boats of all shapes and sizes.

Their vessels full, they began to pull away as other boats took their places. It was a constant movement on the ocean waves.

Some of the men looked back, watching the massacre, many knowing they’d never see some of their comrades again. They saluted these comrades. It was as the salutes ended they saw thousands of different coloured butterflies rise into the sky, disappearing into the horizon.

The souls of men.

©Claire Plaisted 2021

A small selection of  books by Claire Plaisted

One of the reviews for Hidden Secrets

Jan 31, 2020 Pamela rated it four stars really liked it

Hidden Secrets works in many ways. As a combination of both romance and espionage books, it has a great combination for the readers who love both. I read this book some years ago and posted my review on Amazon. The author has revised and edited the book with good results. The preface leaves you guessing but the first chapter introduces the reader in a timely manner. The book picks up pace in Chapter One and you are drawn into a world of spies and a dark secondary plot that will give you chills.

The story involves the science of genetics both in the past and the present. The romance is good between the two characters of Anastasia and Malachy. She is the arch spy for him in the field and he is the “boss.” The sex is pretty graphic so just be aware of that. The plot and the ending are both well-formed and deliver a satisfying conclusion to the first book while leading into a sequel. I will read it soon! 

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US – And : Amazon UK  – Read more reviews and follow Claire: Goodreads – Website/Publishing/blog: Plaisted Publishing House –  Facebook: Claire Plaisted Author – Twitter: Plaisted Publish – LinkedIn: Claire Plaisted

May be an image of 1 person and smiling

About Claire Plaisted

Claire Plaisted was born and brought up in Cheshire, England. Today she is living in New Zealand with husband and three children and loving it.

Claire is a Family History Researcher turned writer and self publisher. Claire is a prolific writer of many different genre’s. Adult Romance, Regency, Detective, Erotic, Young Adult, Sci-fi, Paranormal, Thriller, and Young Children’s adventure stories with a learning curve. Some of these are yet to be published.

Claire also helps other Indie Authors get there books online by formatting them into eBooks or Print. Sharing all book on social media, local newspapers and bookstores.

Thanks for dropping in today and I am sure Claire would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update – #Reviews – #Poetry Robbie Cheadle, #Historical #WW2 Paulette Mahurin, #History #Communism Mark Lee Myers

Welcome to the first of the Cafe Updates for the week with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first review is for the recent poetry collection, Behind Closed Doors by Robbie Cheadle.

About the collection

What goes on behind closed doors: in the boardroom, after death, in the home, during lockdown, and in nature? This collection of poems, ranging from rhyming verse to twisted nursery rhymes, captures the emotions and thoughts people hide behind the masks they present to the world.

What thoughts are hidden
Behind her immobile face
Quite expressionless
Eyes cold and indifferent
Scrutinising me – hawk like

This book includes some of Robbie Cheadle’s spectacular fondant art and cakes.

A recent review for the collection

D.L. Finn 5.0 out of 5 stars A unique assortment of symbolic, free and rhyming verse! Reviewed in the United States on August 30, 2021

“Behind Closed Doors” is a unique assortment of symbolic, free and rhyming verse that creatively show us what is hidden behind one of those closed doors. Plus, I loved seeing some of the beautiful fondant cake art. Some poems moved me while others had me thinking, but all touched on an emotion. The tankas may have been my favorites, but I enjoyed them all. Here are a few favorite lines. “as she danced, unfettered/in her own, glittering world/The stars gave her hope/allowed her to soar….” “Desperately, she peers through the dimness. An assorted array of items drift past her….” “Gratefully she sinks/Into sleep’s loving embrace/Thoughts gently unfurl/Reorganising themselves/Answer revealed in sweet dreams,” and “The crimson rose/Stands tall and alone/A stately queen….” A great glimpse into current events through a poetic eye. This is a poetry collection I recommend.  

A selection of books for adults and children by Roberta Eaton Cheadle.


Read the reviews and Buy the books :Amazon US And:Amazon UK – Follow Robbie : Goodreads – blog: Robbie’s Inspiration- Twitter: @bakeandwrite

The next review is for the latest book by Paulette Mahurin set in WW2 – Over the Hedge.

About the book

During one of the darkest times in history, at the height of the German occupation of the Netherlands in 1943, members of the Dutch resistance began a mission to rescue Jewish children from the deportation center in Amsterdam.

