celineI had The Painter by the same author on my TBR list, but when I finally started to read, I couldn’t get into it, and abandoned it. I wasn’t writing down where the  book recommendation came from in those days, but I imagine it was from a book podcast. When my friend offered me this book, I was skeptical, and then pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The title character is a 68 year-old society woman whose work as a PI aims to unite children with their birth parent(s). It’s never revealed in the book where Celine learned many of the skills she exhibits in her job, particularly those that involve firearms and intimidation. Celine’s latest undertaking has her and her husband Pete borrowing their son, Hank’s camper and pickup in Denver, and driving to Yellowstone, where her client’s father had disappeared more than twenty years before.

Reason number one to love Celine: her favorite road trip foods are jerky and marzipan. She hates vegetables, but indulges her husband by partaking of a proffered lettuce leaf here and there. Reason number two: “In the World According to Celine and Pete the very best part of every town was the library.” Reason number three: on the drive through some very beautiful landscapes, Celine wondered again “what it was about beauty, and what it had to do with love.” Reason number four: she tells that story about the Harvard upper classman wearing argyle socks meeting the freshman from Arkansas in the yard. Reason number 5: Seeing a young woman in running gear sitting on a park bench with tears streaming down her face, Celine diagnosed the problem, and offered solace that had to make that girl feel like a million bucks! And that’s just a few of the many reasons I loved this character. If I could find Peter Heller on Twitter, I’d beg him to write another novel with Celine at its center.


I kept looking on the internet for pictures of all the places Celine and Pete traveled through on the way to Yellowstone and beyond. I pinned more pictures from this one book than any other I’ve written about in BBF. I thought it would be hard to narrow down to one, but it wasn’t. What a gorgeous country this is! I hope I live long enough to visit every place Celine went. The image below is Mt. Moran in Wyoming, among the Grand Tetons. Stunning!



Easy. Jerky!


3 lbs london broil or flank steaks (½ inch thick)
¾ tsp black pepper
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper, more if you like it hot
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp liquid smoke
¼ cup soy sauce or ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
½ cup (scant) Frank’s red hot sauce

Trim all fat off meat.
Cut steak in to 4 inch strips. It’s easier to cut meat partially frozen. Pound meat lightly, you don’t want it too thin.

Add all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight (8 hrs).

Line cookie sheets with tin foil. Place steak strips on sheets, don’t overlap meat. Set oven at lowest temperature. (150-175°F). Bake six hours, turning after three hours. Jerky is done when meat is dried out, depending on your oven.

Surprisingly easy and good. You have to be careful not to bake it too long, or it gets tough like shoe leather. Also pieces on the thicker side (¼ inch) are easier to chew.


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