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The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall: Volume 1 (Secrets of Marienstadt) [Kindle Edition]

Kathleen Valentine
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $0.99

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Book Description

Includes "The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall," a 2013 eFestival of Words WINNER for Best Short Story
(Americana / humor - 43k words) Volume 1 contains the first three, complete stories from "The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall: Secrets of Marienstadt," a collection of stories all set in the fictional town of Marienstadt, a Pennsylvania Dutch community in the Allegheny Highlands. Featuring a rotating cast of characters including Oliver, Gretchen, and Father Nick from The Reluctant Belsnickel of Opelt's Wood. Other characters include the devastatingly handsome Chief of Police, Henry Werner; Lola Eckert, a beautiful but bashful strudel artist; Peeper Baumgratz, who is ready for the Apocalypse; Sister Ursula, the nun who runs a snowplow; Mulligan Wolfe, the pig farmer who can dance, and many more.  (All three volumes are also available as a boxed set or a single volume paperback.)

Story 1 - Peeper Baumgratz and the Sister's Snowplow
When Peeper Baumgratz wrecks his truck into the side of the Bucktail Tavern and then goes on the lam, Chief of Police Henry Werner recruits woodsman Oliver Eberstark to hunt him down. Because Henry does not want to see Peeper go to prison he concocts a scheme for him to do community service by working for the nuns at the local convent who are trying to start a snowplowing business.

Story 2 - The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall
Titus Winter is the great-grandson of Jubal Winter, the giant logger and fisherman who came out of the north woods and helped found Marienstadt but, while doing research on his ancestry, Titus made a discovery that has left him ashamed of his illustrious ancestor. During renovations on Town Hall an old whiskey bottle is found between the walls with a manuscript in it that tells a very different story.

Story 3 - The Great Dumpling War and Dance Competition
In an effort to promote Marienstadt's history of traditional cuisine, Father Nick Bauer wants to compile a cookbook but runs into trouble when some of the local ladies don't want to share recipes. He calls on Mulligan Wolfe, a pig farmer and former dance champion, for help. With Lola Eckert's assistance a recipe contest begins. Meanwhile Gretchen Fritz gets hoodwinked into entering Mulligan's dance competition with Patrolman Dean Ginther.
~
(Update - The Christmas Daughter: A Marienstadt Story, the next story in this series, is now available in paperback or digital.)


Editorial Reviews

Review

          This an not just an entertaining collection of stories about a fabulously rich culture. Valentine is MEMORIALIZING her people, and her town. This becomes more than just a novel, but also a fascinating and educational look at a region and culture relatively unsung in American literature. THE WHISKEY BOTTLE IN THE WALL, VOL. I: SECRETS OF MARIENSTADT, promises that the entire collection will be more than just a slice of small-town America. It will be a tribute to a people and a place, the Pennsylvania Dutch, and their contributions to American history. With compassion and satire, and beautifully detailed writing, Valentine has delicately chiseled out of these seemingly ordinary lives, the unique, profound, and quixotic traits that make each character memorable, even epic. We are offered history as well as comedy and tragedy.
          With compassion and satire, and beautifully detailed writing, Valentine has delicately chiseled out of these seemingly ordinary lives, the unique, profound, and quixotic traits that make each character memorable, even epic. We are offered history as well as comedy and tragedy. So, please read these stories slowly, then read them again, because while we are reading about life, love, and birth and death, we are also learning the rich culture and traditions of one of the most fascinating communities in our United States.  I predict the entire collection of THE WHISKEY BOTTLE IN THE WALL... will become a classic. I can't wait for Volume II! Thank you, Kathleen Valentine. -  Kiana Davenport, author of Shark Dialogues and The Spy Lover

From the Back Cover

From "Peeper Baumgratz and the Sister's Snowplow":
Henry Werner knew that being the Chief of Police in Marienstadt, Pennsylvania, was an easy job but any day that started out with a visit from Sister Adelaide, the Prioress of St. Joseph's Convent, and which was followed by a call from the State Police, was off to an unpromising start. Despite the fact that he was close to forty and had been a policeman ever since he left the Marines, one withering stare from Sister Adelaide could reduce him to a single throbbing nerve. The worst part was, she knew it.

"Henry," she said, looking at him over the top of the half-moon glasses perched on her long, patrician nose, "is it really necessary to ticket the convent's automobiles at every single opportunity? I understand that the sisters need to be more mindful of making sure there is adequate money in the parking meters but, honestly, the time had barely run out when Patrolman Ginther wrote this out." She waved the bright orange ticket in front of him.

"Give it to me, Sister," he said. "I'll take care of it." He knew that by 'taking care of it' he meant that he would pay for it himself but he preferred that she not know that.