Heading the mission were Walter Süskind, a German Jew living in the Netherlands, Henriëtte Pimentel, a Sephardic Jew, and Johan van Hulst, principal of a Christian college. As Nazis rounded up Jewish families at gunpoint, the three discreetly moved children from the deportation center to the daycare across the street and over the backyard hedge to the college next door. From the college, the children were transported to live with Dutch families. Working against irate orders from Hitler to rid the Netherlands of all Jews and increasing Nazi hostilities on the Resistance, the trio worked tirelessly to overcome barriers.

Ingenious plans were implemented to remove children’s names from the registry of captured Jews. To sneak them out of the college undetected past guards patrolling the deportation center. To meld them in with their new families to avoid detection. Based on actual events, Over the Hedge is the story of how against escalating Nazi brutality when millions of Jews were disposed of in camps, Walter Süskind, Henriëtte Pimentel, and Johan van Hulst worked heroically with the Dutch resistance to save Jewish children. But it is not just a story of their courageous endeavors. It is a story of the resilience of the human spirit. Of friendship and selfless love. The love that continues on in the hearts of over six hundred Dutch Jewish children.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Linda Jamsen 5.0 out of 5 stars The enduring human spirit shines through  Reviewed in the United States on September 3, 2021

This is a heartwrenching, riveting story of three courageous members of the Resistance who risked their lives to save Jewish children during the Nazi Occupation of Holland. Although I am familiar with similar stories of Dutch citizens, most notably that of Miep Gies, who helped the Frank family in hiding, I wasn’t aware of the efforts of this heroic trio. (One of them later served as Senator from the Netherlands and was also a European Parliament member.) Without hesitation and under extreme duress, they secretly moved children at risk of deportation to Nazi concentration camps, first to a daycare center, then across a hedge to the neighboring college. From there, they were taken in by Dutch families, although tragically, never saw their parents again.

This is a difficult read due to the extreme and senseless violence and abuse inflicted on innocent Jews. It’s also painful to read how the Occupation turned family members and friends against one another in order to make 7,5 guilders, or the price on a Jewish head. The author does a good job of keeping each of the story threads open and intriguing. It’s a suspenseful read which you’ll want to continue to the end because you hope against all hope that all three—and the 600-plus children they saved—will survive. I won’t give away the ending but will admit I needed a tissue or two.

Kudos to the author for this engaging book on a tough subject. Her research was very thorough, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that she has a personal connection to someone in the story, perhaps one of the children who survived.  

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

Also by Paulette Mahurin

Profits from Pauline’s books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – follow Paulette : Goodreads – Blog: The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap on WordPressTwitter: @MahurinPaulette

The final review today is for Mark Lee Myers and his book The Tomato Smuggler: How One Man Stood Up To Communism.

About the Tomato Smuggler

A son’s tribute.

His father waged war without bullets, triumphing over communist oppression during Dictator Ceauşescu’s final decade in rural Romania.

Communism robbed freedom, so Nicolae’s father led the family to subtle and overt resistance to retain their dignity. The Cismigiu family built a thriving tomato business and smuggled tomatoes to market to survive. Creatively defying tyranny brought harassment and intimidation directed at what was most valued: family, a prized workhorse, and their tomato farm.

Zeal to keep the spirit of freedom alive came at a cost many could not pay, even the death of a friend during one of their harrowing, midnight tomato smugglings. Joy and sorrow were interwoven into the fabric of the family’s life story, but they focused on happiness and contentment. Grandpa always believed the Americans would come and liberate Romania after WWII but never lived to see the day. Ironically, his dream did come true. It skipped a generation and impacted Nicolae.

One of the recent reviews for the book

vikram 5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!  Reviewed in the United States on August 19, 2021

This book is really good! I love the historical fiction aspect of the book. The book is based on Romanian life after and during WW2. Which isn’t something you see very often! It’s definitely a book where you need to like the genre to really get into it. Overall a very good and interesting book!  

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Facebook: Mark Myers Books – More reviews: Goodreads – Website: Mark Myers Books


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.




CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…September 12th-September 18th 2021…Environmental A-Z, Mashed potatoes, Renewable Energy, Fairtrade Chocolate and Apple Dumplings…

Carol Taylor shares her weekly round up with great posts including chocolate.. and making sure that they are not cheap because of how little the cocoa bean pickers received of were made by child labour.. Plastics latest news, Environmental A – Z and the letter P with a look at pollution including Pharmaceutical waste and Pesticides…how to make the best mashed potatoes, Apple Dumplings and some Saturday Snippets. Definitely worth heading over to enjoy.

