Thursday, November 21, 2013

Introducing the Jenny Bonnet - Jenny to you.

One of the perks you get as a bookseller is being able to peek at books before they're published - we sometimes see these advance copies so that we're good and ready to tell you about them when they do come out.  Such is the case with Emma Donoghue's Frog Music.

You'll know Ms. Donoghue from her previous writing including her last novel, the bestselling Room - that desperate, claustrophobic and brilliant story about the ends one mother goes to in an attempt to shelter her son from their unthinkable crisis of circumstance.  Have you not read Room?  Go, ok?  Just go do that.

As is her wont, she has jumped from the contemporary to the historical in Frog Music.  It's the United States' Centennial and brash and dynamic San Francisco is where Blanche Beunon will be run over - literally - by Jenny Bonnet, a frog hunting, oft-arrested (for appearing in the apparel of the opposite sex), bicycle stealing twenty-seven-year-old who will spirit into your consciousness even quicker than she can snatch frogs.

More's the pity that Jenny is shotgunned on page three.  Leave it to Ms. Donoghue to introduce a woman you'll fall in love with as soon as she sings a lullaby to Blanche - leaving the rest of the novel to show how they met and why they ended up ambushed at Eight Mile House.

But all that's for next year - April of 2014 when Frog Music hits our shelves.  In the meantime, I'd like you to enjoy a drink inspired by Jenny.  I started with genever - gin before there was gin - because, yes, alliteration, but also because it's something Jenny and Blanche might've shared at the Pony Express Saloon.  It'll keep you warm through the winter - until spring when you can meet Jenny for yourself.

Another perk booksellers sometimes receive is breaking bread with authors during pre-publication tours.  I'm lucky enough to meet Ms. Donoghue tonight in San Francisco - and though we may not get to sample a Jenny, we will be able to talk about the real life Jenny Bonnet who inspired Frog Music.

The Jenny Bonnet:

 2 oz. Bols Genever
.75 oz. simple syrup
.75 oz. fresh lemon juice
.5 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 drops Cherry Bark Vanilla Bitters

Combine all - except bitters - and stir with ice.  Strain into chilled glass.  Add bitters & garnish with maraschino cherry.

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