From "The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall":

Titus had grown up hearing stories about Grampa Jubal. Grampa Jubal, the man of iron who worked on the railroad laying track with John Henry-like strength and speed. Grampa Jubal, who worked in the logging camps and, with axe or crosscut saw, could fell a tree faster and more accurately than Paul Bunyan himself. Grampa Jubal, who could climb a three-story ladder carrying a bale of shingles on his back, even at the age of sixty. Grampa Jubal, sire to nine children, thirty-six grandchildren, and the founder of one of the most successful construction companies in north central Pennsylvania.

Grampa Jubal, Titus thought, the lying, no good, deadbeat husband and father who abandoned his first family, leaving them to waste away from hunger and disease while he went off to see what adventures he could find. Titus hated Grandpa Jubal for a lot of reasons, the biggest one being that, though he had died before Titus was even born, he refused to stay dead.



From "The Great Dumpling War and Dance Competition":
"Well, as you may know this is the one hundredth anniversary of the re-building of St. Walburga's Church after the first one burnt down and I have a little project in mind that I thought you might consider participating in," Father Nick said.

Mulligan pushed his cap back and smiled. "Sure, Padre, anything I can do."

Father Nick groaned inwardly but reminded himself that nicknames were a sign of affection and blundered on. "What I would like to do is put together a book of recipes from all the fine cooks here in Marienstadt. Well," he hesitated, "that was my original plan but..."

Mulligan flashed a wicked grin. "...but the fine ladies of Marienstadt aren't about to part with their precious recipes."


Father Nick stared at him. "How did you know?"

"Hey, I've lived here most of my life. I know these gals." He took a huge swallow of beer. "Nothin ever changes. Let me tell you something, when I started my business here my own mother was scared silly I'd give away some of her recipes by using them for my stuff. I told her to keep her damn recipes. I invented my own."

"Your mother is Kuni Wolfe?"

"Yeah, sweet old Kunigunda, mother of a beer salesman, a nun, and a pig farmer. She's so thrilled." He chuckled, drained his beer and turned sideways in his chair to pour himself another.

Product Details

  • File Size: 537 KB
  • Print Length: 156 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Parlez-Moi Press (November 23, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008M7VWZA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,536 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Stories July 25, 2012
By kramer
Format:Kindle Edition
I think the passion that Kathleen puts into her books and characters stems from the wonderful upbringing in this area of central Pennsylvania. I share that same beginning. The first book I read by this author was "The Reluctant Belsnickel of Opelt's Wood". While growing up in a German family, we were all aware of the tradition of Belsnickel and some even carry this to their extended family. Now we can be sure that others will know about this through some great writing! As I read through the pages, this entire book made me smile! Thank you and I am now a follower of Kathleen Valentine's new book "The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall: Volume 1 (Secrets of Marienstadt)". Keep them coming and thank you for the memories.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read by a good writer December 22, 2012
By Jim
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An enjoyable read due to exceptionally descriptive writing and very interesting characters set in a rural village. Each character includes their backstory so you come to know them well. How and why they interact is an enjoyable visit through sad, glad, romance, or the other events that happen in life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love the Pennsylvania Dutch stories. Good Read. March 13, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
My dad told me from his side, that I was all Scots-Irish from both his parents. I found out unexpectedly doing genealogy that he had Lutheran German ancestry. His grandma's pre-Revolutionary War ancestors lived in PA for about 100 years before moving to OH in some thick Pennsylvania Dutch territory. I wanted to read a novel that portrayed modern Pennsylvania Dutch culture, even if it was fiction. This book fatefully came up in a search. This author did not disappoint, and I genuinely enjoyed her writing. I have not been engaged by many fiction books in recent years, but this book thoroughly engaged me. The back hills small town setting is delightful. I have concluded that my love for dumplings is genetic, after reading this book. 5 stars are reserved for books I've fallen head-over-heels in love with, but I would most definitely read another fiction book by this author, just for the pleasure of a good read, in a hearbeat.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short stories for those who do not like short stories February 8, 2014
By deborah
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
These stories are connected because they all take place in the fictional town of Marienstadt. The author does such a great job describing this town that I have a clear picture of both the town and its' inhabitants. It made me wish that the town were real so that I could drive over and spend some time exploring the shops and hoping to meet some of the characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Volume one January 28, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very interesting life styles of rural areas. Down to earth characters. Leaves you wanting to vist the area where the author talks about.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite a Good Book! January 21, 2014
By C. Finn
Format:Kindle Edition
I won this book as part of the Goodreads First Reads a few months ago. It took me a while to read it, what with the holidays and just being busy, but I'm glad to say I read this book.

This book is a collection of 11 short stories, about different people in a small town called Marienstadt. Each story focuses on 1 or 2 characters from the town, and slowly, throughout this book, their secrets are revealed. Some of these secrets are dark, yet others aren't.