Retired? No one told me!

Environmental A-Z, Mashed Potatoes, Punch and Judy, Fairtrade Chocolate, Renewable Energy, and Music from Bjorg…

Welcome to this week’s edition of my weekly roundup of posts…Especially for you just in case you missed a few posts during this last week…Time is marching on…

 We are now just into the middle of September time just flies…already I am hearing mutterings about Christmas…sigh…although it will soon be time to make the Christmas Cake, Sweet Mincemeat and the Puddings…I will most certainly though be researching any chocolates I buy for Christmas this year as we all know or should know that child labour still happens and the checks that are made before issuing a Fairtrade certificate are not always very stringent…This brings me nicely to my first post of the week which was about Chocolate as it was International Chocolate Day..but you know me I can’t help just checking credentials…so please…

View original post 608 more words

Smorgasbord Children’s Reading Room – New Book on the Shelves – #Baking #Bread – The Hearts of Bakers and Artists by Antoinette Truglio Martin.

Delighted to share the news of the release of The Hearts of Bakers and Artists (previously  title Daily Bread) by Antoinette Truglio Martin.

The Hearts of Bakers and Artists is Purple Dragonfly Book Award first place winner in the Children’s Historical Fiction category!

About the book

It is 1911, and nine-year-old Lily, an American-born child of Sicilian immigrants loves to sing, and wants to, has to, prove she is not a little kid. She and her large family are crammed into a three-room flat in New York City’s Lower East Side. Everyone must do their share to help out. Big sister Betta sews home piece work and bossy Margaret bakes discounted Daily Bread at Goldberg’s bakery for the Taglia family. Lily wants to do more than dry dishes, keep little sister Gigi out from underfoot, and not make her sisters or Mama crazy with her singing. When Mrs. Goldberg, the baker’s wife, notices Lily’s height and recognizes her artist heart, she invites Lily to learn how to bake Daily Bread with Margaret.

Lily is thrilled to have a big kid job in the magical bakery basement where Mrs. Goldberg dances and gives away sweet Knot Surprises. Mama thinks this is a good arrangement too. Now Margaret can quit school to work in a factory for a wage. But Margaret likes school and wants to be a somebody. Besides, she says Lily is just a little kid, and there’s more to baking Daily Bread than height and an artist’s heart. Mama stands firm and Lily tags-a-long with Margaret only to learn that being a big kid is fraught with bullies, disasters, and treacherous streets to cross by herself.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Spartabookworm 5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent first novel in a series  Reviewed in the United States on August 22, 2021

What a fantastic story, for any age in my opinion. We come to meet the Taglias who are an immigrant Sicilian family that live in Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the year 1911. We focus on two sisters, Margaret and Lily who are working at the local bakery to bake Daily Bread. Author Antoinette Truglio Martin does a spectacular job in delivering the setting of the story, I often could visualize myself on the streets with the girls as they were delivering bread, and in the tiny apartment they share with their parents and other sisters. A story full of hardship, discrimination, child labor, hunger, poverty, but ultimately love, and endurance, and grit of people and families back in that time period. I loved seeing the story center around girls, and I think this would make a great book for the 8-14 year old age range. The book also included some discussion questions, resources for teachers and educators, and vocabulary and expressions. This is book one of a series, and I can’t wait to read the next one by this author. Well done, a great gift book, a great book for classrooms, Girl Scouts, and anyone looking to learn more about this time period. Well worth the read, I recommend it highly.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

Also by Antoinette Truglio Martin

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Read more reviews: Goodreads – Website: Stories ServedBlog: Stories Served Blog – Facebook: Antoinette Truglio Martin – Twitter: @StoriesServedLinkedin: LinkedIn

 About Antoinette Truglio Martin

The Hearts of Bakers and Artists is Purple Dragonfly Book Award first place winner in the Children’s Historical Fiction category!

Antoinette Truglio Martin is a speech therapist and special education teacher by training but really wants to be a writer when she grows up. She has been collecting and writing stories forever. Over the years Antoinette had been a regular columnist in local periodicals and had several essays featured in newsletters and literary reviews.