The writing style of the book was sometimes a little hard for me to get through, but overall I enjoyed reading this book. Each story had a different style to them, and each one had a different topic discussed. My top 3 favorite stories are: The Confession of Genny Franck, The Reluctant Belsnickel of Opelt's Wood, and A Long Day's Journey Into Light. Each story was still very well written, and the more you read, the more the secrets of the town and the townspeople come to light. You learn a little bit of each character with each story, and some stories overlap the newer story.

There's also a cast of characters at the end of the book which is very helpful. With the different stories, and many of them going back in time, and a lot of legends and history are involved, the cast of characters comes in handy.

Overall, this is a good read! Despite how long it took me to read, I really enjoyed this book! I'm going to recommend it to all my reading friends, as well! I'm also wanting to read more by Kathleen Valentine!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Award Winning Stories Told With Wit and Warmth December 26, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's no wonder that "The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall" was named Best Short Story in the 2013 eFestival of Words. It's just one of three unforgettable tales by Kathleen Valentine that make up THE WHISKEY BOTTLE IN THE WALL: Vol. 1 - SECRETS OF MARIENSTADT, and it's the first book of her three-volume novel in eleven consecutive stories.

In the introduction to this book, Valentine reveals that she grew up in St. Mary's, Pennsylvania, "surrounded by storytellers." She obviously inherited that talent. Although the town in her stories is fictional, Valentine's knowledge of the rural setting and its culture, as well as her love of the region, are obvious in every word she has written. Told with wit and warmth, author Kathleen Valentine shares the secrets of Marienstadt's residents. Though they have their quirks, Valentine's characters are believable. My favorite is the town's hero and stabilizing force, Chief of Police Henry Werner, though I also enjoyed getting to know Sister Ursula, the snowplow operator, and Mulligan Wolfe, the owner of Stooges Pigs & Kraut and an accomplished dancer. Valentine knows each one well.

If the name of the title story doesn't grab you, then the others from Volume 1 surely will: "Peeper Baumgratz and the Sister's Snowplow" and "The Great Dumpling War and Dance Competition." Who could read those titles and not want to know what the stories are about? All three volumes in the series are also available in one omnibus edition.

It's been a while since I read a collection of short stories, and Kathleen Valentine has made me wonder why I've waited so long!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful!
This is a very quick read. But a very well-written quick read. The characters and location are endearing, it made me wish I lived there. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Elizabeth
5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection!
This was a fun collection of stories. Kathleen weaves a yarn like a story-telling loom. As someone who reads a lot, I found her ability to build connection to her characters almost... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Christian Galacar
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Heartfelt fiction combined with facts. Kept my interest all through the book. I could actually see myself as one of the characters. Great detail and excellent descriptions.
Published 9 months ago by Helen E Young
5.0 out of 5 stars introductions
Book one of this humorous series introduces the reader to the residents of a small relatively isolated town full of marvelous characters.
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story
One of the many books that I find hard to put down. I was very excited about this read and I will check out more books from the author.
Published 11 months ago by Jennifer Hampton
5.0 out of 5 stars secrets
All families have secrets and this book explores feelings that are not based on truthfulness. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it.
Published 13 months ago by Diana Acosta-gomez
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!!
I enjoyed this book from beginning to end. Love the way the writer takes me to a place full of wonderful characters and beautiful landscape. I grew up in St. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Elinor B Bachelder
5.0 out of 5 stars The Whiskey Bottle in the wall
I really enjoyed this book. The characters feel like old friends. I loved walking the streets of the town with them and hearing all their stories.
Published 15 months ago by Vicki L. Sandberg
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More About the Author

Kathleen Valentine is the award-winning author of three novels--"The Old Mermaid's Tale," "Each Angel Burns," and "Depraved Heart" (which won the 2013 eFestival of Words Award for Best Mystery/Suspense Novel) and numerous short stories and novellas. Her Beacon Hill Chronicles--including "The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic," "The Crazy Old Lady's Revenge," and "The Crazy Old Lady Unleashed"--are Amazon Top Sellers. Her blog at KathleenValentineBlog.com has been read by thousands of readers since its beginning in July 2005. Her most recent work includes "The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall: Secrets of Marienstadt," "The Monday Night Needlework and Murder Guild," and "The Christmas Daughter."

She has been listed as an Amazon Top 100 Author in Horror. Her novellas, "The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic" and "Ghosts of a Beach Town in Winter" were Amazon Top Ten Best Sellers in Horror and Ghost Stories for over 20 weeks. Her cookbook/memoir of growing up Pennsylvania Dutch, "Fry Bacon. Add Onions," continues to be an Amazon Top Seller. She currently lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts, America's oldest seaport, and is writing every day.

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