Antoinette’s popular children’s picture book, Famous Seaweed Soup was published in 1993 (Albert Whitman Co.). Antoinette’s memoir, Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer (She Writes Press 2017), chronicles her first year battling breast cancer as a wimpy patient. Becoming America’s Stories (Red Penguin Books) a Middle-Grade Historical Fiction series, debut in 2020. The award-winning first book, The Heart of Bakers and Artists (aka Daily Bread), takes place in 1911 and follows nine-year-old Lily Taglia, an American-born child of Sicilian immigrants, coming of age in a crowded New York City three-room Lower East Side tenement. The Dreams of Singers and Sluggers picks up where The Heart of Bakers and Artists leaves off. Lily, her family and friends reach for their dreams as new Americans. Read Becoming America’s Food Stories where there are always good stories around good food.

Antoinette proudly holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from Stony Brook/Southampton University (2016).


Thanks very much for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books..thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Poetry – Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Weekly Challenge – #Etheree – Kinship by Sally Cronin

This week in Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Tanka Weekly Challenge it is Synonyms Only. The prompt words are ‘Family and Peace’ and I have selected ‘Kinship and Harmony’ for my reverse etheree.


we form
with others
of our own blood
or unrelated
forged in the fires of life
create a circle of steel
sanctuary formed in kinship
there may not always be harmony
but the ties of love cannot be broken.

©Sally Cronin 2021

There is still time to participate in this week’s challengeColleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Tanka Weekly Challenge it is Synonyms Only.


My latest book is a collection of poetry and was published in July 2021 and here is a recent review.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Lizzy‘s review five stars Sep 04, 2021

You can find all my books and buy links: Sally’s Books and Reviews 2021


Thanks for dropping by and I hope you have enjoyed the poem.. thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Short Stories Rewind – What’s in a Name? – Queenie – Coming back to Life by Sally Cronin

There are names that have been passed down through thousands of years which have powerful and deep-rooted meaning to their bearers. Other names have been adopted from other languages, cultures and from the big screen. They all have one thing in common. They are with us from birth until the grave and they are how we are known to everyone that we meet.

I hope that those of you who read the stories before will not mind the rewind

Queenie – Coming back to Life

Queenie Denton contemplated the crumbs on the plate in front of her. She barely remembered eating the toast and marmalade and wondered if she was losing her marbles.

It was six weeks since her husband of fifty-five years, Donald, had died peacefully clasping the silver cross he had bought at a charity shop in the high street the month before. He was not a religious man, but he had worked for an insurance company as man and boy, and she supposed he thought it prudent at eighty years old to cover his bets. She on the other hand went to church every Sunday and was a member of the church ladies group that arranged the flowers and kept the place spotless between services.

They called themselves the Holy Dusters, and she realised with a pang that she missed seeing her friends every few days. They had been marvellous of course, bringing around Victoria sponges and sitting with her in the first few weeks, but she had then begun to ignore the doorbell; sitting in solitude in Donald’s recliner.

She must make the effort and get back to normal. She could just imagine what her husband would have to say about the state of the house, and the fact that she had not put her make-up on for weeks.

There were a few other things she had neglected since Donald had suddenly collapsed and been rushed into hospital. She had cancelled her regular Wednesday morning hair appointment and she could see that her normally pristine and beautifully manicured nails needed immediate attention.

She picked up her plate, cup and saucer and popped them into the kitchen sink before reaching for the telephone on the wall.

Two days later, looking and feeling more like herself; Queenie put the telephone down from talking to Mavis who was in charge of the dusting rota. She would be starting back next Tuesday; giving her time to get her own house in order. But, with Donald gone and nobody to fuss over, she needed a project and immediately her mind veered to thoughts of her as yet single granddaughter Penny. Now there was a challenge if ever there was one.

Penny was a brilliant psychiatrist who worked at the local hospital. Tall and rather striking, she had never married, and at thirty-five didn’t seem to have any interest in doing so. Queenie loved her dearly, but having set her heart on being a great grandmother before she followed Donald into the great beyond, she felt it was time for an intervention.

The following Saturday with her house back to spick and span order, Queenie piled a tray with cups, coffee pot and red velvet cupcakes and carried it into the living room where Penny was removing her coat and scarf.

‘Here we are darling,’ Queenie smiled warmly at her granddaughter, who came over and took the heavy tray from her.

‘Those cupcakes look delicious Nana. Are you back to baking again?’ Penny placed the tray on the coffee table and sat in the chair next to her grandmother.

‘No dear, I must be honest, I bought them from the new bakery next to my hairdressers, and I must admit to trying one or two already.’

Niceties out of the way, Queenie decided to get a few details ironed out before she outlined her project for her granddaughter.

‘Penny,’ she started hesitantly. ‘I hope you don’t mind me being a little indelicate, but are you in the wardrobe?’

Penny cocked her head to one side and contemplated her grandmother, barely able to contain her laughter.

‘Whatever do you mean Nana,’ she composed herself.

‘Well I was in the hairdressers the other day, reading a magazine where a young woman about your age said that she had recently come out of the wardrobe to her parents, and they had not been very understanding.’

‘Ah… I get it now Nana; actually it is usually referred to as being in the closet, and do you know why she might have been in the closet?’

‘Of course darling, I am not that old fashioned, and in fact when I was a young woman it was quite common for two maiden ladies to move in together and not to marry. It was understood that there was an arrangement and nobody really thought anything about it. Of course it was much more difficult when two young men moved in together; which never seemed fair to me.’

Penny was relieved to hear that her grandmother understood the situation so well, but felt that she ought to put her grandmother straight on her own state of affairs.

‘Nana I’m not gay and I wondered why you should think that?’ She looked at Queenie in amusement.

‘Well, you have often said that you have no intention of marrying or having children, and I just feel that it is such a shame to go through life alone.’ Queenie paused for a moment and gathered her thoughts.

‘Marriage is not always perfect, and goodness knows I drove your poor grandfather to distraction with my little foibles. Not to say that he didn’t have his own, although it was difficult to get him to admit it. But, our love was strong enough to weather any storm and I just wish that you could experience that for yourself.’

Penny looked down at her ringless hands and tried to forget that she was a psychiatrist for a moment, and just a granddaughter who was about to share her very private thoughts for the first time.

‘Nana,’ she began quietly. ‘When I was at university I fell in love with another student. He was two years ahead of me studying medicine, and when we met at one of the dances we clicked immediately.’

Queenie leant forward in her chair watching her normally composed granddaughter struggle to tell this story.

‘Go on darling,’ she encouraged smiling across the space between them.

‘His name was Aaron Bernstein and came from Israel. We moved in to a flat together a year before he finished his degree, and he was planning on doing his hospital rotations here in England until I finished my own. However his parents came over to visit shortly before he graduated, and told him in no uncertain terms, that they would disown him if he chose to marry someone not of their faith.’

Tears rolled down Penny’s cheeks and she took a tissue out of her handbag.

Queenie was speechless, she had not heard this story before and she was angry that her son, Penny’s father, had kept it from her.

‘Did your parents know about this Penny?’ She tried not to sound hurt and angry.

‘No, Nana, I told no-one, especially when Aaron felt that he could not go against his parents and disappoint them. He returned to Israel straight after graduation and I haven’t heard from him since.’ She paused and looked at her grandmother’s expression of dismay.

‘I did try to find him by searching online for a number of years but I eventually gave up and tried to put him out of my mind.’

This was a bombshell indeed and Queenie felt herself getting very angry at this dreadful slight against her only granddaughter.

‘I’m so sorry darling,’ she reached across and held Penny’s hand. ‘Haven’t you been out with anyone else in the last ten years that you might have had feelings for?’

Penny smiled at her grandmother’s concerned face. ‘I have dated quite a bit Nana, but never met anyone like Aaron. He was simply my soul mate and I don’t want to settle for less.’

This disturbing conversation replayed over and over in Queenie’s mind in the next few days and after her next visit to the hairdressers, and after reading a very interesting article, she contacted her friend Doris.

The next day she arrived at her friend’s house looking immaculate in her a new emerald green jacket and her pearls. She was not going to make her debut on the international worldwide webby thing looking anything but her best.

Doris led her into her dining room where the two of them sat side by side in front of a computer screen.

‘Now Queenie, you said that you wanted to find your granddaughter a soul mate online so I have got the links for some recommended dating sites we can try.’ She looked over to her friend to see if they were on the same page.

‘Actually Doris, I have something else in mind after reading an article in a magazine yesterday.

She slipped a piece of paper across the table to Doris who picked it up to study.

‘Okay, that is an interesting approach,’ and with that she typed in the link onto the screen.

Two weeks later Penny was surprised to get a phone call from her grandmother at nearly midnight, and was immediately concerned that Queenie was unwell.

She assured her granddaughter that all was fine, but she needed to see her on Saturday morning urgently. Queenie uttered a quick ‘love you’ and put the phone down.

Penny duly arrived at ten in the morning and was relieved to see that Queenie was resplendent in pink jacket and beautifully presented as normal. Her only concern was that she looked slightly flushed and over excited, and she wanted to get to the bottom of it right away.

‘Okay Nana, I’m here so what is so urgent?’

Queenie placed her hand on her heart and took a deep breath.

‘Darling, I know that you feel that there could never be another soul mate for you and I do understand that,’ she paused before continuing in a rush ‘I hope you don’t mind but I have done something rather serious.’

‘What have you done Nana?’ Penny was not sure where this was leading but she had a suspicion that she was not going to enjoy it.

‘Well darling, you said that it was several years since you last checked online to find Aaron, so I thought that I would give it a shot, and Doris and I have been investigating. Penny who had no idea that her grandmother even knew how to switch on a computer was stunned at this surprising development.

Seeing the bemused look on Penny’s face, Queenie took her by the hand and led her into the living room where she pulled her down to sit beside her on the sofa.

‘Darling, I found him, I found your Aaron.’ Penny put a trembling hand over her mouth and stared at Queenie completely speechless.’

Queenie excitedly continued. ‘I found him on this place called LinkedIn and it has to be the right one. He served in the Israeli army for ten years before going to America where he is a top heart surgeon at a large hospital in New York.’

‘Oh my God Nana, I don’t believe it.’ Penny stared at her grandmother as if she had never seen her before.

‘And that’s not all,’ Queenie continued. ‘Doris is on LinkedIn too because of the fancy job that she had, so she was able to send him a message thingy, asking him if he was the one who trained in England and knew a girl called Penny.’

Completely mortified Penny stood up and walked to the window. Her heart was thumping madly in her chest and she could barely breathe. She couldn’t bring herself to believe that this would lead anywhere; after all he was probably married with children by now.

At that moment she saw a black taxi pull up outside the house and the back door open. A tall man with slightly greying hair got out and leant through the front window as he paid the driver. He turned and opened the gate, walking briskly to the front door. He turned as he caught a movement in the bay window and after a moment of simply staring at each other, he smiled, his eyes crinkling in a very familiar way.

She heard Queenie walking down the hall to open the door and then footsteps across the parquet flooring.

Penny held her breath with her eyes closed as she felt his presence behind her and then his two hands gently resting on her shoulders.

He pulled her back in to him and whispered in her ear.

‘I am sorry I was not brave enough then. Please forgive me and tell me it is not too late.’

They did not hear the front door close or see Queenie as she walked down the path and disappeared from view.

She was smiling as she made her way to Doris’s house; eager to get cracking on their next adventure online which was to sign up for one of those Mediterranean cruises in the Spring. She was sure Donald would not approve, but as Doris reminded her, you are only young once.

©Sally Cronin 2017

One of the reviews for the collection

Mar 19, 2019 James rated it Five Stars

Sometimes the second book in a series or multi-volume collection of short stories doesn’t live up to the first. I can say with certainty that’s not the case with volume 2 of ‘What’s in a Name?’ by Sally Cronin. In this collection of stories of life and romance, following names that start with the letters K through Z, Cronin delivers a plethora of immersive, delightful, and intense characters.

I truly don’t know how she manages to pack such distinct and complex drama in a story that’s usually under ten pages. From the first few lines to the closing words, I was drawn in by each of the tales in this collection. There is something about the power an author chooses in certain words which helps create the proper ambiance for a setting, draw out the intrigue in the plot, and ignite a reader’s passions.

From the descriptions to the connections between a few of the stories (not in terms of characters but themes and approaches to decisions), Cronin provides us with a bevy of situations to consider… how would we react if such a problem found its way into our lives? Would we get revenge? What kind of sacrifices could we live with? What does love mean when it comes with strings?

I highly recommend both collections, as you’ll see some growth and evolution from volume one to two. Now I’ll have to look over her canon of other books to see what might be something else I want to read.

You can find out about my other books and their most recent reviews: :Sally’s books and reviews

I hope you will join me next week for the next story in the collection… thanks Sally.


Some of the Greats

Here are some great tracks for your Saturday night listening pleasure with iconic songs from Queen, ELO, Christina Perri,Simon & Garfunkel and The Seekers… take a dance down memory lane with David Prosser.


Sometimes a song is Great because of who performs it and sometimes because it just has lyrics that strike a chord with a wide audience. What follows are songs I consider Great for one reason or another or possibly both. I’m going to start with a group that perfected songs that had cross generational appeal. This group came from Australia and the lead singer Judith Durham was a treat for the eyes and ears, having a beautiful clear voice. 1965 song…………

The Seekers- The Carnival is Over. 1965

From 1970 I bring you one of the most recognisable names in the music world with one of their memorable releases of that year. They also released Cecilia and El Condor Pasa the same year. This one is covered by the rule of who sang it and by the brilliant lyrics.

Bridge over Troubled Water- S & G

This progression takes us…

View original post 271 more words

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – September 12th – 18th 2021 – Queen, Self-Care, Book Reviews, Bloggers, Health, Humour

Welcome to the round up of posts on Smorgasbord you might have missed this week.

Another week over and we have had a few visitors. The electronic gate died and required a couple of days of CPR.. and then we had the first delivery of stones for drainage as part of the final landscaping.. topsoil and turf to come soon.  The inside of the house next as it is 5 years since we bought and decorated and it needs a touch up before it goes on the market next year. I am going to start a decluttering process soon as there are items in boxes that have not been unpacked or used since we moved in. I think if we have not felt the need to use them in five years they need to be passed along.

On the blog front …

I am going to be starting the new Posts from Your Archives in October and as well as giving you the details.. I am also sharing a post from the last series to show you how the post will look.

Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1100  Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine.

The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics. This series is along the same lines… but is a ‘Lucky Dip’

In this series I will be sharing posts from the first six months of 2021

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 50,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts.

How to feature in the series? Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives -#NewSeries October 2021- ‘Lucky Dip’ and Do You Trust Me??

My thanks to William Price King, D.G. Kaye and Daniel Kemp for their wonderful contributions of music, wisdom on the subject of relationships and laughter.

And thank you for all the support, comments and shares during the week….

On with the show…

Chart Hits 1978 – Part One – Billy Joel, The Commodores, Bee Gees, Queen

D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – September 2021 – The Relationship with Ourselves -Self-Care

Owen – Face to Face by Sally Cronin

Patrick in a time of War

Snowdonia – Tanka Prose Above the World

Authors in the Sun – #Blackmail- The Millennial by John W. Howell

Advance Review #Teen/YA #Sci-fi #Fantasy – The Syk’m by Richard Dee

Book Reviews Rewind- #Fantasy #Supernatural – The Ballad of Mrs. Molony (The Hat Book 3) by C.S. Boyack

Smorgasbord Book Reviews Rewind – #Fantasy – Lords of Chaos (Unraveling the Veil Book 3) by D.Wallace Peach…

Memories, Music and Movies – 1963 Part One – Glen Miller and Lawrence of Arabia


Women’s Health Month – The Female Reproductive System – an overview of health issues

Women’s Health Month – Guest Post – Outshining Ovarian Cancer by author Karen Ingalls.

#Reviews #Fishing Dawn Doig, #Butterflies Bette A. Stevens, #Safety Miriam Hurdle

New Book on the Shelves – Sticks and Stones: Ten Canadian Short Stories by M. L Holton

New Book on the Shelves – Anarchy (War of Nytefall Book 7) by Charles E. Yallowitz

New book on the shelves – #History – Transylvania’s History A to Z: 100 Word Stories by Patricia Furstenberg

#Anthology – #Paranormal – Where Spirits Linger – Compiled and edited by Kaye Lynne Booth

#Reviews – #Crime Carol Balawyder, #History Mike Biles, #Fantasy C.S. Boyack

#Fantasy Barbara Spencer, #Fantasy P.L. Stuart, #Poetry Annette Rochelle Aben

Tuesday September 14th 2021 – Jessica Norrie, D.G. Kaye, Joy Lennick, Carol Taylor, The Story Reading Ape

Thursday September 16th 2021 – Colleen Chesebro, D.G. Kaye, Valentina Cirasola with Teagan Riordáin Geneviene, Balroop Singh, Rebecca Budd with Miriam Hurdle

Laughter Lines Rewind – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Truth and Passion

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines Rewind – One liners interrupted by comedic images by Sally Cronin

September 17th 2021 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – #Eyesight and Old Rugby Players


Thanks very much for dropping in today and I hope to see you again next week…Sally